Friday, 28 March 2014

It is common knowledge that cruising life is the same as fixing boats in exotic places. There’s always work to do on a boat! In Martinique we met a young couple in the marina, who were working on their boat.

They said that on their boat it was like there was this magic number of things that could work on the boat at the same time. If you fixed one thing, you could be sure that something else would break down– sometimes even within the same day of making the other thing work!

Capibara’s magic number
Capibara is unfortunately also operating under such a magic number. Henrik has been so tired of fixing things, though, that we for many months have been spared of too many new things breaking down, since he repaired as little as possible. However, our inboard engine has for a long time now been very unstable.

Whenever we turned it on, it would run for a while and then stop again, and there was no way of telling how many times we had to repeat this, before it was working properly. Because of this we always had to let the engine run for quite some time, before we dared moving the boat amongst other boats in a marina or an anchorage.

So in the end, there was no other way around it, and just before we left Barbados, Henrik decided he better try to fix it. It turned out it was the membrane in the feed pump that was broken, but Henrik luckily had a spare, which of course let to lecture of how important it is to have spares on board! I suspect Henrik to have known this for a while, though, but since it required taking half the engine apart, I think he postponed it and tried other easier things instead. But now it works brilliantly! It has however sett off an avalanche of other things to go wrong!

The beauty of cruising life
Within the same day that the engine was fixed, our windlass broke down so we had to connect the wires manually, when we anchored. We had planned to leave Barbados the following day, so the windlass wasn't fixed, until we reached the small French islands by Guadeloupe. Fixing the windlass however resulted in one outboard engine, that wouldn't start, so a Swedish guy had to rescue Henrik when he started drifting to Panama in the dinghy.

He cleaned the carburettor on the engine and it helped, but now one of our cooling fans and the radio has stopped working. It’s just non stop! In these situations I always remember to remind Henrik that before we started our cruising adventures he thought that fixing things on the boat was just what he considered one of beauties of the cruising life!

Signe Storr - Marine Journalist & friend of Boatshed