Monday, February 27, 2012

Ongoing preparation...

February 27th 2012

Position N 27° 22.225’,
               W 82° 37.075’.

Longboat Key Club Moorings, FL  

Sub Zero Freezer 
Our original idea about buying ‘Partners’ at least a year before we would be starting to cruise was, in retrospect, rather wise. The intention was to prepare the boat and ourselves by allowing at least a year; we thought that would be enough. ‘Partners’ is a boat and that means, although she is in good shape, that ‘things’ need fixing and money needs spending. As you have read in previous blogs there have been fixes and repairs. I now have a list of 15, things to be addressed. Last night #15 manifested itself as the freezer spawned a leak. The leak occurred when I turned on the ice maker; we are having four friends for dinner on Saturday and it would have been nice to have some ice for the libations. I have assumed that there is a loose connection in the water supply line somewhere and of course, as is typical, the whole Sub Zero unit needs to come out to facilitate just a look at the source of the water never mind the repair. I can’t do this job by myself! Moving the freezer is a job as it is installed waist high and will need lifting and sliding laterally and then down to the sole (floor) in a very confined space. I am hoping FOJ will be able to help me; he is presently in Puerto Rico on vacation, ice and #15 is now added to the list. It seems that the list is growing rather than shrinking and it is apparent that there will always be a list. The admiral and I are resolved to the fact that we will be sailing with a list. 

Have you ever tried to insert a reducer into sanitation hose, probably not?!
Under the sink!
I have not encountered the need either. Boat are notorious about keeping one on ones toes; I decided to ‘look’ at the faucet in the main bathroom which had been weeping, of course I am on my hands and knees with my head and shoulders buried in a locker under the sink, as I looked at the faucet my peripheral vision caught sight of a tell tale water drip glistening in the light from my flashlight uh, oh! The head inflow and discharge pipes are all in this space. I am sure everyone, certainly every boater, is far from enthusiastic about working on the sewage system. I have been lucky over the years with three previous trawler yachts and have not had to work on the sanitation system. One lives in hope that all leaks can be fixed by tightening the requisite hose clamps (everything is double clamped for safety). Some can be and I have succeeded on several occasions in  topping a ‘drip’ or two. When this does happen daily subsequent checks ensue as there is always some disbelief attached to a ‘get lucky’ repair, it takes several days of checks to have confidence in the fix. Off I went, climbing the steps to the pilot house (I keep my tools in a locker there), in search of the right size screw driver to try the ‘tighten it’ fix. Very quickly it was apparent that I would have to replace the reducer that connected two different sized hoses. After undoing the four hose clamps I attempted to remove the reducer, not easy...the hose itself is tough and the hose clamp had indented the inside hose circumference to the shape of the grooves on the reducer. Fortunately I have a heat gun and this came in useful to just ‘warm’ the hose enough to be able to ‘work’ the reducer free. I had to apply the same procedure to both hoses; even so I had to exert all my strength to get the reducer free. For those of you who, in the future, may have to do this repair don’t bother with Home depot. I couldn’t believe it but they did not have anything remotely like the reducer I needed, so off we set again to West Marine. Low and behold a whole rack of them! Upon trying to insert the new reducer I had the same problem getting it into the hoses as removal of the old one, again the heat gun help the situation and made life a little easier on the hands which were bruised from applying pressure to the end of the reducer pushing it in. In no time the job was finished and...The toilet didn’t work! While doing the job I discovered that I had loosened one of the spade connectors connecting the macerator toilet pump to the ‘juice’. All is well! Oh yes! where was I, the faucet, that will have to wait for another day...

Yard work, mowing the grass, edging, weeding - versus - boat washing! I don’t know but I think it is about the same! I thought that the boat would be easier and quicker? Most of last Sunday was boat cleaning day and Lavinia and I gave ‘Partners’ a birthday! Now it is evident that she needs a coat of wax and the stainless steel railing needs a polish, so that’s the next job, phew! Of course all these chores are labours of love as was the yard work, when we had a house; we now admire the fruits of our labour from the dock instead of walking the around the garden.

Friday, February 10, 2012

On going preparation...

February 4th 2012

Position N 27° 22.225’.
               W 82° 37.075’.

