Aug 11 - "Ya can't live the dream every day...." (Thanks, Liz)

Today just sucked...I mean, really sucked. If you don't want to hear me gripe and groan, turn the page, close your eyes or come back whenever. You know, many of our friends think we're in daily nirvana land. Well, the reality is that often times it is, but frequently it's not. The work goes on, and if the work doesn't go on, the boat breaks down and nothing goes on. Not much of a choice, huh? Well, to get organized to do whatever work needs to get done encompasses a lot of things. Often times, it's chasing parts in other areas of town, getting there by bus or whatever transport is available; getting lost is just part of the day. Often, it's gathering the tools and clearing out an area to get to the item that has the "fix me" sign attached to it. Today was like that. I had to clear out the lazarette to get to the nuts that were attached to the bolts that held down the cheek blocks (foot blocks) for the jib. The blocks were frozen (and in my defense for anyone who's thinking I didn't do proper upkeep) and were 1970's technology with a bronze sheave that turned around something...but I had to get to that something to determine why it didn't work. The starboard side was, I thought, no problem, as I took out a small mountain of rope, a lot of oversize poles and such, and even found an area of our emergency tiller which needed attention. The two part tiller, made of aluminum, was bolted together with a 1/2" SS bolt, and the electrolysis which followed essentially damaged the aluminum plate to the point where a replacement plate is now necessary. Put that on the list. At any rate, I climbed over a partial bulkhead in the lazarette, squeezed in with a flash light, looked up at where the caprail was thru bolted, and had Sue turn the bolt head of the block....No matter, I couldn't locate the bolt. The good thing was that when Sue tried to turn the bolt, the sheave freed up and now turns. That sounded good and I then realized that the port block was in an area that would necessitate me taking out the hot water heater to get to the underside of the caprail where I thought the nuts were for the port block. By this point, I'm a sweaty mess, so figured I'd measure some distances from a fixed point to try to better determine where the damn bolts were to begin with. Sure enough, the port side appeared to be above the quarter berth, not in the lazarette. No problem. That just meant taking every damn thing out of the quarter berth and dropping the head liner to confirm my suspicions. Of course, you guessed it...that didn't go so smoothly either. At any rate, I finally did manage to get the overhead down, had Sue turn the bolts, and, Eureka!, the nuts were, indeed, visible, We worked to get the nuts off, and the sheave turned out to turn around a solid SS bearing thru which a 3/8" bolt went thru, and the base of the block had another 3/8" bolt which helped attach the cheek (foot) block thru the shaped teak platform and caprail. Nuts off...two 5" bolts removed...sheave still frozen....what the ?? The bronze sheave had essentially welded itself to the SS inner bearing, and in attempting to gently remove the sheave, the bearing broke off the platform, no doubt from crevice corrosion and crappy design, although I must admit that it had lasted for 35 years...not a bad thing. The teak support pad decided to fly off and come along too, so we now had a broken cheek block, a caprail with holes in it, a torn up quarter berth, a ripped apart lazarette, a dirty, tired man, and rain pouring down. This extravaganza took about five hours, and now we had to put stuff back where it belonged. Not to mention, the cost of repair of the block is probably not worth it as modern blocks have bearings that take higher load and perform better than these older blocks do. Not to mention, this means we have to tear down the main stateroom overhead, get to the nuts of the starboard block, and remove that block as well. It may be turning now, but doubt it will last long, seeing what the port block looked like. So, that about sums up how the better part of the day went. Living the dream. Ya.
Pic: Pieces of the broken foot block

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