Monday, May 28, 2012
And More Boat Maintenance
A couple of things have been happening on Bettie that have made our lives not as nice as they could be. The first is the fact that Bettie has a moustache. And not a pencil thin one either, but a full on 70s mo, plush, thick and made up entirely of green algae. It started attaching itself in Key West, and while some of it definitely cleared up as we traveled, the motion of the waves washing it away, we still have a good looking green line at the water level. This is not just a cosmetic problem. It also affects the performance of the boat. You see, the moustache creates friction, which slows us down as we move through the water, and when you're only going five miles an hour losing even half a knot can mean the difference between getting to an anchorage with plenty of light or sailing in the dark.
The other little item that has been vexing us is that the three awesome solar panels we have that should be sending watt after watt of electricity from the beaming tropical sun into our battery bank were not reaching their full potential. Besides running the engine, which burns expensive diesel, our only source of electricity - for lights, the fridge, the computers - comes from those three panels. Unfortunately, our power regulator, which regulates how much electricity travels from the solar panels to the batteries, had some crummy connections but was really just a little too small for the amount of power that we can generate with 250 watts of converted sunshine.
Yes, these are the types of things you get to think about when living on a boat. Rather than just plugging in the ol' iPod and forgetting about it, you are often confronted with the limits of of what you can consume. Stinkin' limits.
So yesterday we tackled these problems. Vlad installed the new regulator that we got for $70 in Cancun, an amazing feat of internet research and pure luck if you know anything about trying to find parts in foreign lands.
And we started on the moustache maintenance. We put on our snorkel gear, grabbed our scrub brushes and went for a swim. We got the starboard side mostly done minus the keel (I'm not sure how we're going to get the keel scrubbed. Maybe we should just find a nice sandbar at low tide.), and Vlad had a good time trying to get the barnacles off the rudder. We plan on getting Bettie hauled out in the next few months, once we're out of hurricane range and in a cheap, do-it-yourself spot, and we're going to give her new bottom paint as well as fix a couple of other things. Until then, we'll have to vanquish the barnacles with a scrub brush and swim fins.