In case you all think I am currently having a great life with nothing to do, let me tell you about last Thursday & Friday. As you know the inverter (the brain on the boat that manages the electricity) failed on the previous Friday.
I spent the first few days of the week researching how to get it fixed or replaced. To try and explain for the non- boating readers- the broken inverter is a big problem and very expensive repair- this could be a show stopper. The boat cannot function without this unit- it could stop the Gap Year starting on 25th March.
On top of this as its broken there is no electricity on the boat which means no heat, if we get a night’s hard frost the boat could suffer frost damage. Again this would stop the trip. So this is a problem that has to be sorted immediately.
I eventually found Joe Kirwan an engineer based in Terryglass Co Tipperary, the Irish agent for the unit who knew what he was talking about. When I rang him, he was away working on the continent but told me how to take the inverter out, but warning me it could take up to 10 days to get parts. He was really anxious when he heard my all too soon departure date of 25th March. As time was tight I agreed I would go down to the boat on Thursday take the old unit out and then drive with the unit to Portumna to meet him (he was back in Ireland that day). The unit is in the engine bay and you would need to be a contortionist to get at it. (Just as well I am small) I finally got it out and into the car. On arrival in Portumna Joe took one look at the unit and said it was obsolete. I told him about my Gap Year plans and the blog. He had lived on the continent for a number of years, working as a marine engineer on hire boat fleets or hotel barges. Now he had settled back in Ireland got married and had three children. He had cruised the entire route that I hope to travel and said it was a great plan. He said he would take a look at the inverter overnight and see what he could do. I drove back to the boat in Tarmonbarry and stayed on board that night.
He rang me at 7 am next morning, he said that he could try to repair the inverter with second hand parts (But no guarantees) or sell me a new replacement unit at very keen price.
It was a lot of money so I asked him to let me think about it. Weighing it up, it was not worth the risk of using the repaired unit, so two hours later I rang Joe back and he was surprised that I was opting for the new unit and had gone ahead and repaired the old one, as time was so tight. I then managed to get him to take the old unit as a trade in, which saved a bit of money. He said I drove a very hard bargain, but in truth I think he felt sorry for me. But again, in Joe I have met someone who really helped me on my Gap Year journey.
On Friday evening I drove back (again) to Portumna to meet him collected the new unit and got instructions on how to fit it. I then had to turn around and drive back to Dublin. All this travelling across country in Nuala’s car, which is really a town car, neither I nor the car knows what hit it. I have driven over 1,000 miles in it this week (Nuala normally does about 4,000 per year) and both days, Thursday and Friday started at 6 am and finished at 9.00 pm. On top of this I broke my camera on Friday (so some of these photos had to be taken on my IPhone). More money going out the door. Nuala’s answer to all this is if we keep the toilet seats in the house and boat down, the money will stop flowing out!! (Good Feng Shui or something like that!!)
P.S. For all you who are asking I did get the letter from the Dutch Builder that is vital for getting the boat registered – but we are not there yet.