Things start to flow!

Pieces of Opus are starting to arrive. Yesterday the SmartPlug arrived. It should have been a fast job, but turned into an all-day affair as these things often do. The first thing was to turn off -everything- so that there was no chance of electricity going where it shouldn’t. Can’t be too careful when there are puddles on the deck from the rains!

After that was removal of the old electrical socket that is attached to the coaming. It came off easily. Too easily. I don’t think it was ever sealed to the coaming. Sealing isn’t actually required, there’s a gasket that should keep things watertight, but I tend not to trust just a gasket alone. Oh well, different strokes for different folks. I worked on the old socket trying to free the wires for a bit and then, in sheer frustration, just cut it off with a combination of box cutter and wire cutters. Later on I discovered I’d have to cut things anyway, so this wasn’t the bad move I thought it might be.

Unfortunately, the cord slipped from my hand, zipped right through the hole in the coaming and went… somewhere. So now the great hunt began to try to find where the wires are. Are they accessible in the port lazarette? Nope. How about the port stern berth? Nope. Ok, move everything from the berth (I’m using that for storage at the moment) and pull up the boards. Not there either. Hmmm, maybe the stern end of the lazarette is removable to provide access to that space? Nope, though studied that for a while.

It took me a while, but then the light dawned. It probably fell into the machinery space, aka “engine room”. To get there, you open the -starboard- thing that looks like a lazarette. Then you step into there and disappear into the bowels of the ship, work your way under the cockpit deck and… SUCCESS! There’s the line! Now how to feed it back up and… Nope, that’s not going to work. I can’t reach high enough and, being alone on the boat, I’m a little reluctant to get myself into a situation where I might need help getting back out.

I know! I drop a cord through the coaming hole down to here, tie the cord to the electrical cord, go back up to the cockpit and pull the electrical cord back up! I have some thin dyneema around, that should be good, but since I had moved everything around, I have to find THAT. Another hunt ensues.

Finding the dyneema, I tie one end to the ship’s wheel (so that it doesn’t fall completely down the hole too) and feed the other end through the hole for the electrical socket, down the hollow space and (hopefully) into the engine room. Then worm back down the starboard lazarette, underneath the deck, over to the electrical cord and look for the black dyneema which blends in with a lot of other things. Finally I find it, caught up on some things and out of reach. Back out, feed more dyneema down on the assumption that SOME loop would eventually make it to the machinery space floor, worm back down again and success, there’s the dyneema. Dyneema is slppery. Electrical cord sheathing is slippery. Use an old method of fastening fletching to arrows to attach the two together. Slither back out, reel in the dyneema and up comes the electrical cord. Tie off the dyneema to the wheel (a second time) so that there’s no way for the electrical cord to slip back down.

I start following the directions for the smartplug installation and one of the things they stress is to make sure that you’ve cut back the electrical cord far enough that you get clean, uncorroded, copper. Hmmm. Cut back some cord. Cut back some more. Cut back some more. Finally find clean copper (see, cutting off the old socket didn’t matter – I’d have had to cut anyway). Now that end is installed and I just have to install the socket into the coam… Oh, hell, the new socket is JUST SLIGHTLY too big for the old hole. Get out the dremel and I’ll sand away… ummm… power. Where to get power for the dremel? Sort that bit out and sand away some of the old outlet’s hole until, eventually, the new outlet fits. Drill a few holes for the… Drats, my cordless screwdriver battery is dead so I have to somehow get power to it so that I can recharge it. That done, I drilled new holes for the mounting screws and voila, done.

Now repeat the process for the end of the cord that runs from the socket to the electrical supply on the dock. Having done the socket already, I knew what I was in for, so this part of it went a bit faster as i took BIG pieces off the electrical cord until I got to clean copper.

As always when working with electricity, there is that feeling of “Please let me have done this right” as I turn on the power to the boat. I’m just waiting to hear the sparks and stuff. This time, nothing exciting, so all’s well except that there’s still caulking to do. I sourced some caulk and this morning got it. I left the socket protected by a tarp overnight in case it rained even though the installation SHOULD be watertight regardless. Silicone calk arouund the edge of it this morning and the whole thing is A-number-1 done.

Since I had caulk in hand, I went and caulked the joint between the kitchen counter tops and the vertical surfaces, so that’s another job done. next job is measuring the luff of the foresail for a genoa cover and, if the weather holds, paying out the anchor chain to make sure that the rhode is attached to it.

Ok, here we go!

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