This is theoretically our last full weekend in Melbourne, the plan being to head down to Vero on the 15th and Lake Worth the next weekend. The 15th, by the way, will mark the beginning of our 13th month living aboard Lark. But we have so much left to do here.
The main projects that have gotten attention during our time here relate to Lark’s steering. The first issue was that the box holding the mechanism all together had begun to fall apart. Dad and I reinforced it with 3” aluminum angle stock and it is now stronger than it probably ever has been. The next issue was that when some previous owner made modifications to the system, probably in installing the autopilot, they cut a hole in the cockpit seat about 15” by 15” and left the entire inner perimeter unsealed. So for who knows how many years there has been 60” or so of exposed balsa core. Not now. I’ve filled those edges with epoxy so they are finally watertight. The final project in the steering system is to replace the corroded wire quadrant cables. I took the old ones off Saturday and got the the new ones crimped on the chain that the helm drives.
Another big item has been tweaking the prop. Old Perky has never been able to get up to full RPMs and thus not to full power. We were maxing out at 2100 rpm no matter how much throttle we pulled. I’d long suspected that he was over-propped, but wasn’t sure of the exact dimensions of the prop. We got a diver to pull the prop for us and sure enough, it was a 17x9 – too big and with too much pitch. So we’re having prop the converted to 15x8. This should allows us to get the engine up to 3600 rpm and cruise at around 3000.
The jobs we had planned to finish in Melbourne but have yet even to begin are many. Off the top of my head, we still need to fix nav light wiring, autopilot wiring, command mic wiring, and replace bilge pump hoses . Maybe we’ll stay another week or so to deal with those while we still have a car. Or maybe we’ll head out and finish them up like real cruisers would, with uber, buses, and walking around.