With our friends Bill and Grace from New York staying on board Hideaway with us for a week, we thought it was only fair to slow down the sailing a bit and finally see some of Charleston before rushing off to the next port.
And this was what I saw with them:
While Bill, Grace, and I toured Charleston, Ryan stayed on board Hideaway at Pierside Boatworks on the Cooper River to oversee the installation of our new water heater, to discuss with a Raymarine technician what was going wrong with our auto-helm, and to figure out why our brand new electrics were shorting out on us.
So, while our guests and I were out exploring and learning that Charleston was once a walled city to protect itself from Spanish attack, Ryan learned that 1) there was nothing wrong with our auto-helm (we were just over-powered and should reduce our sails in gusty winds), and 2) our electrician back in New York, though a nice guy, was certifiably incompetent.
It turned out that all of our electrical problems led back to our Port Washington electrician — let’s call him Tony — who ran wiring for all our new boat gadgets (WiFi booster, chart plotter, anemometer, and lights) from the top of our mast down to our bilge and — rather than run wires to a connector box that was out of the water in a high and dry place, as common sense would have — he connected all our wires, unsealed, to a box that sat in our bilge…immersed in water. Now, I’m no electrician, but even I know water and electricity do not mix.
And, unfortunately, since Tony cut the wires short at the bilge, there was no way to extend the wires out of the bilge without replacing all the original wiring (which would require removing the mast again), and therefore Ryan needed to find a way to lift the wires out of the water and at least attempt to keep them dry in order to prevent more shorts and blown fuses.
The result of all this learning was 1) a makeshift solution using a piece of plastic (intended to be the cats’ food mat) to lift and hold our wires out of the depths of our bilge, and 2) a new-found determination to learn to do our own electrical wiring.
It turns out that paying someone to do a job doesn’t guarantee at all that they know what they’re doing.
So, because of all this, Ryan’s day in Charleston looked like this: