Thursday, December 8, 2016

See and Be Seen

We started the day with shopping at West Marine and Radio Shack, which open at 9am, so we got to the boatyard a bit late but still got most everything on our list done and left earlier than usual. Actually, we didn't get another coat of varnish on...when we arrived, it appeared that the cockpit caprail varnish might be ruined because it collected dew last night before the varnish cured. Basically, we just sanded and varnished too late in the day yesterday so it never dried. But the varnish was actually still wet, and we were able to get rid of the milkiness by wiping it down. It dried to a normal color this afternoon, albeit not very glossy. I'm hoping we can salvage it with another few coats of varnish, it'd be a shame if all that work was for nothing.

I had a few minor electrical projects today but my main project was installing the VHF antenna splitter and AIS transponder. We had already installed the AIS' dedicated GPS antenna on the radar arch and ran its cable most of the way forward; I extended that to the nav station. The splitter I mounted inside the electrical compartment, while I mounted the transponder inside the shelf alongside the nav station. I installed a terminal block just above the splitter; the terminal block receives power from the VHF radio circuit breaker and now powers the VHF radio, antenna splitter, and AIS. I powered everything up and was able to verify that the AIS unit is working correctly, though of course it can't receive or transmit properly until the mast is in place and the VHF antenna is hooked back up. The Vesper has quite a few auxiliary features, like an anchor alarm, or being a NMEA2k wifi multiplexer, but its main role as an AIS transponder is an important one in my estimation, particularly on a shorthanded boat at night. It's a pretty big safety boon to be able to see commercial traffic, where they're headed, and what their callsign is so that any evasive action can be coordinated over the radio.

The other thing we got done today was sealing up a hole in the bottom of the propane locker that the propane hose (and now, the AIS GPS antenna cable) pass through. The previous sealant had come loose and anyways we had to dislodge it to run the cable; propane being heavier than air, the opening was a safety hazard (plus a potential source of water ingress into the cabin) so we sealed it up well.

After Piper's beach time I took a nap today, then put in a big $1100 order with Jamestown Distributors that should pretty well take care of the supplies and spares we needed before heading south. After dinner we watched The Revenant on Dawn's computer. Tomorrow I'm planning to install a solar controller to replace the one that got fried by lightning, and perhaps start work on replacing popped teak deck bungs.

1 comment:

  1. "Popped Teak Deck Bungs" -- wasn't that a reggae band?