Longboat Key Club Moorings, FL 

Over the past few weeks we have been concentrating on thinning out our clothes inventory, unwanted kitchen hardware and the mountains of photographs that we have begun to scan into our computers. We invested in one of those mini coffee and tea motel/hotel machines as the lack of counter space makes it difficult to use full size appliances and the storage of same is just as difficult. The little machine, basically a water boiler, has a footprint the size of two mugs, weighs virtually nothing and therefore creates no kinetic energy to cause it to become a missile in a seaway. In other words, although a simple example, we are visualizing our cruising life style and really trying to prepare the boat accordingly. All items either have to be stowable or screwed down, the last thing one wants in a situation where the boat lurches in a wave or wake is to have loose items start crashing and breaking around the boat. In a small craft which is moving violently in bad sea conditions it is imperative to negate the necessity of having to move around the boat clearing up fallen or broken items as these are occasions when injury can happen. We have special extendable bars that secure all refrigerator and freezer contents to avoid movement and spillage within. Attention to detail in all areas of the boat is important. 

On the outside I checked that all antenna mountings and their braces were secure and tight, again having an antenna crash down and perhaps causing the lack of ability to transmit on either the SSB or VHF radios could be disastrous. The foredeck, which in rough weather has the potential to take on water, means that the anchors and any other gear that may be there have to be secure.  I use an anchor line tensioner (Pictured below). This little gismo is mounted on deck or anchor pulpit in line with the shank of the anchor. On most anchors there is a place where one can secure a small but strong line, run the line back to the tensioner and rig it to where the line is tight with the tensioner open. When closed the line will be taught and the anchor tightly pulled into its stowed position, an easy to use and useful gadget.  

I make no apology for the ensuing Dremel ad...In the forward part of the companionway leading forward to the forward master cabin there is an inspection hatch in the parquet floor A Ring Pull Handle is provided to lift the hatch up. The ring was broken and was dangerous for bare feet! I bought a replacement at West Marine. It looked the same but needless to say it didn’t quite fit. This is a very good reason to own a Dremel tool. The Dremel allowed me to carefully rout out the recessed area so that the look-a-like would fit. Sounds like an easy job but with screw holes and the beautiful finish of the parquet to protect patience was needed to accomplish the task. The Dremel was invaluable. 
Generally speaking I think Lavinia and I have done well with settling into ‘Partners’, she is our home, the only one we have. We are getting to know her and are adjusting to the many different things and routines she requires. Her water capacity is 260 US gals; we do have a tank tender gauge to check the amount of water left in the tanks at any time. We have got into the routine now of checking the tank tender before doing laundry which is an automatic machine and therefore draws water as it needs it during the wash cycle. Problem, it doesn’t know when there isn’t any water in the tank! Yes, this happened and the water pump continued to try and find water for quite some time! I was not on the boat at the time and the Admiral didn’t notice the ‘whirring’ of the water pump in the background. Needless to say the pump didn’t like being dry and now, although it still works, it has different sounds and characteristics. I went into the engine room to write all the information down from the pump label, model # etc., so I can get a rebuild kit. The pump we use is a ShurFlo and a new pump head assembly which includes the diaphragm and pressure switch cost $85. Not a difficult job but one which could easily be avoided by checking. No blame here just education about our new home and the precautions we both need to be aware of on a daily basis. While we are at the dock we use water at will and the 260 US gals lasts us about a week. When we are cruising and not having to wash our work clothes and maintain a dirt dwellers lifestyle the transition to the cruising lifestyle of bathing suites and T-shirts should enable us to stretch this to 14 days. All the more reason to have a daily check list, it is so easy to forget.
Sitting here at the dock we are not using any diesel fuel so it is important to polish the diesel in our tanks to ensure that there is no sludge and algae in it. Our polishing pump can process 50 gals of fuel and hour, so with our 600 gal capacity it takes six hours to run the total through the Racor filter. I generally don’t do this all in one session but do it on a daily basis for a couple of hours. Any cruiser knows that the biggest problem with a diesel engine is the fuel. Contaminated or dirty fuel is the sole biggest reason for engine failure, just another little routine job. ‘Partners’ received new aluminium fuel tanks in 2010 install by Sailcraft Service, Oriental, NC and with that installation came a brand new, easy to understand and use fuel manifold setup. It is very accessible in the engine room and takes only a few minutes to set up for the fuel polishing routine. Convenience on a boat is paramount and most reputable experienced boat builders have their layouts down pat. We are number 72 of our model, the 42’ Kadey Krogen so my way of looking at is there have been 72 opportunities to refine the systems and make improvements. Each one built is an improvement on the previous one. Each owner gives feedback to the manufacture, gladly received by the way, and all of the suggestions are considered and some implemented on future builds. The mark gets better and more refined and becomes a better boat, in the process, a more user friendly beast.  Kadey Krogen built 206 42’s before halting production, shortly after the 44’ was introduced, so theoretically the owner of #206 should have the latest and greatest!

