Monday, February 18, 2019

2017 & 2018: 11 Bless Those Batteries

Solar Panel Regulator, New House Batteries and New Smart Regulator for Alternator.

This was the beginning of a long drawn out and rather expensive saga over a period of nine months.  Sopromar Boatyard in Portugal were asked if they could come up with some charging solution for my three sets of batteries while I was away back home – a single 12 volt starting battery, four 6 volt house batteries and 2 bow thruster batteries.  In the numerous exchange of emails over several months the result was that there wasn’t a solution.  Meanwhile the regulator for the solar panels had malfunctioned, needed replacing and that subsequently the four house batteries had gone flat and needed to be replaced, which they duly did ie solar regulator and batteries.  The old batteries were almost 10 years old – a ‘Trojan’ performance, so probably time for new ones.

At the same time I also had the alternator checked out and we identified that we needed a new regulator for it, which I purchased separately and brought back over with me when I returned to the boat in mid Aug17.  Sopromar fitted the new regulator, tested it and that was that.  Or so we thought.

The bow thruster batteries are AGM and so had held up fairly well and the techo had wired them up somehow so that they received a trickle charge of some sort from the solar panels and didn’t flatten.  AGM batteries can fairly happily sit for up to around six months without any charging and not suffer I’m reliably informed.  

Anyway, to cut a long story short the new regulator was not wired correctly and so the batteries steadily drained once we got underway, except for some charge from the solar panels (which only charge the house batteries and starter battery).  The bow thruster battery charging only occurs when running the motor/alternator.  To add to this mix, we had a generator that didn’t work.

Our batteries were recharged on shore power whilst ever we were in marinas at Lagos, Madeira, Canary Islands and then Cape Verde Islands.  In between were relatively short trips so I wasn’t too concerned as the solar panels did their thing outstandingly and I rarely used the bow thruster.  It was on the 16 day Atlantic crossing that I became fully aware of the charging problem as the starter battery voltage in particular dropped significantly, although I was always able to start the engine when I had to.  

On arrival in Antigua (where we anchored) I had an electrician look at the charging system and he thought it was all okey, particularly when his meter showed 12.6 volts (not the 13 – 14 volts necessary) and he thought the regulator was doing what it should.  He also condemned the house batteries as needing replacement even though they were less than 12 months old.  

No point arguing, so we pushed onto Sint Maarten, initially on anchor but later on shore power at FKG Rigging, where I was able to charge the batteries using shore power.  I also had the house batteries charged and tested at Budget Marine where they were announced as being in good condition.




Next stop was Turks Caicos (shore power in the marina) where another electrician, a friendly French Canadian, made a valiant effort to identify the problem of a very low charge and suggested that the regulator was faulty, only achieving ‘float’ voltage instead of starting with ‘bulk’ and moving through ‘absorption’ and then onto ‘float’.  He also had access to the regulator manual and spoke to the manufacturers but thought it was wired correctly.

We entered the US at West Palm Beach, Florida and then proceeded north along the Intracoastal Waterway anchoring most nights - happily for as long as we had sunny weather.  Unfortunately, further problems were experienced when we had a succession of overcast days and the batteries received very little solar power.   We then experienced some difficulty when anchoring off New Smyrna Beach using the electric anchor winch.  The starter battery was quite sick by now so, with Daytona in our sights, we kept the engine running all night, pulled the anchor up by hand the next morning (thankfully it was clean sand), and made for Daytona Beach.

We berthed in Halifax Harbour Marina (great people and very friendly fellow boaties).  I tried to charge the starter battery using shore power but it would not hold a decent  charge so I had to purchase a new one.  I also consulted with a trusted electrician who had done some work on the boat about 9 years previously after the mast had been hit by lightning.  He is semi-retired now and advised that I should do it myself – every good captain should know how to set up a regulator he said - so read the manual at least three times – and then do what you need to.   I followed his sound advice and found that the regulator was wrongly wired, wired it correctly myself, and now all batteries are charging pretty efficiently, although I sometimes wonder if the starter battery should not be getting a bit more charge.

In summary, three electricians couldn’t get it right, but the fourth electrician gave me best support of all – do it yourself.  Lesson learned, big time.




Sunday, February 17, 2019

2017 & 2018: 10 Oh NO! Not the Generator...

