Boat Repairs in San Diego

We arrived in San Diego a couple of days earlier than planned in order to get some repairs done for the issues I described recently. Boomer and his crew of two helpers showed up after receiving the necessary parts and went to work on fixing the leak on the new autopilot steering pump, installing a replacement for old, leaking steering pump, and replacing the coupling for the bow thruster. It was actually a bit scary to see Boomer disappear deep in the forward bilge to get at the thuster coupling. There is no way I would have been able to get in there, much less get out. After a long, hot day’s worth of work, we had a working bow thruster and two brand new autopilot steering pumps. The next day we did a sea trial around the harbor to make sure that all was well. Everything was good, so we were ready to go.

The new autopilot steering pumps mounted in the Lazarette.

We also had an issue with the stabilizers, which I THOUGHT we had fixed on the way down to San Diego. Briefly, the stabilizers on our boat are a pair of fins mounted on the hull of our boat. They are moved through a complex electical and hydraulic control system to counteract the rolling motion induced by waves. The stabilizer circuit breaker mysteriously started tripping, shutting off the control circuitry, and therefore, the use of the stabilizers. We actually discovered this on our run from Marina Del Rey to Alamitos Bay and spent a couple of hours underway without the stabilizers working. Even though the conditions were mild, we realized that we’d really rather have them working. After consultation with fellow owners on the Nordhavn Owners Group and Ernie Romeo, it appeared that the circuit breaker was undersized for the new power supply that was installed this summer. So, I changed the breaker, and everything worked just fine on the remaining legs down to San Diego. Of course, there was the nagging question of why the breaker had not tripped before….

As Gwen mentioned, we prepared to depart San Diego for Ensenada this morning, only to find that the breaker started tripping AGAIN. We turned around after getting less than 100 yards from the dock and tried to figure out what was wrong. It was clear that the circuit was not overloaded – the 20 Amp breaker was tripping with a measured 8.5 Amps of load. Now thoroughly confused, I decided to call Boomer – actually expecting to leave him a message. I just happened to catch him on the way in to work, and he came right over to the boat. He started troubleshooting and I was helping him recreate the problem, when suddenly, the stabilizers were not working at all – there was no hydraulic pressure. Boomer discovered the culprit, which was a failed main relay for the hydraulic system. This relay allows the hydraulic system to become pressurized and move the stabilizer fins. In a stroke of good luck, Boomer happened to have a spare relay at the shop. Replacing that and a fuse that blew when the relay failed finally fixed the stabilizer problem once and for all (I hope).

The failed relay at left and the fuse at right.

So, one more night in San Diego and we hope to rejoin the CUBAR group down in Ensenada tomorrow (October 31).

3 thoughts on “Boat Repairs in San Diego”

  1. Sorry to hear about the myriad problems you’ve encountered in the last few weeks, but I’m glad you’re underway and have entered Mexican waters. Hope the trip down Baja goes smoothly.

    I promised to follow up with my experience using Google Fi in Puerto Vallarta, so here it goes.

    The short version is that it works great and I would recommend it.

    The long version: Setup is a bit of a pain for a number of reasons. You need to get a Fi SIM card. Fortunately, I picked up two in Seattle before flying to PV, so I have one for you as well. I’ll leave it with a friend in PV and will send you pickup instructions in email later.

    Since you’ll be activating your card from Mexico, you’ll need to be connected to wifi to do the initial setup. One thing to note, if you already have a Google Voice number linked to your Google account, you’ll either have to port that to Fi or use a different Google account and get a new number assigned to Fi. I opted for the second option since I did not want to move my Google Voice number (for a myriad of reasons I’m happy to discuss offline) and it is a one-time, irreversible move.

    Once you do the initial setup, it takes about 15 minutes for everything to become active.

    Using Fi is no different than using cellular data from any other carrier after the setup although there is a nice Google Fi app that allows you to monitor various things.

    The cost is reasonable and I was able to get 4G speeds pretty reliably in PV. Calls to the US worked fine and were free.

    However, I decided to stop using Fi after I used 1 GB of data and switch back to my Mexican SIM card mainly because of cost. For 300 pesos, I got 4GB of high-speed data, free calls to the US, unlimited Whatsapp and Messenger data, and some other useless things for 30 days. A much better deal even than Fi (and certainly better than T-mobile).

    Happy to answer any questions. 😊


      1. Awesome!! Glad Google Fi is working for you. I have found Telcel to be the best option in PV. I tried Movistar and had a poor experience.

        Safe travels and see you in December!!


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