Remove Wheel

We have a Lewmar folding wheel – this is a special edition manufactured for Dufour of the Lewmar 40inch folding wheel. This is great invention for a smaller yacht like Molia – it means we can get around the helm easily when moored.

Removing the wheel is not that easy when it has been in place for several years. However, the procedure described in this YouTube video works well.

  • Remove the centre cover and remove the nut and washer from the spindle.
  • Remove the autopilot clamps from the wheel spokes.
  • Put the nut back on the spindle (without the washer) so it is sticking out just past the threads.
  • Exert some even pressure behind the wheel with your arms and leg.
  • Hit the nut a few sharp taps with a hammer, and the wheel should pop out against the nut.
  • Now remove the nut again and take the wheel off.

This worked on Molia!

Service Autopilot

We have a Raymarine ST4000+ autopilot on Molia. This was not working reliably last season.

To get to the autopilot, we first had to remove the wheel. Once the wheel is off, the autopilot wheel drive unit unplugs.

The instructions say to replace the drive belt if is damaged.

Having removed the support plate from over the clutch rollers (2 screws), we saw that our belt had a loose string, and there was lots of fluff in the drive – we have ordered a new belt!

Work in progress…

Deck Shower Covers

These are looking old and dirty, and one of the covers has perished and no longer attaches. We were unable to clean the plastic surrounds, so a complete replacement is necessary.

We have found replacements for these covers, and they are on order.

Work in progress…

Replace Waste Pipes

Our survey highlighted the rusty and damaged state of the sanitary hoses on Molia. We will replace these all as part of our winter maintenance.

Also, it has not been possible to move the seacock for the waste holding tank discharge this season, it is probable that this will have to be replaced.

The toilet discharge sanitary hose and seacock are on the right in the photos above. Having removed the old hose we were able to ease the seacock considerably, and lubricate it. The replacement hose is 38mm sanitary hose (this length 2090mm). The jubilee clips are new 30-50mm diameter A4 stainless.

We cut the old hoses (with a saw) and removed the holding tank to get to the connections. These were completely seized on; so we had to cut through the hose carefully with a wire cutter (the hoses have a spiral wire reinforcement) and lever them off slowly with a large screwdriver. This was hard work, and quite slow, but we managed to get all the old hose detached eventually.

The seacock for the waste holding tank discharge proved to be completely stuck. We are now replacing this as well.

Work is still in progress…

LED Navigation Lights

We noticed in Penarth that our starboard navigation light was no longer working – luckily the following day’s sail was in the daylight back to Portishead.

We have a spare white (incandescent) bulb, but I want the navigation lights to use LEDs as these should last longer and use less power.

Our lamps use the BAY15D lamp base which are 15mm diameter, with double contacts and offset bayonet pins.

But what power to order? The COLREGS (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972) has a table showing the minimum visibility range for your navigation lights, depending on boat length. The RYA has a useful summary table on its Lights, Shapes and Sound Signals page. So we can calculate that we need a minimum of 1 mile visibility for Molia which is just a little over 10m long. Also, special advice for coloured LED lamps is:

‘Do not place cool white LED lamps behind coloured lenses as they do not produce the correct colours for navigation purposes.’

So we ordered specifically red, green and (cool) white LEDs to replace our 3 deck-level navigation light bulbs (port, starboard and stern). Product: BAY15D 24 SMD 2835 High Output Compact LED Navigation Light Bulb (+3 miles visibility).

Supplier: Boatlamps.co.uk have a really helpful website that shows you what LEDs are direct replacements for your old incandescent bulbs. The site includes full descriptions and dimensions so you can reliably confirm that your new LEDs are the correct size.

These pictures show the new LED fitted on the starboard side. We cleaned the contacts and also added the Contralube 770 product to the contacts. This helps prevent corrosion and friction (vibration) damage of the contacts, so they should be more reliable in the long term.

We also took the opportunity to clean the rubber gaskets in our light enclosures, and lubricated them with some Vaseline to help keep them from hardening and cracking.