I have mentioned that we have a windvane on board. This is an amazing device that just uses wind power to steer the boat. It is a she and she is called Ciara and she has been steering for a large part of the last two thousand miles. She was built in 1995 and while she still works she was a bit creaky and had a lot of wear in everything.
We originally planned a rebuild in south England but the UK agent went on holiday while we were there so just gave us a load of parts and tried to sell us a new system for thoudands of pounds.
Finally in Portugal we had time to dismantle the system and service it. The UK guy had told us it took about four hours if everything went well. It didn’t go well. Two parts were so corroded together that we ended up grinding and cutting them apart. Not good! We had to order new parts from California. Luckily Scanmar have an amazing emloyee called Suzy who told us what we needed and got it all out the same day. Fedex took a few days to get all the parts to us and the portuguese government charged us taxes and VAT.
With all the parts laid out in front of us we slowly rebuilt everything and with three pairs of hands got it all together and working with no play in the system. Difficult but satisfying. We then carried it back to the boat and reattached it. The final piece was having to make a rope loop with my first ever long splice. Not pretty but it worked first time.
Tomorrow we are off to see if it works at sea.
[29.09.18] it works! Quieter than before and seems to hold the course better than before. We are all agreed it was worth the work.