Generator Not Starting and Fuel Line Fitting in Canary Islands.  In Portugal the diesel generator had been sitting for 9 months and wouldn’t start for reasons I could not understand, so I had a mechanic look at it – several as it turned out.  They replaced the gasket for the cover over the valves, checked valve clearances, adjusted them and eventually they started it and we ran it several times.  Great.  They did not think the injectors needed attention as ‘it runs so well’.  Anyway, off we went and it NEVER started again.  

When in the Canary Islands I discovered, while trying to start the generator, that a bleed valve over the fuel line was not seating properly as the thread would not allow full tightening.  Ah ha I thought, this must be the problem – allowing air into the fuel lines – a definite no no.  Fortunately, a visit to one of the marina chandleries proved fruitful and the very helpful gentleman there found a suitable fitting somewhere out the back of the shop which matched my fitting.   It cost next to nothing too and I was so grateful.  Even so, the generator would still not start.

I had two other mechanics check the generator over for me – in Antigua and then Sint Maarten – and they could not start it.  We didn't have time to wait in the Turks Caicos (the weather was a bit iffy) or I would have had a mechanic go over it there too.  The motor turns over fine but just won’t start.  

The consequences of course made themselves clear as we moved along the Atlantic ICW (US coast) where we anchored out rather than hooking up to electrics at marinas.  See comments on batteries.  The plan is to have our very sad generator checked out again when I'm back in the USA.  Another job for next year...

Friday, February 15, 2019

2017 & 2018: 9 The Benefits of a Shakedown Cruise

Mast Step Repair.  A piece of the aluminium casting at the back of the mast step came away when I was adjusting the mainsail not long after we had launched and, fortunately, were just doing a quick "shakedown" cruise along the Portuguese coast to Faro and back. 





This piece had always held a number of ss shackles holding blocks that led lines back to the cockpit.  The boat had always been set up this way and, I guess, over the years the ss shackles had worn into the aluminium casting until it eventually failed.  At the same time it exposed two (of the 4) bolts that held the mast base in place.   Interestingly, below the aluminium mast base is a ss plate that has vertical edging with holes that accommodate shackles attached to blocks.  On the rear side of the ss plate there are also holes that had simply not been used as the shackles had been attached to the aluminium mast base instead.

Inspecting the damage

Sopromar Boatyard repaired the mast base by fabricating a stainless steel bracket that covered the broken area, utilizing the two exposed bolts, and then to reinforce things the fabricated bracket was welded to the ss mast base plate.  Any gap between the new ‘cap’ and the original mast base was filled with silicone sealant.  

You'll be pleased to know:  It held perfectly during our 2017/2018 Atlantic crossing and was left in place on the recommendation of the chief rigger when we subsequently had the standing rigging replaced in Saint Martin by FKG Rigging.





Thursday, February 14, 2019

2017 & 2018: 8 Reviewing Safety & Security

Main Hatch Storm Lock.  I decided that our main hatch should have some better means of securing the hatch in the closed position and also for the storm boards to be securely held in place.  On the top storm board (there are 3, one on top of another) I mounted simple ss slides so that, when the bolts are slid into their respective holes drilled into the side of the hatchway, they locked the top storm board in place.

For the sliding hatch, which is just a flat piece of acrylic, I drilled two holes, one on either side of the hatch, so that I could slide a pin down into a length of plastic beading that I had screwed to the sides of the hatchway.  I can lock the hatch closed in this position by sliding the pin in place from either top or bottom, and if necessary, the person inside the boat can also slide the pin out without anyone’s assistance from the cockpit.  I can also lock the pin from below to provide security and prevent anyone entering the inside of the boat eg when on a town dock in a place with doubtful security.

Flares.  I needed to add to my considerable stock of rescue flares as they were all out of date.  You cannot purchase flares in Portugal without going through a very convoluted and involved bureaucratic process as the authorities have designated flares as explosives.  So, I guess if people there are interested they travel to another EU country, purchase flares there then bring them back to Portugal without declaring them.  A very stupid policy.
I might add you cannot purchase them via the web as it is illegal to mail them around the EU.

