I grew up with boats, and in those days, boats were very plain. We had wooden rowing boats, a small but heavy open sailing boat built of oak with lug rig and sails in cotton. Springtime we varnished the hull, anti-fouling was red lead, and below the floorboard’s linseed oil, and of course linseed putty to keep the boat floating. Occasionally we tried the ancient way to seal a leaking boat by putting a bucket or two of anthill under the boat, the water seeping in brought the anthill in between the swelling boards and worked as caulking. Wooden boats built is pine, spruce or mahogany are rather easy to stop leaking, but a boat of oak is more difficult.
Later on the boats grew bigger and better, but still with today’s standard very plain.
1979 archipelago Baltic east coast
A double-ender clinker-built sailboat about 24 feet long with an outboard, tok us around the Baltic.
As mentioned earlier not to difficult to get a boat not leaking from below but from above it was more difficult thus the tarpon wrapped over the deck and cabin that season, before we got it reasonable waterproof
The life then was simple a fire on the rocks which of course nowadays is a “no no” as it scares the cliffs badly, but we did not know better those days. A coffee pot over the fire and a hot dog in the open flame provided lunch.
Not until the early nineties we got a more modern boat a Maxi 108 which we hade the pleasure to sail most holidays and many weekends for 13 years.
Life was still rather simple
But we had fantastic summers with the family close together.
So my experience from earlier sailing did not gave me much experience to maintain, improve and repair a true blue water sailing boat such as the Amel Super Maramu, one can have many opinions about the Amel but is not plain or simple, rather sophisticated and despite 20 years old still it could be considered loaded with gadgets even compared with boats of today. But Kerpa is 20 years old so time for maintenance, improvements and repair and then it helps a lot to be a handy man, which I’m not. I remember the first year we had the Maxi 108, one day the engine did not start, nothing happened when I turned the ignition key! I opened and had a look at the engine, but I could as well had opened a random page of the Coran in Arabic, it would have enlightened my as much. I realize that if I’m going to fulfill my dream of one day sail around the world I need to know more about how to maintain and fix malfunction things on a boat. At that time I was convinced that if I would sail around the world it would be in a boat with a similar size and complexity as our Maxi 108 (35 feet) and not an Amel.
Over the years I have learned a few things, even changing a head gasket on a one cylinder diesel engine! install a heater, new instruments a lot of plumbing and electric wiring, all of this work a qualified boat builder would probably have said it’s a “bungler work”, and he would not be totally wrong.
After soon 5 years with Kerpa it is time for some serious maintenance, I have time now Kerpa is moored in Lagos Marina less than 10 minutes’ walk from our flat. We where not supposed to cast of until August this year, but now with the Corona crises we probably postpone the departure until 2021.
Maintenance and repair
For you who love sailing but do not fancy reading about maintenance you might better scroll down to the end, but if you read you will learn that owning a boat is not always a ” dance on roses” by continue reading you might learn from my mistakes? If you own an Amel you will probably enjoy it either you are a handy man (probably a few laugh) or a bungler
Our outhaul gear box gave very strange noise when using it, so I thought it is time to service, not only the outhaul, but the whole furling system for the main sail.
One of the main challenges when servicing the out haul gearbox I have understood is to get the shaft of.
The bolt broke when we where approaching Bermuda, that was the first sign we got of the urgent need for service. The shaft goes through the boom and down through the gear box, and it get stuck after a few years without service.
It does not look good when the gear box cover is off, should be oil, not grease in the box, and it did not help getting the shaft off either.
A large bearing puller should do the job I hoped, but no it did not!
But I manage to crack the lid of the gearbox.
Finally after a lot of hammering with a large sledge hammer heating with a blowtorch I manage to get the shaft off but it took several days. Now the big question, can I fix the gear box? I need new lids, where to get them? Through the Amel forum I found a company in USA who made lids by 3D printing in plastic ( interesting) I ordered them at a price, but still 4 month later noting have arrived yet. Luckily, I had a spare gear box, so just install that one.
Then it was a rather quick fix. This time I put a lot of Lanocote on the shaft, so I guess it will not get stuck to bad now, I will have on my maintenance schedule to remove and insert the shaft at least every year to make sure it won’t get stuck again.
