Day 11 New liferaft fitted on new cradle - we're free to sail on!

Friday 2nd November 2012

Up late this morning,after a good sleep, so immediately got started on trying to remove last two bolts holding old cradle onto deck. Had thought would need vice grips to hold nut on lower end while bolt was loosened from above, but once I found that lower end was in aft lazarette (gas locker), it didn't take long to realise that removing lid by undoing screws in hinge made access a lot easier... Still not easy, lying on deck with legs over the stern and one arm stretched to inside of locker, especially being conscious of need to avoid dropping tools overboard, but finally it was done... I had a late breakfast!  

I'd noticed a problem with the KISS wind-generator - the lower plastic fitting had come unscrewed and had slid halfway down the pole, leaving a thick smear of oil on the pole and the generator loose on top. I can't afford to lose the input of the generator - it's very efficient and quiet (unlike certain others!!) So I started cleaning off the pole and then slid the fitting up and screwed it back into the body (It's great having 'steps' up the sides of the stern steelwork). Later I set to with amalgamating ('pressure') tape and wound it around the join, in the hope it would keep it all together- this has been a recurring problem.  

I also used a few more cable ties on the bitter ends of the reef line knots on the luff shackles, to ensure they would not come undone - something that has happened before now.  

Mid-afternoon, the new liferaft and cradle arrived with Sal, being brought by LaDonna and Rob in the "Latitude 38" 'photoboat' - yes, a few were taken...!  

First job was to fix the cradle in place - a fair bit of effort and time needed there, getting it positioned correctly and securely, with plenty of useful comments from Sal but with more thoughts of dropping tools, bolts & nuts overboard slowing things down due to the extra care needed!  

I'd dug out my 'handy-billy' in advance and attached it to the davit on the overhead steelwork. It's a highly useful item for lifting heavy gear (like outboard motors) onboard (actually salvaged from my old 'Nereida"!) - a long line with two double pulley blocks, one with a jammer on it, which make light work of otherwise difficult lifting jobs.  

Once the cradle was in place, the raft was carefully lifted and placed into the cradle and finally strapped tightly in place. Sal pointed out the 'quick release' fine string on a metal fitting on the strap - "Highly sensitive", he told me, "Don't touch it!" Before leaving, he pointed out the plugs to be removed from the base of the canister, to allow for drainage, and the shackle for attaching the raft's painter to a strong point on the cradle. Those were seen to and I also attached a horizontal strap with a 'quick-release' on it (from the old raft) - so it's strapped in both ways.... All finished just before dusk started falling...  

I just had time before dark to collect up my many tools scattered around, fill the two holes in the deck, screw the gas locker hinges back in place and also manage to seal around the edge of the leaking forepeak hatch - hopefully, the forepeak will be drier - we'll see!  

I wrote up my log report as a record of the liferaft replacement and then had an unexpected glass of wine, to celebrate as I prepared my meal - found some Tasmanian boxed red that I'd totally forgotten about!!  

Spent a long time checking times of the ebb tide at different places nearby tomorrow - with very light wind forecast, I'll need to carry the ebb out under the Golden Gate Bridge and onward as much as possible. Leaving around 4.30pm, still in good light initially, should work well and give me time to do a few more important jobs (like finding that diesel leak) earlier in the day - while in calm waters.  

Even had I been ready, I probably couldn't have left today - light S winds are forecast through to Sat morning... then veering to W and finally NW, around 10kt or more, for later Saturday and into Sunday. So leaving later tomorrow makes good sense.  

Time for a good, solid sleep.....!