So, on our arrival in the Canaries (Spain), we were able to purchase a new set over the counter at the local chandlery.  Apart from the obvious of having up-to-date flares on board, yesterday as I write this (15Apr18 at Brunswick Landing, Georgia, USA), we were boarded and inspected by the US Coast Guard as we approached our marina.  They were happy that I had current flares and, interestingly, didn’t care about all the other out of date ones that were stored with them in our getaway bag.

Jordan Series Drogue.  Years ago I had purchased a kit from Sailrite and laboriously attached 138 cones to the line they supplied.  With the Atlantic crossing looming I decided to finish it off properly and have it instantly available in the cockpit to deploy whenever I needed to.  There’s more to having a series drogue than just a line with the recommended number of drogues.  A lot has been written about them since I purchased mine 10 years ago and some pretty good lessons have come out as a result of sailors using them under extreme conditions.  Interestingly, many sailors did not agree on all aspects so I had to make some decisions myself. I also consulted my son, who is a rope access technician, and spend his work days with his life dependant on the lines he sets for himself.  He had some good advice about rope stress points and where best to secure the drogue on the boat.

The attachment point for the bridle at the stern is very important ie it’s recommended that it needs to be something a bit better than the stern cleats or cockpit winches, although some boats have utilized these in extremes when they had to deploy their series drogue.  I decided that the base of the legs of my standard stainless steel arch would be adequate.  There are two base plates each side bolted (4/plate) to the deck with metal backing plates. 

There is also much discussion whether one should rely on knots or utilize splices.  Splices won hands down when it came to tests.  I did need to rely on a knot where the bridal lines were attached to the arch and I chose to use a knot called the double fisherman's loop, which held up about the best in one particular testing by Yachting Monthly (YouTube video) that I reviewed ie it’s about as strong as an eye splice.  





So I purchased new 18mm braided nylon line, spliced it then attached the bridle to the eye that I also spliced into the leader.  The ends of the bridle I attached to the base of the arch.  At the far end I linked a bunch of chain of various lengths that I had on board and moussed the  shackles used to join them all.  Finally I put it all into a bag (old sail bag) and secured it with line to various points on the pushpit and arch nearby. 

In the event I had to use it I planned to flake the drogue on the cockpit floor before launching it or, if in a hurry, I could just deploy it straight from the bag but you can never be sure that it won’t become tangled and it’s too late if it’s on its way out being pulled by all the drogues filling.  Anyway, I have never had to use it thank goodness but it certainly provides peace of mind knowing that it is all done and ready to go at very short notice.

Hydrovane.  Yes, it was time to put the Hydrovane back in business ready for our Atlantic Crossing.  I find it adds an extra rudder giving me some backup if ever we need it too.  It all fitted on well, except I noticed that the vane was connecting with our solar panel framing.  Not good for the vane fabric.  So whilst waiting for the mast repair to be undertaken, I used the time in Portimao Marina to move the solar panels forward a bit.  Easier said than done.  Time well spent.


The Hydrovane (red)  rubbing on the solar panels


Moved further apart - all good now

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

2017 & 2108: 7 Electronic Wizards, Perhaps Not...

EPIRB Purchase.  I already have two EPIRBS – one PLB and a GME EPIRB, which had a battery that tested okey, but it was past the recommended change date.  So, I thought I should purchase a new one and decided to get an Australian one which would be automatically accepted by the Australian Maritime Authority (AMSA).  The GME was purchased in Oz and brought overseas with me years ago.  I only found that its battery was out of date when I arrived at the boat in Portugal.  

Anyway, I thought that importing a bit of safety gear into Portugal wouldn't be too much of a challenge.  I also understood that courier/shipment companies generally handled customs etc.  As things turned out my purchase was posted via the Oz Post Office which created all sorts of issues.  Firstly, although quickly despatched, it took almost two months to arrive at the boatyard, required a substantial customs payment, and the company that I ordered it from really didn’t show much interest.  I could not trace the item’s whereabouts on route.  The Oz Post Office I assume just send it on its way with no further interest, unlike UPS, DHL, FEDEX that I'd dealt with before.  The company even suggested that I follow up through the Portuguese Customs, which I eventually did once they contacted the boatyard to advise that the package had arrived in town nearby.  Any action beforehand would have been quite fruitless on my part due to being a foreigner, English speaking only, etc.