It was a play between the gearbox and the flange on the boom, the hole diameter was 9 mm and the screws are only 5 mm, but I inserted I piece of a fuel hose as a busing, fuel hoses are great for many things especially as spacers or shock absorber for pumps and fans.
Fuel hose I do not know how long it will last but easy to put in a new when needed.
An other way to use fuel hoses put a thin hose into a larger hose and you get a very
durable spacer or used it as a “silent block” when mounting pumps or fans it takes away a lot of the vibration and noise. easy to cut to desired length, and easy to carry as spare part.
Maine furler has three parts the furling mechanism, the gear box and the electric engine.
First I serviced the main furler
Easy to get off and relatively easy to dismantle
But rather messy.
It was nothing wrong with the bearing pictured but I wanted to take it away and replace it with a new one, but I did not manage to get it off and I spent quite some time on figuring out how to do it but in the end I let it be there. Now I have a new spare bearing. I replaced the other bearing and the lip seals and put it together.
I must confess, when everything was back in place and tested I had a look at the remains from my work
I found a piece I did not know where it came from until I looked at the picture below.
You see the tube at the right in the picture, that was the piece I found, Just had to take the furler off and dismantle it and put it back again, not without a problem, Wold not happened a handy man!
The main gearbox
To my surprise I found that the gear box that I had repaired in Turkey (actually I had them both repaired in Turkey at Emec marine), was put back in place with broken lids.
They painted all things they fixed and you can see they even put paint n the o-ring! It was equal bad on the other side.
The gear box apart no oil in this one either.
And again a shaft to get of, the inner shaft is made by aluminium totally stuck in the outer stainless steel shaft holding the gear. After a lot of trying, heating, thinking of alternative solutions, a lot of time spent. I finally bite the bullet and order a new Gear box with a new shaft at the hefty price of 945 Euro plus VAT and freight from Amel.
It arrived, and it is only to attach the plastic pieces that so that it could be bolted to its place.
It took of the screws holding the lids, the lids was firmly in place by paint and the lip seal. Looking for a few things then my wife said, there is some oil here what is that coming from? You can’t guess from where, can you? Well it came from the gear box, the oil came out from the screw holes, a new lesson for me. I did said a few foul word!
I had no option but to take off one lid and put in new oil, but then I notice that the O-Ring between the house and the lid has expanded and was way too long to put back in place. I was not happy, NOT HAPPY AT ALL more not so nice words came out from my mouth. What to do? Then I remember that I bought a O-ring kit for making my own O-Rings, where is it? Luckily, I found it rather quick, so just make an O-Ring.
But guess what? the glue was totally solid. Most shops are closed as it was in the beginning of the Corona issue. I thought the Chinese they might have the right glue and still be opened. Luckily they were open and had the right glue. Back to the boat and make an O-ring on the third attempt it was acceptable. Now to put it in place, then the bottom lid fell of and the same with that O-ring had to make one again but this time it was OK on my first attempt, learning curve in the right direction. One lesson learned always make sure the glue you have aboard is fresh else it is of no use.
Further to the burden was the slot wedge supplied did not fit to the slot in the shaft, it was too wide and too long!
I got use for my vise, hack saw and file, a lot of time wasted, it takes a time for a not so handy man.
Before putting the whole thing back I had to fix the play between the furler and the furling profile, it is a rather common issue and need to be attended to regularly
The hole is oval I earlier fix it with epoxy filler and putting in an Aluminium tube with the original size of the hole, worked for two years. One solution is to cut the profile and make a new hole, but I save that as a last resort, instead I again filled the hole with epoxy filler drilled a hole and inserted a fuel hose to get some flex
Then everything back in place it worked great, but as I mentioned earlier I found a piece left that needed to be put in place so out with everything and then back again, guess what? I manage to bust a thread in aluminium!!!!!! But I found a quick fix/Bunglers fix for that.
