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Sail, Sail, Maintain

It’s been a very busy summer with a lot of wear and tear on Moment! Our last maintenance matter left you with the Screech and Squeal event. While we thought it was a simple belt tension issue, much more came to light shortly there after. Awesome, right? After reviewing and testing, we deduced that the Sea Frost engine refrigeration compressor (which chills the fridge plates when running the engine) was causing the ruckus. To make matters worse, it appeared that the fridge wasn’t getting cold anymore. This was the fridge that we just recharged a couple months prior!

Refrigeration is definitely a matter that requires a dedicated professional to repair and maintain. The closest place to do this is Plymouth so we had to set aside a couple days to sail across the bay and get it taken care of.

Simultaneously, the autohelm, which is so crucial when captain and crew are one in the same, was acting up. It was determined that it needed a factory upgrade, which Plymouth also has the capabilities to do. We made it a two-for trip to try to tackle both. Unfortunately the autohelm was not taking an upgrade and we decided it needed to be sent back to the factory. It’s quite amazing that you still have to pay for someone to tell you that there’s nothing they can do. A few weeks later, with a window of fewer charters, we sent the autohelm away and had it back quickly in good working order and ready to wrap up the season and help us steer south.

One early September sail with a great group of guys aboard, we were within the last 30 minutes of our time together and going into a gybe. All of a sudden we heard a “POP!” … After quick inspection, we noticed that the one of the lashings on the mainsail clew (the back bottom corner of the sail) had chafed and snapped causing the sail to slide very far forward and the foot (the bottom of the sail) to pop out of its track. The way the mainsail is set up, it must stay back for proper sailing and also proper rolling, when we finish sailing.

As mentioned in the disclaimer “you may be asked to assist under special circumstances,” that day we had a special circumstance and the guests were happy to assist. The first and most logical thing to do would be to put the engine on and sail the boat to wind so there was no tension on the sail—a really great idea if the engine would start! For some reason in that moment, it would not turn over. To keep things as smooth as possible, that fact was not revealed at the time. With the aid of the guests, we managed to get the boat sailing to wind and the sail cinched back enough that it could roll down. Then, out of luck, the engine kicked over and we motored back to the mooring like it never happened!

The next morning, we had to re-seat the mainsail and create stronger lashings to make sure that the main would stay where it was supposed to. Also, after reviewing all of the connections required to start the engine, some were found to be loose, which was preventing seamless starts. Check. check.

Looking ahead, we are lining up some other big items that could wait beyond the summer sailing season. Here’s a sneak peak … We are planning to haul Moment this October for a couple weeks, while en-route to Charleston. The reason we need to haul is because our transmission (which was re-manufactured only four years ago!) is in need of replacement. It has a leaky seal, and some clutches going, which actually warrants swapping in a new one. To pull the transmission, the shaft needs to be backed out, leaving a rather large hole in the boat! While we are doing that, we will be replacing the stuffing box, cutlass bearings, oil cooler pump, and inspect/replace a few more “while you are in there” projects.

Preventing, maintaining, and reacting to these maintenance issues in a thoughtful and diligent manner is so crucial to keeping Moment afloat and ready for anything from casual afternoon sails to serious offshore passages. Now we sail on!