It’s almost winter in the Mediterranean, so no sailing, but since I was in Europe for meetings, I had the chance to spend the weekend with Wildling. There was a cold and strong Mistral wind blowing when I arrived (40 knot gusts in the marina) and 4 Deg-C by Sunday, so it wasn’t as pleasant as last time we were here. Now I see why the sailing season in the Med shuts down between October and April!
Wildling is doing great! The Outremer folks are taking good care of her. A big thanks to Stephane, who runs their after sales division for all his care and attention while we are away.
On our last trip, we were delayed sailing from Barcelona to La Grande Motte due to weather, so we didn’t really have time to get everything tidied up onboard and ready for the winter, so it was good to take care of that this weekend.
I had also left a small repair list with Stephane to take care of before next season, so I was able to see how things are progressing.
I put all the covers on the winches, steering wheels and instruments.
And I fitted the cover to the dinghy.
Stephane arranged to have the Volvo engines serviced. They changed the oil in the engines and the saildrive gearboxes and they replaced the oil and fuel filters.
The idle speed on the port engine has been a bit low since delivery (600 instead of the recommended 800 RPM) so I adjusted it this weekend.
On our last passage, the dodger frame on the port side pulled apart at the forward stainless steel fittings when we encountered a strong wind gust. The original design used connections that had grub screws to hold the tubes in place, but they weren’t strong enough. Outremer fixed this by removing both frames and welding every single joint. We shouldn’t have this problem again!
SEA WATER PUMPS
There are two sea water pumps on Wildling. One for the sink and toilets, to save freshwater when on passage, and one for the forward and stern deck wash hoses. Both pumps are controlled by a single switch at the switch panel in the salon. A problem we had is that the deckwash seawater pump loses it’s prime and starts running continuously on longer passages. This happens because we don’t use the deckwash pump much when underway, and with all the motion, the water drains out of the suction side of the pump, but since the discharge is closed (because we don’t use the deckwash hoses) the pump can’t get enough flow to re-pressurize, so it just keeps running.
I fixed this by installing a waterproof isolation switch at the pump, so we can keep the pump for the sink and toilets running, but turn off the deckwash pump when we aren’t using it. A better solution would have been to have two sea water pump switches at the control panel. If you’re building a new boat that has this feature, it’s something to think about.
BOOM CONNECTION FITTING
I posted during our trip to Ibiza that the pin that connects the boom to the mast worked loose and almost allowed the boom to separate from the mast, which would have been a major disaster.
Outremer discussed this with Lorima, the company that manufactures the masts and rigging for Outremer yachts, and they said that all that is required is that the grub screws that hold the nut on the pin need more Locktite to make sure they don’t come loose! The response from Lorima was a big surprise to me, and since ours is the 2nd 5X (that I know of) that has had this happen, and in fact the other 5X had a full boom disconnect in the open ocean, they seem to me to be not taking this issue seriously.
Stephane proposed they fabricate a longer pin with enough shaft to fit a split retaining pin and washer below the lock nut, which they have agreed to do. This hasn’t been done yet, but hopefully they will get this taken care of in the next few weeks.
I have ordered our ICOM HF radio to be installed during the winter and I left the counterpoise for it onboard. We are using this counterpoise system instead of a traditional grounding plate for a couple of reasons:
- The ground plate is a maintenance issue and always fouls with sea life when sailing which adds a lot of drag
- Over time the grounding systems on boats tend to corrode which degrades the performance of the radio
I have tested the counterpoise on an amateur radio ground station at our home in Brisbane, and it works very well, but the real test will be to see how it works on a sailboat. There are plenty of positive opinions posted online, but since it is a different approach than the traditional grounding systems, there are also a lot people that are skeptical. We shall see!
It was great to spend time with our beautiful Wildling, and I’m happy with how she is being cared for while we were away. We’re looking forward to the sailing season next year, and are busy planning the itinerary for our next trip!