Mizzen boom trawler
I have long wanted to be able to control the position of the mizzen boom from the cockpit, and that was a rather straight forward job
The most cumbersome job was to cut the end part of the track to be able to slip on the new end piece, but with Sandvik hack saw blade (never save on cutting tools, always buy the best money can get it pays off) it was easier than I thought.
End pieces in place, to start I just use the pollard at the cockpit for fastening the control line, if that is not to my satisfaction there are several ways to make a good solution later on. The SS screw you see is to blind the holes for the old end piece a very simple and maybe also a bungler solution? Fine with me anyhow. This I’m sure will be a great improvement for very little efforts.
I mounted two 150 w ridged solar panels on the rail when we were in St Martin about a year ago, they work OK but are very sensible for shadow as they has to be in series. After a lot of browsing on internet I found 72 cells 36 v 180 watt solar panels, I decided to replace the old ones, it was an easy job as they had almost the same size so a quick job.
New panel, notice the difference in number of cells between the two.
With the new panels in place one notice big difference, even murky days so now I’m thinking of replacing my 3×150 watt panels on the arc to 3×180 watt 36 v, they also have more or less the same size. They have less shadow, but sure it will be a significant improvement.
Finally on solar, I have 2×100 flexible on the bimini, they do not give much as a lot of shadow there, but maybe 2×90 watt on each side of the boom would be a good idea, then I would have 1260 watt, that is a lot for a monohull.
The old aft toilet base was beyond repair, so decided to order a new Jabsco silent flush
on an Amel everything in contact with salt water should be connected with the zink to avoid corrosion, I have done this a few times as the Motor/Pump starts to leak after about two years, the difference this time the bolt broke off!!!!, I quickly gave up the process of trying to get off the broken part as I had one spare pump since before.
At last the new toilet in place only remain same cleaning.
The manual bilge pump has stopped working so I had ordered a repair kit, guess what I found when disassembling the pump?
I found the nut and thread on the shaft broken, so now I’m Waiting for a new pump to arrive! I have ordered a lot off stuff on internet, and despite the corona times many things have arrived very fast, but some still waiting for.
We guess we will not have so much use for our hydraulic passarelle for our future sailing plans, It is a bit in the way for our Hydro-Generator, a very heavy thing so there would be several benefits to take it off, and finally rather old and will soon require maintenance.
Now it is off, Kerstin is covering the old holes with butyl tape as temporary sealant before we have found out how to do it properly and good looking.
She looks better this way but the list increased from 1,5 to 2 degrees to port the passarelle was a heavy piece.
We need better deck light on the aft section, I thought the Arc is a good place to mount them, the only issue is the wiring,
A connection box in the Lazarette, to pull the wire through the arc was rather easy more hard work to get it to the cockpit, but after some job it was there.
it always become a mess inside when working
The lights in place, one on each side on the arc
After wiring this should not be big thing to mount the lamps itself, but guess, the slot for the nut was to small so I had to file down the nut Am I the only one with bad luck with new things or?
But in the end it will be a great improvement for dark nights working on after deck.
Lagos is a nice place to relax in between boat jobs,
Now in Corona times the whole town is more or less deserted
The marina usually bustling with life is now deserted, but we are happy to be here, It was just a vagary from me who got us back to Lagos else we would have been stuck somewhere in the Caribbean.
Now we are in a nice place
Lagos harbour entrance
Movie from one of the beaches not fare to walk to from our flat.
We are allowed to go shopping for groceries and other necessities
Only a limited number of people are allowed into the shop, when queuing there should be two meters apart.
The Gym is closed so we do some exercises on our balcony
We have a three page long list remaining of things to do on Kerpa so we will be occupied for month to come and maybe even I can become not a handy man, but hopefully no longer a bungler.
You have been very busy! It’s great that you are someplace where you can work on your boat during this dead period.
Katy and I have been living in Cherbourg since mid-January, awaiting the delivery of our Exploration 45. We had been visiting her at the yard at least once a week, but the virus put a stop to that. Like you, our travel plans are now very much in doubt.
Stay healthy, and have fun working on Kerpa.
Nice to hear from you, we have been thinking of you two and your Exploration 45, I hope everything work out for you. We will be in Lagos area until fall 2021, would be nice to meet up and see your fantastic boat.