Once it finally arrived it should have been easy to register it with AMSA via the net but my registration was rejected because an EPIRB with my serial number had already been registered, believe it or not.  It took several phone calls to try to get AMSA to follow up.  Once again the company who sold me the EPIRB showed little interest and just referred me to the EPIRB manufacturer - kti.  By sending emails to both AMSA and kti the situation was eventually sorted.  My serial number WAS the correct one as it turned out and the other registered owner was contacted and provided the right serial number of their EPIRB.

In future if I am overseas and need to purchase another EPIRB, I'm likely to just purchase it where I can pick it up myself; although that has inherent registration issues.  Well, perhaps if my 10 year guarantee remains valid I might not need to.  (I doubt it as I anticipate that some new rule will be introduced soon requiring all current EPIRBS to be replaced in the next 2 years, although perhaps I am being a bit cynical in my old age).   Meanwhile, I have now have 3 EPIRBS, which all test okey.

VHF Handheld Radio.  The old one wouldn’t hold a charge so we purchased another while in the Canaries.

Sky Mate Antenna.  SkyMate is a satphone type comms gear which we installed 10 years ago.   It still operates so we decided that we would just renew our subscription as they advised that our old equipment is still okey but would be better if we upgraded with new equipment costing around 1000 USD or so.  We decided not to and subscribed so that we could use it and get used to using it again.  

Firstly, we had a number of problems with reception, and sending messages.  We contacted tech support, who it must be said worked very hard to solve our issues.  Things dramatically improved when I cleaned the antenna terminals and then moved the antenna away from other antennas and mounted it up on the framing that holds our solar panels above and behind the cockpit arch.  This was a major improvement and we thought it had solved all our problems.

Not quite!  As we were now using the equipment to get used to it but Microsoft (Windows 10) had other ideas.  It would not let us properly send and receive.  Microsoft would say indicate a problem and closed the Skymate.  We devised various ways to bypass and act quicker than Microsoft could hinder us so we got by with being able to send emails, mainly to report our position via message.  Eventually we exceeded our monthly allocation and our emails were rejected but this was fixed, again by tech support, who simply allowed the mails to be forwarded and billed us accordingly.    The fact that there was no notice to warn us we were approaching our limit is a major shortcoming of this equipment.  We were mid-Atlantic at the time and sending regular position reports to our blog.  We will certainly be considering alternate systems for future "blue water" use.

iPad.  My eldest son had given me an iPad and I love it.  Aside from the Kimble application (I do read a lot when sailing) it also takes Navionics charts, so I can have it in the cockpit with me.  The charts are especially useful when entering/leaving harbour.  With further use on the open ocean I found that I would not even bother to go down below to view the CMap chart on our laptop on the chart table.  The iPad Navionics is connected to a small Garmin Bluetooth GPS so that sits below sending signals to the iPad and I just turn it on every now and again to check progress.  So simple and easy to use.

I have even put together a small stand for it: a bamboo cutting board from a Chinese shop, and a clamp fitting that I screwed it to so that I could attach it to a handrail on the steering pedestal.  The iPad is held in place with a couple of small bungee cords.  It has been especially helpful while motoring along the US Intracoastal Waterway and far exceeds the CMap charts usability.  With Navionics you can zoom in and out to infinite settings – whatever is comfortable but zooming in is very important when navigating around channel markers in shallow shoaling waters.  CMap is extremely limited in this capacity; at least using it with the chart program Software on Board.

A couple of drawbacks, however.  While crossing the Atlantic - Cape Verde Islands to Antigua - a message came up from Apple that I needed to re-register and that I could do it from any place that I could access the web.  It locked up the iPad until I did and this all happened mid Atlantic.  Luckily we still had CMap which worked fine.  I wasn’t able to use Navionics again until I reached Antigua.  This is a very REAL safety issue.

Secondly, my iPad is in a waterproof plastic wallet so it is protected in the rain.  If the screen does get wet it will not function as a touch screen, just won’t do anything or will do very strange things so that it becomes unusable.  On one occasion on the ICW the rain was so fierce that I could not use the iPad (and I could hardly see to look for oncoming traffic) so I pulled over just out of the channel and dropped the anchor.  I’m sure there is a techie answer and I’ll put it in here when I find it.





Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2017 & 2018: 6 Sail Repairs & Canvas Work

Mainsail Outhaul Car.  I found that this was partially broken and thought I could have it welded back together.  Not so and I had to purchase another one.  Turns out that the replacement part was much better engineered than the original part, so happy to fit a new, more robust fitting as it is very important in handling the mainsail when furling and unfurling.


