Join Date: May 2002
Thanked 17 Times in 16 Posts
Rep Power: 15
It only took 14 years to fix...
When I bought my Oday 23, the boat was on the hard for the season with the mast down. I didn't notice until the survey that the connector plugs on the deck and at the mast for the steaming light were broken.
I figured I'd have time to fix it during my first season. Well, due to a host of things, I never got around to it. That was in the summer of 2000. Over the years, I made several efforts to get the steaming light functional. I tried several times to repair the existing plugs (one on the deck right near the mast step, one on the wiring that exited near the bottom of the mast). That didn't work. One year, I had the yard lay out my mast so I could work on it prior to launch. I brought a 12v battery and spent a few hours trying to figure out where the problem was; was it the plugs themselves? the wiring? the light? As far as I could tell, it was either the plugs or the light or both (clearly, I didn't do a very good job of troubleshooting). I bought and installed new plugs, but that fix the problem, so I knew that my last real chance to fix this was to replace the steaming light itself. However, I ran out of time again, so again the mast went up and I launched with the problem unsolved.
No big deal as I rarely sail in any conditions where the light was necessary. And I lived with the guilt of not having a steaming light during those few times when I should have had it lit (NB: my other running lights work fine).
While at the Defender Spring Sale last year, I saw they had steaming lights on sale, and I bought one, thinking: "this is definitely the year that I get this bad boy working". Except, not. I spent a lot of time that spring installing a new chartplotter/depthsounder and VHF, leaving not enough time to work on the steaming light.
This spring, the stars aligned: my mast was fortuitously stored where it was easy to work on, and I was able to rather quickly and easily install the light I had purchased the year before. So now the thing will work, right? Not so fast. The "new" plugs that I had installed a few years before had become "uninstalled" over time as the exposed wiring continued to deteriorate. I have very limited free time and I like to use my "boat time" to actually sail rather than do projects, so I was thinking that once again, this may slide to next year.
But I just happened to be at a Lowe's and decided to at least buy the parts I would need to do the job. So I bought new wire, connectors and shrink tubing, threw them in my boat bag, and hoped that I would find some time.
The weather was gorgeous last evening and my wife was working, so I thought I would go to the boat after work. When I got there, I decided it was really too windy to go sailing (gust of about 20 knots), so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to give it one more try to fix the steaming light.
I hook everything up, go to the cabin and flip the switch, then walk around to the front of the mast and cautiously look up to see if the light is lit....
Hooray! It works! Fourteen years later, I have a working steaming light!
I can't decide if I'm proud, ashamed or both...