Building a new skill set

And a new tool box

genset

See, Pesto – as many a yacht – has a lot of systems. There’s a system to heat the water for us to have nice showers, there’s a system to keep our food fresh (aka: a fridge and a freezer), there’s a system to allow me to do navigation, and on the list goes – you get the picture.

Each of these systems is composed of a number of different parts – mechanical and/or electronic. And they all live in an environment which moves all the time, is full with moisture, and often times they are crammed within some tiny space.  And then … well, they break. And when that happens, the system they belong to stops to perform its purpose.

Some of these systems fall within the “discretionary” group (hot water, perhaps?), while others are truly ‘‘mission-critical” (the engine, for instance. Or even more so, the steering system). This means that I MUST have the ability to ideally fix the stuff as they break, or at the very least identify what the problem is, and know pretty well the kind of external service and parts are required to get the job done.

One key priority for me these weeks is to start building the skills, the tool kit, and the spares inventory to be able to tackle these issues as they spawn. And Pesto is collaborating – there were a few systems malfunctioning, and also some maintenance items to be made.

Luckily, I’ve had the help of great people who have been giving me advice, suggestions of things to buy, and helped me fix stuff.

I confess it has been an experience at the same time exciting and humbling – coming from a situation where I was supposed and expected to have all the answers, to a new one where I have a bunch of questions.

So, gradually, I have been replacing Powerpoint and Excell with Wrenches and Screwdrivers, and Billings and CR-Input with Volts and Torque.

And this is one of the aspects that I find so attractive on this journey – the opportunity, driven by a strong need, to start anew.

No keyboard and no mouse huh? So ... how do i do "copy-paste" then ??? (1)
No keyboard and no mouse huh? So … how do i do “copy-paste” then ??? (1)
Can't find that network cable ... is this thing wireless? (2)
Can’t find that network cable … is this thing wireless? (2)
Oh - finally something electronic! How can i read my emails in it? (3)
Oh – finally something electronic! How can i read my emails in it? (3)
Behold the Impeller. It's probably meant to massage the hands after a tough day fixing stuff (4)
Behold the Impeller. It’s probably meant to massage the hands after a tough day fixing stuff (4)
Seriously ?!? Can i replace a light bulb instead? (5)
Seriously ?!? Can i replace a light bulb instead? (5)

Disclaimer: I tried to add some humor in the pictures’ captions above. From top to bottom, a serious description of each element shown:

(1) a strap wrench: used to turn or twist odd-shaped objects. Once tightened, that canvas strap adheres strongly to the object, and the orange lever is used to apply torque and make the object rotate. Today, it was used to extract oil filters from Pesto’s main engine and generator.

(2) a channel-lock plier, it can be adjusted to objects of different sizes. I was advised to buy a large one, to be able to apply generous torque when necessary. Hasn’t been put to use on Pesto yet.

(3) the multimeter, measures volts and amperes in anything electrical. In a boat, it is very useful in tracking down the causes of problems on electrical systems. It has been used twice this week – both times successfully.

(4) the impeller is the rotating element which goes inside a case in an engine, thus forming a pump. It is a crucial component of the cooling system of the engine.

(5) this is Pesto’s electrical panel seen from the back. I won’t pretend i know what each of these cables are or do, but i already know the most important ones. And was even able to troubleshoot a malfunctioning breaker yesterday night!

Now, of all tools onboard Pesto, none has given me as much gratification as this one:

Life is (even) better with booze
Life is (even) better with booze

Have a good night 🙂