Catching Up

Saturday, April 7, 2018

I am reverting to old ways. Some good, some not so much. I have no pictures from the last, well forever. Ok, well there is this one.

I went for a 200k ride on Sunday and I passed this field and the spring weeds were in full bloom. It was quite nice.

I am back in Athens. I have been here for a while. The parts for the freezer came in so I put some focus on that. It’s almost ice cube season. This is a very happy photo, not that I need ice cubes, but the time and money expended on getting this working was exceptional and frustrating. Hopefully it will now be good for another 10 years. Kudos to Sub-Zero for their support and the concessions on pricing to make it easier to complete the repairs. Their good service has made up for all of my frustration (it was just a small noise at the beginning, not a broken freezer).

But I haven’t been taking photos. I am still/again bored with Athens. There is a lot more here to see and do but I am more interested in other projects right now. Like what? You may ask.

The flybridge has two Sony marine speakers and they were completely shot. I purchased replacements and installed them. I could write for an hour or two about my difficulties in that process, but I will skip the details. One small detail is that the speakers are universally panned for build quality (expecting them to die within a few years) but offer good sound apparently and they fit and they work. Further, since they cost about the same as dinner for two at a nice restaurant, I’m not going to worry about their longevity. Speakers are installed and ready for summer on the flybridge.

My next ‘big’ project was really small. I have been trying to replace the rope lights but haven’t been able to do so. Nobody has what I need in stock and the cost to bring in something is €25/m or, let me do the math… ridiculously expensive and I’m still not sure I will get what I want. The big problem is the boat lights run on 24V not 12V. Most of the rope light is either 12v or 220v here in Greece. More importantly they have transformers that need to be plugged in. I need to plug directly into 24v and I can’t get a straight answer from store employees either because they don’t know or there is a language barrier.

Lee Valley has strip lighting kits and I brought some stuff with me to use that product, but I still need to get to 12V so my ‘big’ project is a small project to build a voltage converter. I will skip the details again, but I built a custom voltage converter for the lights and now they are ready to be strung up.

For anyone interested, here is the schematic diagram. As all of the engineers reading this know this is the electric circuits equivalent of kindergarten, but still, I took the time to solve a problem and I enjoyed myself in the process.

That translates into this:

The finished product looks like this…

I have now stuck the tape lights on the bulkhead and should have a nice accent light on the starboard side of the boat tonight.

I was so careful to think everything through (note the dual output wires) but failed to consider that I can’t wire the aft/port side rope lights from the starboard side. There is a vertical conduit (beautiful woodwork) in the way and so I will need to build a second converter. Importantly I thought I purchased enough tape lighting but I am about 10 feet short to complete the other side. I will have to complete the rest in May. (On reading that it seems like a big miss, 10 feet, but I actually have two spools, and was going to join them. I didn’t realize the older spool is double the light density. Therefore I can’t bring them together without altering the overall atmosphere.)

I have also worked on a lot of smaller things like stripping stickers off of windows, shopping (we drink bottled water, I have now put eight cases of water on board so I don’t need to carry that from expensive grocery stores in smaller ports), and some cleaning and re-arranging of things. I spent time reviewing spare parts and machinery condition. Thinking through the boat and it’s needs prior to my next big movements. I also had to move the boat to its current spot early in the week. These things all take time.

All of the cycling over the past months has left my bike in a bit of a state and I have spent time on repairs and cleaning (okay, most of the repair time has been me riding to Kefala’s bikes and sitting waiting for the repair guy to get the work done, but still . . . 🤫). The bike continues to have red dust appear seemingly from nowhere.

That red dust from Crete continues to pour out of every nook and cranny of the boat, the bike and anything else inside and outside. It is truly insidious stuff. I found it covering the generator cover in the engine room. No other spot in the engine room just the generator cover which is truly curious (and makes me think I have another surprise coming from somewhere).

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