This year one of the dad's has chartered the entire group a gaggle of seaplanes (actual term for a bunch of seaplanes as far as you know!) to fly us round trip from Lake Union to the camp and back again. He also sprung for a photographer to get the moment on film. Our flight leaves at 1700 on Friday. Simply amazing. Once at the camp, the dad's are cooking gourmet food on the beach that will be inline with our flying experience. Then when the kids are in bed, us dads will have our annual safety meeting.
Ben and I fly home to Appa on Monday. Appa is still lying in Santa Barbara with Jen, Max and Samey tending to her every whim. Such is the life of a French Princess.
So now to the typical Appa 'Marcus is going to leave so let me break....right.... Now!!!' Just before I was going to take a leisurely shower before this morning, I decide to run the water maker. They have to be run every 3 days or so. While running the water maker I noticed that the shore power lights on the panel were not illuminating. The AC light was on which meant we were getting juice to the boat but it was not going into the panel to be spread throughout the boats electrical outlets. Grrrrrr.
Appa is equipped with an old Xantrex Freedom 25 charger/inverter. Not sure of the vintage but I'll bet is is older than Ben. It has worked flawlessly since we have bought the boat. I have wondered about the wiring going to it occasionally, but had other things on my plate and it got pushed down the punch list. I am skeptical of the wiring that the old owner has done and hence my wondering about the Freedom 25. Well wonder no more!! It sucks. Or sucked.
The power from shore goes into the boat then through a 30 amp breaker then to the Freedom. Here the power can go to the outlets and also charge the battery bank. The electrical connections on a boat are suppose to be strong so they can't shake loose. I consider plugging into shore power one of the more dangerous things you can do on a boat. You basically have lightning going through these wires. If a connection was to come off or a wire was to rub through the insulation, a fire can start. Appa is made from petroleum and wood basically and would burn, burn, burn.
I took off the cover plate on the Freedom and found that all the connections were done with house grade electrical connectors. You know the type. You have two wires, twist them together, then put this cap on them and twist the cap on. I should have known. I moved the wires out of their little metal storage area in the Freedom and two of them popped immediately out of the cap. Bad connections.
I walked to West Marine and bought the proper type of crimping connectors with insulators and started to rewire this mess.
That might not be the entire problem. The Freedom is old so it might need replacing but when the problem occurs, I would hit the Freedom and just like the Millienium Falcon everything started to work. Time will tell.
I think we are doing ok in the breakage department personally. Autopilot was suppose to fail at some point. I planned on it hence me having a spare. Our fridge and freezer use the same type compressors and are right on top of each other and if one fails I can use the other. Freezer not necessary, fridge more so but not essential. If the Freedom fails, we'll have to deal with that as it happens. It is essential gear. Kinda of. I can charge the batteries through the engine and have a spare alternator also not to mention the solar panels. We would have no AC power but that is not the end of the world. We still have the honda generator that can provide AC.
In the end we are a sailboat. Engine dies, sail. No fridge, bummer. None of that is going to harsh my mellow. My family is amazingly adaptive. I have a feeling I'll be proving that point.
Jen and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary apart this year. September 21st. What a ride it has been. Look where I am now and what I am doing with my family. Who would have thunk it? Really. Anybody? I doubt it. Luck. I has it.
I love my wife. Never could do this without her strength and grace. I am so thankful that I can be apart of a family that can support my dream and even embrace it.
Well that is it for now. Oh, I am stealing the air sick bags on our flight btw. Beware if you are on Skywest flights.