Breaking down the first 100 days of ‘Cruising’

Most people that are ‘out there’ sailing and cruising will tell you ‘Cruising is repairing your boat in exotic, or not so exotic, places’ I wanted to share this with you and our ‘repair’ experiences in the first 100 days after we set off on this adventure

Some of these ‘break downs’ are normal maintenance , some of these are ‘true defectives’ and surprisingly , or not so surprisingly for those with knowledge of electrics and electronics, several happened during the warranty period .

So what broke down within warranty ?

  1. the Victron solar controller , this one surprised me as Victron has a stellar reputation but the SmartSolar 100/50 just stopped producing power one day . Luckily I still had the old controller and after swapping we had power again . The supplier was quick and very generously offered to send out a new controller after sending him the RMA and tracking info for the old controller
  2. one of our (very expensive) Caframo fans started to smoke , this one is a bit of a pain as sending back the old one is difficult . I ordered a new replacement as we need fans and I will probably send the old one back from the canary islands

So what broke down that I did not expect to break down ?

  1. the 220v generator , even though we don’t use this one (much) it died on us while running it . After research and measuring I found that the most likely failure would be the 40uF cap. After ordering a new cap and replacing it it worked again.
  2. Our wind mast top unit, this one works intermittent now (stops in low wind speeds) I have a replacement unit now and we just have to go into the mast to actually swap it. I will repair the old one (probably some bearings) and keep it as a backup
  3. anchor winch, I had to service and clean the brushes to make it go again but its worrying to know that spares are unavailable . If it breaks again and needs parts I will probably have to fork out $1500 for a new winch.. ouch
  4. Fridge needed to be refilled with gas and now works , but there’s an issue with the fridge freezer combination and I am still trying to figure out exactly how the 2 interact , sometimes the freezer or fridge seem to shut off and playing with either thermostat makes them go again . Most likely operator error but it still eludes me as to how it works exactly
  5. Our 120Amp alternator bracket is defective as one of the threaded studs just broke. I need to find a new stud for it but I am not sure if I will connect it again . It puts out enough power to charge the banks but we don’t really need that power now. Also I suspect it heats up our batteries and shortens their life . So I will repair the bracket and make it good to go but will leave off the belts . in case of an emergency I can always hook it up again

So what broke down that I expected to break down ?

Surprisingly very little of what I expected to break, really did break ! , I expected problems with our watermaker but none of that  , our washing machine just needed to be taken apart and the small filters needed to be cleaned , so knock on wood but all spares I brought are still in their boxes

General maintenance will of course continue , daily oil checks and top up’s , belt checks , chafe on lines etc are addressed during daily walk throughs while we sail and so far (again knock on wood) I have not encountered much that I didn’t have the tools for and I am very happy that I lugged around 30 – 40 Kg’s of hand and power tools and brought them to Blue Pearl when I did ! By now I have used most all of them for various issues and projects ! I can’t imagine what I would do without my tools

So , this is our first 100 days ‘out there’ and we’re averaging about 1 breakdown per week , lets hope it stays on that average

I think we will do a later ‘what works well and what disappoints’ post as well if anyone is interested ?

anyway, back to work in exotic places 🙂

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