Jonty Pearce begins his winter maintenance programme on Aurial - starting with the electrics
The hurricane hole shelter offered by Neyland Yacht Haven in Wales is so complete that I am content to leave Aurial afloat all year; winds from the west and east fail to worry the berthed yachts in the steep-sided pill, while northerlies and southerlies are moderated by the kinks and twists of the waterway and the height of the surrounding land.
She has not been lifted out in a decade; regular drying out on beaches and sandbanks allows me to keep her Coppercoated bottom clean and service the nether regions usually covered by water.
Her epoxied hull seems to have proofed her against waterlogging of her GRP and subsequent osmosis.
As she hibernates through the winter I ensure that I regularly undertake the 3-hour journey to visit her; rather than staying for a couple of hours before turning around for another 3-hour drive back home I prefer to spend a night or two aboard, always finding a few tasks and repairs to fill my time.
By 4pm it is getting dark, and time for me to cease my travails, turn on the Eberspacher, and have a cuppa. And pen my blog. Today has been the day for the electrics.
With the wind howling up top and the rain splattering the windows, I am snug below the shelter of the new cockpit tent. I ‘ve been aware for some time that the battery monitor’s calibration has gone astray; either that, or some heavy power consumers have suddenly become more economical.
Knowing that I had inadvisably fiddled with the settings in the summer, I researched how to correct the amp draw display.
The trouble was, I needed a precise measured load greater than 10A. The range of all my meters is less than that; I have a 12v kettle that claims a draw of 12A, but no way to check it accurately.
This was solved by a neat device found on eBay designed to check the consumption of automotive components.
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Today’s job was to connect it all up and reset the battery monitor. Unusually, all went to plan, and a lingering job was ticked off.
The second task I’d been avoiding was correcting the installation of my nice new (to me) Fusion marine stereo.
I’d installed this in place of the old automotive unit that used to sound as if its speakers were made of damp cardboard. The Fusion’s performance is wonderful, but only if I have the LED lights, gas solenoid, and Eberspacher turned off.
If I dare to make a cuppa, become warm, or make reading easier varied hums and whistles turn the music into a cacophony.
The interference is atrocious, and after a fruitless few hours tinkering I have resolved to seek professional advice through Fusion’s support system.
Internet searches have suggested various tricks and adjustments; consequently, I now have 8 ferrites fitted on all the relevant wires.
The hum remains unmuted; Houston, we have a problem. I may end up disconnecting the external amplifier and subwoofer and keeping things simple – I’d prefer to listen to some ‘thin’ music than none at all.
Why stay in the marina fettling the boat while never venturing out for a winter sail, I hear you ask?
My answer is the December dankness.
I’m hoping for some crisp, dry, clear days after Christmas which will tempt us out from our berth for a brisk trip up and down the haven, but the current damp chilly darkness can only be managed by bright lights, an efficient heater, and a healthy tot of whisky. Cheers!