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Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Gadget Boat

Crystal Blues has often been called the gadget boat.  Neil likes to collect unusual & useful objects - a digital infra-red temperature sensor, a solder sucker, an AIS system and an onboard PC network seem like normal things for him to have around.

Last year our dear friends Gordon and Miriam Zittel (SV Anwagomi) delivered a lime juicer "specially modified" to suit Crystal Blues - complete with its own circuit board and wires.  Are we really that wired ?  Guess so ... the tiny gadget we used most recently had been buried in the camera box for years, but was worth its weight in gold when we had problems inside our mast.  We really needed an endoscope ....

Endoscopes R Us

While re-building our mast we managed to get a halyard really neatly wrapped around the radar cable inside the mast.  To make matters worse, that same halyard also managed to jam itself under a conduit fastener (so we thought) further down inside the rig.  So now we couldn't move it anywhere, and we were not going to cut that radar cable - or the halyard.  We needed to see what was going on.


Out came two flat scrubbing brushes, a long plastic pole, one 9 volt battery, one fluorescent work light and one tiny radio transmitting mini pin-hole video camera.  Gaffer taped together, they slid gently into the mast - the brushes ensured smooth travel over pop rivets, bolts and miscellaneous obstructions inside the mast. Just like an endoscope, but up the mast instead of up the - well you get the idea..

It worked perfectly - with the wireless receiver sitting just outside the mast base we viewed the problem on another Sony camera screen - we could see the halyard wedged in between 2 conduits!  Knowledge is power, and it only took another few minutes then to solve the problem.  In the image at right  you can see Neil's finger pointing to the tiny camera, taped to the end of the blue plastic pole.

We then enlisted a few more hands to turn over the mast again, conduits facing upwards, and re-installed all the halyards (again), this time without any jams.  We lost a days work, but saved a heap of cash - that little gadget finally paid for itself.