Mainsail Flattened.  The mainsail had become more full over the years with age, stretching, etc and so I had a sailmaker in Lagos, Portugal flatten it a bit.  It’s better and, more important, it furls better ie it's easier to unfurl.  It used to occasionally stick and take a bit of effort to unfurl.  There has never been a problem with furling funnily enough.

Dodger/Bimini Joiner – Velcro Edges.  The ‘joiner’ covers the gap between the dodger and bimini and is attached when needed utilizing zips, which leak when it’s wet.  I decided to attach flaps over the zips and sewed some edging with Velcro attached so that I had a more water tight join, certainly much better but not perfect by any means.  The joiner is a terrific bit of kit and makes a big different to shelter/comfort in bad/wet weather.  The added Velcro flaps made it even more effective.  Vitally, this ensures my  iPad & navionics continues to function, by keeping the water off the screen (see more comments on the iPad under Comms & Electronics).


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2017 & 2018: 5 Refrigeration in a Kit

New Fridge and Freezer.

We still had the original Grunert freezer and fridge which were operated by a single 110 volt compressor.  This necessitated running the generator while at sea, twice a day for around half to one hour (depending on air  temperature), or using shore power, to bring down the temperature in the cold storage plates.  The boat also had to be in the water as it used sea water for cooling the compressor.  Eventually, it also leaked gas - oh so slowly so that it couldn’t be detected by my elec detector – an unusual expensive type of gas not readily available, especially in Europe, of course.

As the Grunert fridge/freezer couldn’t be used at all on the hard, shortly after we purchased the boat (now some 12 years ago) we purchased and connected an air-cooled Waeco car fridge/freezer in the store room.  It uses 12/24/110/240 volt (you choose) and you can use it as a fridge, freezer, or whatever you like as you set the temperature digitally.  Uses about 3 amps once at set temperature and makes no noise.  We love it and wanted the same for the fridge and freezer, except just 12 volts would do. So, I searched the internet and Penguin Marine in the UK had a very user friendly planner that you follow yourself before contacting them for a quote.  As it turned out they were also very professionally friendly as I did need to call and clarify a number of matters that needed to be sorted.  See below.  Remember the boat was in Portugal so UK is convenient for me in many respects: they speak English (and understand my aussie accent) so it's easy to speak in technical specifics and no customs duty involved.

Firstly, I removed the old compressor – it weighed a ton and just dropped it over the side of  the boat, then wangled it into a dumpster in the yard.  Same with the cold plates – one had to be cut into two to get it out of the fridge (it also served as a shelf) which I did using my high speed grinder.  They also weighed a lot.

The most important aspect was to measure the size of the compartments, in my case the fridge is …. litres and the freezer … litres.  The fridge and freezer run fore and aft along the side of the hull, their tops forming part of the main counter top in the galley.  The company site has the formulas to work out volumes for odd shapes which are fairly easy to follow but I also left it up to them to do the maths and, therefore, recommend the appropriate respective sizes for compressors and evap plates.  This involved a number of emails and finally a phone conversation or two to sort it all.  We ended up with a bigger evaporator than originally identified for the freezer so it’s worth the effort to get it right.  Very important obviously but in the end it worked out quite well.

The kit that was recommended by the company was two Frigoboat compressors (one for fridge, one for freezer), an evaporator plate in each of the fridge and freezer compartments, water cooling for both while in the water (quieter, better for hot climates, less power required) and a separate air cooler for the freezer (my choice) which allows it to be run on the hard (with the Waeco in support as the fridge).  There are also two thermostats – one for each box.  There’s also a ‘control box’ that controls the compressors, and the water pump turning them off and on after feedback from the thermostats which are attached to the evap plates. 

Access into the fridge and freezer for fitting evaporator plates was a challenge.  The fridge has top and side access which is necessary as the GS used to almost fall in when accessing from the top to get at things on the bottom.  The fridge is actually quite large.  The freezer only has a top access hatch and we found it was just too small to fit the evaporator through.  So, I had to remove the petition separating fridge and freezer compartments and glassed over both sides of the foam as the original veneer had largely separated from the foam and rotted.  It made for a much better petition and I put it back after I had put the freezer evaporator plate into the compartment via the fridge.  I then sealed/fixed it in place using silicone sealant, but you could use some other adhesive sealant, as the silicone is a bit smelly for quite some time before the odours eventually go away.