January, traditionally our worst winter month is coming to a close. The month has been one of the mildest on record the weather has been beautiful... January does for once 'go out like a lamb'

February 3rd 2012 

The beautiful weather is the perfect weather for outside ‘jobs’, not too hot and sweaty just warm enough to be able to clad oneself in shorts and T-shit to make working easy. For one reason or another the Davis wind speed and direction indicator have not been showing the correct wind direction. The sending unit is mounted on the Single Sideband antenna and to correct the problem should be a simple matter of rotation. The positioning of the sending unit seemed to defy logic however. The labelling on the display is, of course, relative to the heading of the boat so that had to be taken into consideration. After a considerable work out, up and down, up and down, from the boat deck to the aft deck, up to the pilot house and back again several times, the job is done. As any readers who do not own a boat or do not do their own maintenance may not realize even a small job on a boat is physically demanding. Take teak deck cleaning using a two part chemical cleaner; the first time I did this I was not prepared, one needs knee pads, rubber gloves and something on ones feet. If you spurn this advice you, like me, will end up with raw knees, burnt hands and toes with no skin on the ends! Get the, without injury because I was prepared, I can stand back and admire the beautiful blond golden colour of the decks. I find that if I clean the decks about every two months, before they completely turn grey, it is a far easier job, much quicker and less expensive (less chemical needed). 

February 7th 2012 

In the engine room of most small boats, even with great
layouts, to be a contortionist helps! Preparation also minimizes the need to continually get in and out of the ‘holy place’ to retrieve tools, paper towels and materials needed for the job, get it all prepared beforehand. Once in the ‘position’ to do the job one doesn’t want to be having to move much.
The reason for this preamble is our fresh water pump bit the dust. Unfortunately the Admiral, unfamiliar with all the things to check and listen for proceeded to do several loads of washing in the machine and did not check that there was enough water. Most boaters soon become very familiar with the ‘sounds’ of their boat and when a bilge pump or, in this case, the fresh water pump comes on subconsciously they are waiting for it to turn off; well, not the Admiral, she just continued with whatever else there was to putz around with. I was not on board at the time, when I did arrived I immediately heard the pump and noticed the ‘solid’ red light which is the visual tell tale that the pump is engaged. Oh dear...there was no water in the tanks, the washing had used the last drop. The pump should have stopped but there must have been something wrong with the pressure switch. The long and short of the episode was that upon filling the tanks the pump still worked! One thing though, it had a different sound so it was my assumption that the diaphragm had been damaged through running dry for so long. I did have a spare pump in inventory but put off changing it at that point. The saga continues; at eleven o’clock the other evening, teeth cleaning time, no water and no sound, the pump had given up the ghost. The next day Lavinia had to go to work without a shower, not a good start, and my task was to replace the pump without a helper...the beginning of this paragraph pertains! I did prepare, got all the tools, tape, tie wraps and connectors I thought I would need. I lifted three of the ‘two ton’ floor panels in the salon ‘phew’ and moved them to the back deck revealing the ’holy place’ and all her glory. Of course the pump is in an inaccessible spot wouldn’t you know, way over to one side and nowhere to kneel, at least not without making contact with a few sharp hose clamp ends which left their signatures on and below both my knees, should have put the kneepads on! After about an hour and twenty trips out of the engine room because I didn’t prepare well enough, the job was done...sweet music the pump was humming and we could flush the two toilets, yes, you guessed it they are fresh water flush models! This pump sounds different and is quieter so as soon as Lavinia came home I demonstrated the characteristics to ensure she was tuned in! 
This weekend we are planning our first trip on ‘Partners’ together, we thought that we would go to Boca Grande for a long weekend and visit Cabbage Key. We have been a marina queen at the dock here since the end of November and have had no need to stow everything for an open water voyage. So, it is the first test for the Admiral to hone her stowing skills. I too have been going around the boat making sure that nothing will become a ‘missile.’ I have triple checked the engine room as much has been stowed there and it is important that nothing will move and ‘foul’ and engine belt or knock into a wire and disconnect it, you can imagine.
February 9th 2012 

It is now Thursday and the weather forecast it not up to snuff for our fist trip together so it is postponed, sadly. The exercise of making ready to go to sea, however, is still a good one to go through, eventually the boat will always be ‘ready’.  

Reality at the dock...a little techno and some real life accounts.