A week of electrical repairs

Ever since we bought Kokomo we keep finding new things that need attention. One big topic that has been scaring us were the electrics. Over the years the previous owners seemed to have added things without any real strategy and the cables in some cases look more like spaghetti than anything done with much sense.

so this week we are lucky to have two friends visit us that could not be more qualified to bring clarity into this mess. Both of them are airline technicians by trade, Kai being an all-round magician and Falk specializing in electrics.

One of the things that quickly became clear to me was something that we all know, but not always follow: a quick fix may be quick but will surely become a major issue sooner or later and should be done right form the beginning! we discovered many (and I mean MANY!) cables that had been badly affected by the salt air and water as they had been installed as one would do in a house . The lack of good contacts and connectors caused entire cables to suck humidity many meters inside the cables, where one could not see any damage from outside, but the cable were so eroded that in some cases the electricity could not even flow anymore.

Amazingly both Kai and Falk had a way of quickly pinpointing the critical areas and in a matter of a few days repaired many of the things that had been annoying us for months. An example would be the engine that sometimes started and sometimes did not (without any obvious reason). After investigation one of the cables between the engine and the panel at the helm was corroded inside and needed to be replaced. Sure enough, after that everything was like new!

These days were a good training for me to learn how to search and identify problem areas and hopefully will help us in the future when we are at sea and do not have smart friends around anymore.

For the ones of you that are going through similar experiences, i can only recommend to take some extra time rather than rushing things, such as:

a properly applied shrink wire

properly applied shrink wire

solder each cable connection possible. this is the only way to stop humidity entering the cable.

use heat shrink wire as this will waterproof the connections. if you have not used shrink wire, it is like a wonder tool. it is a rubber hose that you put over cable connections, heat it with a lighter and ‘presto’. a waterproof connection safe for marine use.

don’t use electrical tape hoping that it will last, it will not!

clearly mark as many cables as possible, even though they may seem obvious right now. later you may not remember or someone else needs to work on them.

for many of you these may seem obvious, but over and over again, shortcuts seem so much easier and are tempting to apply… try to resist the temptation!


A country without Marinas

believe it or not, there is not a single Marina in the Maldives! while there are some harbors in local islands and the capital island of Male, in most cases each island is on their own. this means that KOKOMO has her home in our lagoon. in most cases the lagoon is nice and it is a picturesque sight, in this case from the birds-eye view


At times KOKOMO wants some company and comes to the jetty to collect some guests wishing to go sailing. so it is not uncommon that she comes across other boats (mostly the local dhoni boats) or perhaps one of the seaplanes that comes to our island several times each day.

Rush hour

Rush hour

but there are the days when things are not quite as calm and we try much miss the protection one enjoys in a Marina. while there are no tropical storms or hurricanes in the Maldives, we do get rough weather at times during the monsoon season. in and example of today, we were greeted with a big storm, lots of rain and winds up to 50 knots. in these cases even the calmed lagoon becomes a battlefield and this is when I wonder whether our mooring will be enough. we made sure to have plenty of weight, using two mooring blocks of about 1 ton, 30 meters of very heavy chain, but one never knows what their limits are. in days like these we added another two anchors as backup, but seeing the catamaran rising up on one wave and then crashing down right after does not make us feel very comfortable at all and we just have to trust that all will be well.

bring it on!    the moment before the storm.

bring it on! KOKOMO just before the storm.