Of Mice and Men (or fishing for mice)

 

I had never heard of mice before I was involved with boats (well not the string or wire kind – just the 4 legged varieties) so was really impressed when I first saw how they worked – you're right it doesn't take much to impress me. I thought what a good idea it would be to have one permanently threaded through a sewing needle as at my age it takes me a good while to be able to get the thread through – and I'm sure it must be easier to get a mouse through the eye of a needle than a camel. Right, well, moving swiftly on…

Buying the solar panels was easy, having the frame made for them a little more challenging but getting the cables through was another thing altogether! The frame makers had left wire mice in the poles so all we had to do was attach the cables and pull them through – no problem – one black one, one red one – let's try to be smart and get them both through together. Let me first describe the frame – 4 uprights and 4 horizontal poles welded together – the cables had to run down the starboard side of the boat so they needed to go up the starboard pole to the middle section of the forward horizontal to connect to the solar panel controller. However no way would they both fit into the pole (we already had one cable through for the navigation light from the aft section) so we'll have to try one at a time – red first – ah I hear you saying - if we pull the cable through then we have lost the mouse – correct - so we attached a string to the cable to make another mouse to pull back out for the black cable and pulling slowly we did manage to get the cable to the right angle bend in the frame, but that has sharp edges inside where the poles have been welded together and there was no way that wire wanted to go through there. After sweating (Matt) and becoming a little dewey (me) in about 32 degrees C for about 30 minutes, we finally managed to get the red through – just as the wire mouse snapped and about 6 inches short of where we needed it OK so we can do joins.

We then had the red through and a string mouse back at the beginning – now for the black cable. This was definitely not going to go through that tube – it certainly would be easier to get a mouse through the eye of a needle…………So we had to run this one through the port side of the frame but there is no mouse through that side. This is where the fishing bit comes in – we attached a string with a loop on the end to a piece of fairly stiff wire and pushed the whole thing all the way through the horizontal pole just past the right angle bend of the port upright. Matt then took another piece of stiff wire, made a hook on the end and poked it up the port upright to try to catch the loop of the string. Finally, after several attempts and more broken string, we had a mouse so then it was just a matter of getting the black cable up that upright and through to the middle section to the panel controller – a doddle (well comparatively speaking). So all we needed to do was get the black cable down through the middle of the davit, into the locker, along the back of the autohelm to the starboard side of the boat – but of course we were then a bit short of cable as we didn't take account of this extra length. Ok another trip to the chandlery would be required.

The red cable, you would have thought, would be fairly simple to feed down through the davit and into the locker however, it had to go through 2 small holes which were not vertically aligned and were already full of cables – how can a boat have so many cables? And no mice in sight. So we tried pushing a steel wire down, tried pushing a steel wire up – no way was this going to work – and it was getting perilously close to G & T's time. Sombreros off and thinking caps on. Eureka – the solution was staring us in the face – use an existing cable (which is currently not connected to anything) as a mouse to pull down a string mouse then attach another piece of string to that mouse to pull back up and attach the red cable to it and pull that down. Yo there we have it – see how they run!! And now for that Gin & Tonic…

 

Back to Flotsam.....