Breakdowns


Home Up About Us Log & Photos Art Gallery

 

Initial Purchase
Electrical
Breakdowns
Learning points

Like all cruisers, we have had our share of mechanical problems on board. The main problem areas are outlined below. Apart from this, like any boat she needs a lot of regular maintenance.

Water maker

By far the most troublesome unit on board has been the water maker. Having said that, we have never been without water. Sometimes we were making water less efficiently than it should be. Sometimes we were making water whilst salt water was leaking into the bilge, and sometimes the salinity of the product water was a bit higher than it should be. In all cases we could continue to run the water maker and enjoy good quality drinking water without having to jerry jug water from the shore.

Our water maker is made by Spectra. Its major claim to fame is it's efficiency. It makes 55 liters per hour and uses only 16 A of electrical power. Every time something failed, we had to get new parts from the States. Even when the failure was covered by warrantee, we would still have to pay for the courier charges. This has been expensive. Invariably the new parts that arrived were different from the old ones. They had been re-designed such that the same type of failure wouldn't occur again. There are two ways of looking at this. On the one hand, it is good that Spectra is developing their product, and making it more reliable. On the other hand we feel a bit like guinea pigs. The product should have been tested more extensively before putting it on the market. For the last year, the water maker has been running trouble free (touch wood).

Alternators

Few alternators are built to be running at maximum output for long periods of time. Bosch and Balmar are two of the good ones. Despite this, we burnt out our Bosch alternator completely, and the diodes on the Balmar failed.

Alternator failure is a common problem on board sailboats. These alternators are built to generate a lot of power such that the batteries can be recharged in a short period of time. But they still have to fit in the small space that the engine manufacturer has allocated for the alternator. Consequently they run very hot and sometime too hot.

Cable steering

In the Canaries, the steering cable ran off the quadrant. This was partly due to the fact that the cable was too slack, and partly because one of the pulleys in the system wasn't aligned properly. Cable tension is a trade-off. If it is too tight, the steering system feels heavy, and there is more wear then there should be. If it is too slack, there is a risk that the cable runs off the quadrant. The misalignment of the pulley was clearly a manufacturing error. The new HR 43 uses rod steering. I think this is an improvement.

Gas detectors

The two flammable gas detectors that were installed underneath the stove (brand name PILOT), failed shortly after delivery. One sensor started giving false alarms, the other one failed to detect gas. 

The carbon monoxide (CO) detector in the aft cabin started giving false alarms as well.

It would appear that many gas detectors are not sufficiently robust for the marine environment. Possibly they are triggered by other gasses causing false alarms. To be fair to Hallberg Rassy, they did not offer a flammable gas detector as an optional extra. I purchased it from a different source and asked them to install it. 

UV protective strip on the genoa

Our sails are made by Elvstöm, and are generally of very good quality. The UV protective strip they put on the genoa however was made of thin nylon. It lasted exactly one year in the tropics. We replaced it with Sunbrella. This is expected to last 6 years.