Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Batteries

Just finished installing the new batteries. They are three Oddessy brand AGM's labeled 3150 for the number of cold cranking amps. The constant electrical demands of the freezer just ate the old Orbital batteries. They were 35 months into their 36 warranty anyway. Each of the Oddessy batteries weighed 75 pounds and I wondered if I could even lift them into the box. If I could would the box hold the weight? I had rebuilt the box last year with Starboard. Fortunately I reinforced with just this possibility in mind. The floor sagged but held.

For the occasion I replaced the old leads with new 2 gauge ARCO wire and copper lugs--muy primo. Copper is so expensive now that I had sticker shock at Blue Water, but in a pinch when every last amp is needed I hope they are worth it.

My electricity management plan is to only use two at a time keeping the third battery completely off line. We will use battery #1 on odd days and #2 on even days. Then we will rotate among the batteries every month.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Never Buy a Harken Winch

Now that I am only working 2 days/week (Mon. and Tues.) I have time for some long deferred maintenance. First on the list is greasing the winches. Starting with the two Harkens on the starboard coach roof I proceeded counterclockwise. The Harkens are awful to maintain because they have to be completely removed from the fiberglass to completely service. Also some of the paws are exposed to salt water from below. These issues along with lack of "tightness" and just poor construction make me regret ever buying the winches. On the port side the new Andersen stainless steel winch is a dream to service and seems very well constructed. My only concern is that it only has four paws and they are low in the winch and also exposed to salt water. We will see how it holds up. The small Lewmar that fine tunes the main sheet seems to be holding up well. It is a clever, intricate design, and I wonder when I will not long be able to remember how it goes back together.

My favorites, however, are the wonderful large Barients that trim the foresails. They must be 40 years old by now. I bought them used in 1992 for $7,000. There are 14 paws and the gears are locked together in three stacks. The bull gear is eccentric and is engaged with a lever which is tricky to service. I am in awe of the designer and wonder who he is . Even the powers of the Internet may not be able to answer that question. The bull gear has a triple stack of paws (four each) rotating in opposite directions. It is fascinating to manipulate. The most amazing thing about them is that the paws are all inside the gears and buried deep inside the winch. They never see a drop of salt water and I am sure will last longer than the boat ever will. It is such a shame that they are no longer manufactured.