Monday, September 2, 2013

Fire! Fire! fire down below its fetch a bucket of water Glenn there's fire down below...

Our new anchor winch motor was installed in Bundaberg. The old one did not survive it's encounter with the humpback whale at Roonie's Point. We'd experienced so much frustration with delays ($$$) over the long and futile days at Bundy that we were keen to get moving. What a marvel the new motor was, and it worked very well at Lady Musgrave and Pancake Creek.

Our third use of the anchor winch motor was at Cape Capricorn. We completed our "up anchor" routine with ease. We are a well oiled team. Glenn is clear with his hand signals as he hangs over the bow. I can interpret his waving and shouts. I don't let his port/starboard confusion interfere at all with my own deeply entrenched dyslexia. I can easily juggle the helming and engine controls with the up and down switch, while reading the real time chart and depth soundings. I do this with my head poked out to one side of the dodger. I can steer with one outstretched leg. It's all very routine.

After about 20 mins of happy motoring I felt like a strong cup of coffee and climbed down the steps/ladder. I turned around as a stench hit me. Thick white smoke was pouring from the front cabin ( our V berth/ bedroom) and into the saloon ( lounge room). I turned and called out to Glenn but could only repeat #%#%! #%#%!, #%#%! I just didn't have the language to tell him what was happening. He looked blankly at me and then realised that he needed to spring into action. My brain just couldn't make any sense of what could possibly be happening to cause this burning plastic cloud. By the time he entered the saloon and headed forward Glenn could not see through the dense smoke. So he simply reached out and turned off the power. And that was it.

A fire to me is the charred ruins of bricks and mortar. An electrical fire however gathers heat and melts plastics, metals and surroundings before bursting into flame.

And so after only 8 days our shiny new anchor winch motor was no more. Glenn felt somewhat despondent because of what the recent replacement required So much hassell. I focused on the fact that there was no loss of life or boat. We are at sea after all, and fire is especially dangerous. Yachts are full of strange gasses and fuels.

Damage that was very nearly of the worse kind.

Burnt insulation caught just in time.


So here we are at Yeppoon, in the friendly marina of Rosslyn Bay. Our sailing instructor from some years ago Ginny Gerlach, greeted us and arranged for a good marine electrician to assess and assist us in our new anchor winch motor installation. No problem, except for where to sleep. The stench in the V berth was nauseating. All linen, pillows and doonas etc, needed washing. (boring, but thank goodness I have been collecting $1.00 coins for the laundrette). Our mattress is custom made, with innovative suspension and aeration for comfort at sea. Our choices for sleeping at night have been a round of 1: putting some lounge cushions on the floor (me), 2: the aft cabin with its stone-like mattress or 3: the narrow lounge/lee berth. All of these options have been most uncomfortable for the ageing nurse's spine. And what about Glenn who so likes his comfort? Much moaning. Five long and restless nights.

But just like any Polly Anna story there Is a silver lining. In my mind the interior of ST3 is too "log cabin" with too much use of timber. What better way to banish the stench than by painting the veneer timbers with fresh white. I'm smiling now, and the price of marine paint seems really economical now that we've paid the second mechanics bill.

Jen: Never happier than when in disarray while painting and decorating.

Glenn: aaaaarrrggghhhh!






  1. sorry that you are having these challenges, good attitude to have Jen, and Glenn things could have been a lot worse. Now you have had your quota of anchor winches so everything should go smoothly from now on !!!!
    Ines & Steve

  2. Thanks Ines, I still haven't had my quota of the yacht club see you there tonight!


  3. Hi Guys, Loving your blog and wishing we were there too. I'm glad all is ok after your windlass / fire dramas. Any idea what caused it? All in all, it sounds like you're both having a wonderful time. Keep safe. Lynne

    1. Hi Lynne, a combination of 2 pieces of equipment failure at the same time, caused by my lack of patience at Bundaberg and jury rigging a solenoid control system myself.
      My fail.


  4. I always knew that drinking coffee was a good thing...
    Sorry to hear about your troubles, but you now have a lovely freshly painted cabin feature! Cheers, Pat & Peter

  5. Hi Pat & Peter, but Jen is frightening with a paintbrush in hand!