Only after the petition was in place could I then fix the freezer evaporator plate (a U shape)  in place as one side had to be attached to the petition as well as two other sides (front and forward bulkhead).  The outside wall of the freezer (which slopes downward as per the side of the boat) could not be utilized due to the large size of evaporator plate we needed.  The evaporator plate for the freezer came bent to shape with all the other bits and pieces and fitted just right.  This is where the measurements of the compartments (by me) are so important.

The fridge evaporator plate arrived unbent to shape (it should have been L shaped ie to attach on two sides of the fridge compartment) and I had to do it myself, which shouldn’t have happened.  The staff at Penguin were apologetic, however, yet very helpful and explained what to do and how to measure correctly, etc.   Briefly, I heated the plate with my heat gun where I had to bend it until it was too hot to touch then bent it (using gloves) over a piece of pvc pipe I scrounged from around the boatyard.  This particular job, dare I say, turned out to be the easiest and simplest of all the jobs surrounding the whole project, although I was somewhat nervous beforehand I admit.

Now the real fun began. The plates have (pre-gassed) gas copper lines fixed to the plates (soldered?) in a coil, which have to be unwound and then fed through their respective openings eventually leading to the compartment identified for the compressors, while using minimum bending and unbending.  This was a challenge but what I did was unroll them first making them more or less straight before inserting them through the various openings as I fed the evap plates into their respective boxes.    The freezer pipe and plate fed via the fridge with the pipe being fed through a whole in a bulkhead separating the freezer compartment and the saloon, into the compressor area which is under the saloon fore and aft seat.  Once freezer evap plate was inside its compartment (just loosely) I fixed the freezer/fridge petition into place.  

Once the petition was fixed in place I then fixed the freezer evap plate to the petition and two other walls.   This is a bit fiddly as there are a number of spacers which have to be fixed behind the plates to keep them just off the walls.  Another reason that the measuring process must be quite right for the U shaped plate, much less so for a L shaped plate.  In the case of the fridge its piping went through a hole in the outside edge of the petition, then through the freezer compartment, through the bulkhead hole into the compressor compartment.  I was alone to do all the above and it would have been much easier if I had an assistant to help manhandle the copper pipe while also manoeuvring the evap plates.   Much cursing.

I bent the copper pipes out of the way while I mounted the compressors, air cooler, and the control box.  Beforehand I had mounted the water pump after taking out the old 110 volt pump.  I utilized the old mounting for the 12 volt water pump.  The air cooler had to be mounted next to the freezer compressor as you need to change the couplings between compressor (when it’s in the water) and the air cooler copper pipe when it’s out of the water.  You need to minimize any bending or unbending of copper tubes.  The couplings are easy to connect and disconnect – no real tightening to be done other than the minimum as per the instructions.  You also don’t lose refrigerant as you change connections.

Next to last step was plumbing.  I used the same thru-hull sea cock as for the old 110 volt system, then ran intake hoses to each of the compressors, then outlet hoses from compressors to the same old hose for the water to pump out overboard via the sea cock on the side of the hull.

The final step was the wiring and, as I had run out of switches on the switchboard, I fitted a small switchboard with separate switches/circuit breakers, connecting them to the power and then to the control box.  A bunch of other wires from compressors, thermostats, water pump all connected to the control box.



And it ALL WORKED, thank goodness, and very pleased with the result.  The freezer really is a deep freeze and the fridge works a treat.  I put shelving in the fridge too and also floors in both fridge and freezer.  I attached plastic netting with plastic cable ties to the faces of the evap plates to help protect them from bumps etc.

Also, at the very start I serviced the seal for the top loading fridge hatch.  Ever since we purchased the boat, part of the seal had become a bit twisted and so the seal was never perfect.  I found that by using the heat gun I could twist it back to its original shape and it has seated perfectly ever since.  If only I’d known this 12 years ago.  In preparation I had also read up and looked at YouTube videos, which were all very helpful.  Although it was some effort to put together, we're wondering why we persevered with expensive re-gassing and inefficient cooling over the years.  Now, it's all working a treat.