Posted by yachtcamomile
So the auto pilot hydraulic ram turned up on Monday. Bill spent the morning finishing off some wiring for the crossover DC switch in the radar arch to get his horns working (I’m not going to begin to explain that). After lunch Ally turned up with the hydraulic ram, which she had extracted from the Singapore customs. When we opened the box we kind of understood why they had held it. The ram was skilfully attached to a backing plate to prevent it from moving in transit, it had come from the UK, but on an x-ray the profile probably looked like a gun. Secondly it had a little container of hydraulic fluid attached to it and the customs officials, bless them, had drained it. Why? Who knows but it meant we needed more before we could test it.
This is how the unit fits onto the mystery object.
It needed some fine-tuning!
The hydraulic ram hull mounting reinforcement, Bill’s official name for the mystery object, was fibre glassed in place by the end of the day Monday. Bill spent the next 2 days mounting the ram and wiring it up. The main mounting is under the port locker next to the bed with the ram going through a hole in the bulkhead ready for attaching to the rudder quadrant.
It couldn’t be tested without the hydraulic fluid and I spent 2 afternoons, on the bus, going to the next two towns carrying my little empty bottle trying to buy hydraulic fluid with an ISO of 10 – without speaking the language! Who says I have nothing to do all day? Unfortunately I failed. I managed to get cable ties, easy, and electrical terminal blocks, little harder, but not hydraulic fluid. I could have bought a 15 litre bucket of it but we only need 2 or 3 litres and they wouldn’t sell me a little bit. So I came home disappointed. We had a further disappointment when we heard the TV coming from the UK had been held up until Monday but at least that gave us a focus to work towards – leave on Monday.
Meanwhile Bill had sent another email to Aquila asking again about the VHF and the SSB. To give Aquila their due they always respond well to emails. Ally assured us the new VHF was on it’s way from Australia and would be here before the weekend, and they had bought a new Icom SSB from their supplier and installed it in their office to test ours, (apparently their supplier maintained it didn’t have a warranty because they don’t break) and they had our SSB head working! She also had hydraulic fluid. As our parts for the fridge had also arrived with the refrigeration company in Singapore we decided another trip to Singapore was in order.
Thursday morning we got on the bus and made our way across the border, stopping to get a stamp in our passport either side. We went to the fridge company first to pick that up and got all the parts in our backpacks. After lunch we made our way to Aquila’s office. They are based in an unusual building in that it’s a vertical industrial estate. Singapore is very short of space so they have built many light industrial units vertically, it’s a brilliant idea. Apparently there was a service area around the back with a multi story ramp that delivery vehicles can drive up and there’s a large service lift on the inside. Aquila has a showroom/storage area on the 7th floor with a large office at the back of their unit. Very practical. Any way we arrived and had a demonstration on the SSB and sure enough it was working – brilliant. We made our way home – stopping to get two more passport stamps – and refitted the SSB head to try it. Turned it on …. same problem, GGGRRRR. Another email.
Friday 13th was it going to be our lucky day? Aquila were due to come over in the afternoon and commission the new instruments. The first good news of the day was that Ally had our VHF radio from Australia. The second good thing was the little TV turned up from the UK early, hooray nothing to stop us going now except a couple of radios! Then we heard Aquila were delayed and wouldn’t be over until late afternoon. 2 steps forward 1 step back all the time.
Bill made an attachment to go on the back of the TV so it could sit were the old one had been.
Bill had arranged for Aquila to bring over the new SSB system they had bought to check our system, which meant my sewing machine cupboard had to emptied – again.
We waited all day for Aquila to arrive and just as we were giving up hope of them coming, they arrived at 4.30. There had been a big accident on the causeway bridge causing gridlock in the area. Sylvester and Allyson had come along with Raja the SSB technician, the new SSB set and our VHF. While Sylvester started working on his laptop downloading the latest firmware for the sonar unit and configuring the new system, Raja started swapping out different parts of the SSB. Their head didn’t work on our system either so the next thing to check was the transceiver. Success, suddenly the system was working. So the new SSB set was fitted to Camomile and Aquila took away the non-working set to argue with Icom that it was faulty. We now had on board everything we had ordered, Friday the 13th turned out to be a good day.
Saturday Bill spent all day fitting the VHF and it’s speakers. Again wires and connectors were bigger making life difficult for poor Bill.
The main VHF unit had to be fitted next to the SSB transceiver because it wouldn’t fit in its old place.
The speakers for the SSB and the VHF are now together and the wires are encased in some conduit because they wouldn’t go behind the ceiling panels.
Sunday was clean up day trying to put everything back where it belonged. I scrubbed the outside decks because as there’s a building site next door the boats are all covered in dust. No photographic evidence I’m afraid!
Bill spent time putting his tools away including oiling his big vice.
The bikes back in place and the workshop all back to normal.
And this is the chart table, looking like nothing happened, with Bill’s new computer and the new instruments. It’s worth noting that in the middle of the instrument on the bridge head is our faithful, stand alone Garmin that survived the strike and still works. It displays our trip figure and has a very useful snails trail, which we often use, so it was refitted among the new posh instruments. It looks very old fashioned but it works.
The final use for the carrier box is storage for all the old bits which I managed to make Bill part with on the basis they don’t work!
At the end of the day we met the crews of Soltice, Hokele’a, Totem, Utopia II and Kite for a farewell drink. Soltice, Hokele’a and Kite are heading across the Indian ocean this year so we won’t see them until we get to the US some time in the future.
It will be sad to say goodbye to Jackie after our gym sessions together. Utopia II and Totem went back to their boats but the rest of us had a final meal together. Tomorrow we head out of here.