Monday, May 23, 2011

A great way to start the day

It is one of those mornings - I think you know the kind. It is grey, but the clouds are breaking up. The smell of the sea is fresh and there is but a gentle stirring of the air. There is the promise of a beautiful day coming.

You were thinking that it's a perfect morning to make a trip to the masthead to change out the anchor/bow light, weren't you? (If you live on a boat, this is the way you think, unfortunately.)

I'll spare you the pictures from up there (it was breathtaking, as usual) - you've seen enough. But changing out a light fixture while you are 65 feet in the air... now that is something to think about. First order of business: Don't you dare drop anything. Not a tool, not a screw. I wonder if that is why my hands were shaking so much as I did the work... I do know that I think every move thru before I make it, and I move deliberately, very deliberately.

These are the tools I took with me on the trip. Thankfully, all of them came down with me - none of them took the fast way down.

Earlier, while I was up the mast to reinstall the wind sensor, I took a look at the light fixture because only one of the two bulbs (LED's, actually) had been working.  In fact I spent quite a bit of time fooling around with the bulb and socket, trying to get a connection that was solid.  No luck. - there was significant corrosion.  So I bought a new fixture, and this morning was the day to install it.

Old fixture - high water mark
One of the things I had noted was that there was a high-water mark in the light fixture (see it?). The manufacturer did not provide for drainage of rainwater, which surely as the sun rises will find its way into the fixture.

New fixture - drainage added
So, in an attempt to head off a future occurrence of this same problem, I drilled drain holes in the fixture - one in the track that holds the lens, and two in the base on either side of a reinforcing web. I used a 3/32" drill, it's 65 feet in the air, and we're in the Pacific Northwest - I don't think I have to worry much about insects using the holes as nesting spots.

So, obviously I made it down safely, the light fixture is working as it should, and I am enjoying a beer while I tell you all about it.

And that promise is fulfilled - it's a beautiful day!

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