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Electrical gremlins..again..

The electrical system on Enterprise is – lets say – substantial. This is great when it all works. I have spent a lot of time, money, effort, research getting to understand it; improving it; mapping it out. One of the few parts that has never caused concern and never been touched is the engine alternator – an American Leece Neville. Yes, never heard of it either, till I saw it on my boat.

As I went to leave Viveiro on the 20th, the alternator alarm went off. It would not stop. I had to come back into the mooring and wait for the office to open at 9am to seek help. Eventually the office opened and the Capitaine listened intently as I gave him my Delboy Spanish/English explanation. Luckily the Spanish for alternator is alternador – not too many consonants separate the two. He said he would get an electrician immediately.

At 1pm I went back to the office and the Capitaine had gone, and the boys were on shift. They knew nothing about an electrician. I explained all over again. An electrician was called – literally – he was working on a boat 100 yards away.

The examination of the boats electrics did not yield any clues. Much muttering; prodding; starting stopping of engines; waving about of multi-meter… nope…we were all no wiser. I was advised to take the boat to A Coruna where the facilities are much larger – akin to being in Southampton.

The problem was – could I sail – would there be enough wind? If I had to motor – was that safe?. There was a force 8 gale expected by Sunday 23rd and this was Thursday 20th. Could I do the 70nm in time – especially if the forecast was wrong and the weather moved in quicker than expected? Did I really want to stay in Viveiro for the best part of another week knowing I was no nearer getting a repair done?

As Friday 21st dawned, I had made up my mind to go for it. The added disappointment was missing out on the anchorage at Cedeira. But, it couldn’t be helped.

3 comments to Electrical gremlins..again..

  • Gary

    Getting anything repaired in Spain is a lottery,dodgy standards of workmanship,manana attitude,machismo preventing anyone just admitting straight up they haven’t got a clue so you can go elsewhere.At least you’re in Basque country and Coruna will have some real experts,it’s just finding them.And don’t forget,the language is easy-you just put an “O” at the end of every English word and say it very loudly.

  • Stuart

    Have you considered solar panels and a wind generator? You can’t beat plan (b) and even plan (c) if plan (a) goes wrong. A resident electrician on the boat is probably too much though.

    • Good point and I have indeed considered both Stuart – at great length and each year, for many a year now. The investment just doesn’t seem to be worth it – until very recently when solar panels have at last started to come down in price and gone up in performance and reliability. The issue then remains how to mount them so that they don’t suffer too much from shadows e.g. from the boom or mast. A stainless steel arch – which is ugly and also catches the wind – costs around £5k in the UK – ouch! I am in fact going to investigate both – again – as I get further away from the UK/France. I expect labour rates to start to drop significantly from Portugal onwards.

      Russ 🙂

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