X-Ray Vision

This post is a bit out of order. Pretend we are back in the yard briefly. Then we’ll get back to the water and more.

I looked at my yard bills and decided I’d beaten my deductible to a pulp. It was time to call on Novamar my insurance provider to cover some of the repairs as much of the work here was necessitated by the grounding in Fiji 5 months ago. This was a new experience for me in boat world.

Novamar’s adjuster Scott Labadie seemed to grasp quite quickly what was up. This was not his first grounding case. He referred me to Captain Kristoffer Diel, a marine surveyor in New Orleans. Well sort of from New Orleans. Turns out he spends a good deal of the year bouncing around the globe doing inspection work like this. Kris and I get on the phone and he tells me that he is “not going to be sanguine about the finished repairs” unless he gets his hands on Spill The Wine for his own inspection. Short of that he tells me to organize an infra-red scan of the hull structure. Sure! I know all about that!!

I ask around the yard and called a local boat surveyor. This technology must be a new application in the marine industry. At least this yard was not familiar with it. They all thought this guy was from the moon and had never heard of anyone doing this to assess a hull for damage. So I asked The Google. There is a company in Auckland (3.5 hrs drive) that has this technology. and they have done some marine work. A few days later they are on site at 7:30am.

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They have a monster propane burner that they use to warm up the hull. They film in IR as it cools down. Differential rates of cooling tell tales. Hull thicker (near beams it will be) or thinner or delaminated….. ew!

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Here you are looking at the IR guy with a ball cap on (face is white) and he is holding a maybe 12″ diameter hose blowing the hot air from the propane burner up at the hull to heat it up. The red spot top center is the front of the keel. I think…

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The right image is the IR image. Lighter is warmer, darker is cooler. The left image is for reference so you know what you are looking at. You can see that the technician has highlighted a few odd results but they are not conclusive. He explained to me that delamination really screams at you with this technique.

Anyway the report comes back as…. might be ok. But further investigation required. Captain Kris makes plans to come to NZ. He is currently in Cartegenia Columbia on a similar project. So I have a few days to Chill. In my own odd way.

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This is a winch. Its a handy thing when it comes time to tightening up a line with some serious tension. A lot to it on the inside. You put a handle on it and crank one way with whatever horsepower you’ve got and you can tighten up a line pretty quick. Reverse rotation with that crank and you will tighten up more slowly but with a lot of leverage. And thus control your sails that may well be under a great deal of tension. I have 4 winches. Nancy and I already too care of two of them, already done. And I’m going to tear apart the next two. Notice the roof behind the winch. Yes I really am still up in the air in the dang boat yard. I have really enjoyed working with the people here, but Spill the Wine needs her some Salt Water! Soon I suppose, but first…

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So now we are looking at a couple racks of roller bearing racks that need to be cleaned in solvent and regreased. That how it starts.

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And that is what she looks like with bearings removed. The Big Green Egg watches closely… But what is that wrench up to??

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Oh yeah. This thing comes off too. And there’s more bearings and gears.

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Here is the center axle. Do you have any idea how hard it is to clean and grease one of these things and take photos along the way without greasing your phone? If you live right you’ll never need to know.

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More stuff is probably going on under the gears in the base.

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Yeah there’s greasy bits. Assembly and disassembly take about 30 minutes. The parts cleaning and re greasing…. a couple hours. Probably would have gone faster if I’d skipped the photos.

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Here is the lot of the parts. Clean and ready to get together again.

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Clean parts are more fun to work with for sure. Can you spot the dental pick? My dad mailed me about 20 of those things about 15 years ago. And damn it those things are handy more often than I had ever imagined. Even the little wooden toothpick is handy sometimes.

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The keel got removed after the bottom paint went on. Kinda backwards but sometimes that’s how it goes. So I come along and touch up a few spots that got ding’d on project Keel Removal. And I noticed that the paint is not quite the same color. To I tagged my keel. Can you see the primitive image I made? Next time I need to get Nancy involved and give her a proper contrasting color. She has abilities in this realm that I do not.

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A couple other boat yard images. The rainbow speaks for itself. The boat photo above that is probably a work in progress but I think it needs to be clear coated at is. Industrial Art indeed!

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Captain Kris gets to New Zealand and I pick him up at the airport. I know his eyes are closed in the photo. And I know that Roddy’s were too in a previous post. Not sure what this means. If I find the hidden message I’ll post it here. I invite Kris to spend his NZ time on board STW and he likes the idea. Boats are boats and hotels are hotels. We all have our preference.

For the next few days he goes over the boat with a fine toothed comb. I always learn quite a bit during a survey. And this survey more than most. Very experienced and informative cat. Good news is the keel repairs pass. Which means STW can go back into the sea. There is no bad news. Kris’s tour of the STW reveals a number of things that could be organized more functionally in general. Nothing like the voice of experience far greater than mine.

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One suggestion was that I should have a fair chunk of a sail I can use to bandage a hole in the hull should I ever have that sort of issue. If you ever hit an underwater obstruction above the keel you can sling a hunk of sail over the hole and slow the water ingress way down. On a not so bad day your bilge pump might be able to keep up. And there was our neighbor whacking up an old sail! Perfect opportunity. Bandage acquired. Steve and Julie were awesome neighbors. Only sorry we were both in the yard long enough to meet the neighbors.

And it was a blast spending a few days with Capt. Kris. Thanks for coming aboard and yer invited back mate!

And Spill The Wine Returns to the sea.

23 thoughts on “X-Ray Vision

  1. Interesting…very interesting! Glad the hull was ok. I put a box with a hole in bottom, over a winch when I disassemble one, the slippery little parts tend to want to go swimming. A fothering cloth, why didn’t we think of that?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! What an extraordinary adventure! Thank you for sharing your adventure; both the amazing & beautiful parts as well as the challenges for those living vicariously through them. What a breathe and blending of this spectrum from the “olde world of sailing” to “new world of high technology”. Regarding those winch parts: I can only imagine what is involved with the hours of degreasing/cleaning them. What works? Does some sort of detergent with elbow grease? Or do you have to use some nasty sort of solvent, which the worrywart in me thinks would be highly carcinogenic? (Ye gads)! In any case, sending Cheers & Best Wishes to you and Nancy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Zen and the Art of sailboat maintenance! Chris, somehow you make this all very interesting…appreciate the science of it all- IR to check out a boat hull-who knew?
    Signed off on our taxes and thought of you- hope you had a fantastic birthday- sounds like you got the perfect present- Nancy arriving with a box of boat parts 🙂
    Nancy- hope you are brace-free soon.
    Happy Sailing once again!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. After following your winch tear down as well as the survey work with Dr Kris, I am felling quite sanguine. Cheers and do I understand a recent ‘happy birthday’ is in order?🎂

    Like

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