Getting better on Sava

Sava at anchor in St. Kitts

A couple weeks ago we posted about the issues on Sava. Overheating engine, freezer not working, Domino, battery challenges, and more.  And that was before we hit our lowest point yet with the electric head!

Well, we have good news: things are looking up right now.

The Engine

When we were in Tortola we hired a diesel mechanic, Wilbert, from Parts and Power. Wilbert and I worked for three days to diagnose and fix the overheating problems. We systematically went through the whole raw water coolant system and discovered that the pipe that fed water through the transmission was almost completely clogged. Three days of hard work later we cleaned it up and replumbed the system to prevent the clogging in the future.

The Freezer and Batteries

Our freezer has been an issue: sometimes working, sometimes not. We had this feeling that our batteries were the real issue, so when we were in Tortola we asked the people at Cay Electronics who were installing our AIS system to look at the batteries. One of them was shot. Another was borderline. So a trip to town to buy two heavy new ones. And they helped install which was a job that I didn’t have tools to do.

The batteries were so heavy, only one could be moved at a time

Replacing the batteries helped the boat power significantly. Although it positively impacted the other electronics on board, it actually didn’t help the freezer. The issue with the freezer, which Melinda figured out, was the 12 volt power cable. We hard connected it to the boat power and voila, working freezer.

Hardwiring the freezer power cable
Freezer power


On of the most important things getting better on Sava is Domino. She was not doing well, acting out quite a bit. We think this was a passing phase, probably having to do with a lot of days of bouncy upwind sailing. She is much happier now and behaving better, thankfully!

Sunday night upon arrival to Antigua, after chowing down on dinner, Domino quickly ran up on the deck to check out her new surroundings and enjoy the sunset.

Domino the cat
Domino on deck

The toilet (or head)

In our prior post we mentioned that one of the heads was working but loosely attached, and our electric head was working. In the Virgin islands we had guests on board and of course, the electric head stopped working. It had not been working well, but we attributed it to not having strong enough batteries, but now it wasn’t flushing at all. We spent a full morning taking the entire head apart. It turned out to be quite clogged up, probably from well before we bought the boat. It was a pretty shitty job, but we got through it and now the electric head works perfectly.

Maho Bay
Smiling while fixing a toilet!

Water maker

This item always falls low on the priority list as we have big tanks and fill up with water at marinas and gas docks every 3 weeks or so. Right now it’s still not working, but we are reaching out to someone here in Antigua who may be able to help.

So yes, things break a lot on a boat, but they do get fixed, and then we move on to other broken things. From what we’ve been told by more experienced cruisers, the first year is the worst, but it really never ends. At least we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is getting better on Sava.

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