Thursday, March 23, 2017

Patron Saint Of Boat Projects - Part II

First, everything must come out of the v-berth... and go somewhere!
I left off with our spirits on the rebound after a period of darkness.  Boat Projects can do that to you when the list never ends and everything takes three times as much time and money to complete... even the simplest of tasks.  But after that low point, we renewed our devotion to getting things done, and the new attitudes paid off!

Boat projects tend to organise themselves.  The most important thing to be done is the one that makes our lives better... so those rise to the top of the list.  Our next big one turned out to be not so big after all.  We've been making due without our primary water tank for several weeks now.  We've investigated and experimented and all signs point to the draw tube that allows the freshwater pump system to draw water from the bottom of the tank... must be missing.

The hole.  I don't know what happened to the old tube...
We have exhaustively tested theories that there may be a leak in the tank, but the bottom line is that the water we put in there... is still in there.  So there's that.  Fixing or replacing a leaking tank would have been very expensive...

Next obstacle in our path was getting the fixture off of the tank.  It's a small cube with a tube that goes down into the tank.  There was a complicated bunch of parts and pieces attached to this fixture...probably due to some past repair where no proper parts were available.

 For a while this threw us... but when David from Haymede suggested that we bypass all of that and just connect the hose directly... if we could find a draw tube... and IF we could get the old one off...  It would be a relatively inexpensive fix.  Yeah.  If we could get the old one off.

After a couple of days and some soaking with penetrant... and some really loud and violent banging with a wrench... ( I had to resort to girl power) It finally budged, and then came off with no damage done!

A couple of trips to the chandlery and the local Ace Hardware on the Dutch side... which is huge and awesome, by the way... we returned to the boat with the proper fixtures... and plan B's... and spares for all...  If one of these things breaks, it only makes sense that the other three water tanks might be right behind it...

We were able to mark this very big deal off of our list and go back to using our largest and most convenient water tank.

Next up... Putting together our new dinghy ground tackle.  The prices for smaller, three strand line at Island Water World were so good, I was able to talk Bruce into letting me upgrade our dinghy anchoring system.

Some friends of ours made a short video showing how they tested their three different types of dinghy anchors at the beach back in Corpus Christi.  The baby (8lb) Mantus outperformed all competitors... and I had lust in my eyes as I spotted one on the shelf at IWW.

It wasn't cheap, but we bought it... along with 100 ft of three strand line, another 30 ft of slightly heavier 3 strand, and the associated shackles and thimbles for me to create a masterpiece.

Along with the 10 ft of covered chain we already had, I attached the shorter line to the Mantus semi-permanently.  The longer piece will be used for beach landings or docking when we want the dinghy to remain offshore a short distance.

These things are in addition to the 30 ft. of line attached to our simple claw anchor.  It is much lighter and we use it in more benign conditions like simply keeping the stern of the dinghy off the dock in a crowd.

Last item for the dinghy was a diaper for the Baby Mantus.  I used some old straps with connecting snaps from some blown out life jackets...and a piece of fire hose we got at IWW to make a diaper to keep the Mantus from puncturing the dinghy... or me!  AU2 had warned us that the point was so sharp they had actually GIVEN AWAY one of these anchors!

I'm very pleased with the ease of use, and the snap-on convenience of my little creation!  Here is a shot of the other side...

While we had our credit card out on the line aisle... I picked up some awesome new painter line for our dinghy.  It floats!  Our old painter was pitiful.  You can't have a spiffy new bag of ground tackle and sport a raggedy old painter.

I secretly had our lines cut at 30ft each (Bruce wanted them shorter but now he likes the length).  We attached easy-release shackles to one end of each and now we can tow our new dinghy in style... Now the dinghy is all set and we can turn our attention to the plethora of other items STILL on the To-Do list!

We installed a couple of new Hella Fans in our bedroom, the old ones were wearing out...

One item that wasn't on the list but got itself onto the list, PRONTO... was a leaking propane line.  We ended up inspecting our whole setup and decided it was time to replace it all.  We had to order the dual regulator from Defender because they only had the single units here, but we got the rest of the parts here in St. Martin and the prices were comparable to Defender's.

I will admit that between the two of us sometimes I think we only have the equivalent of one brain... We failed to completely tighten the fittings and after hooking up a newly filled propane tank, we leaked it out within a week and had to go find some better stuff than just soapy water to find the leaks.  But eventually we got it all fixed safely... We were appalled to see the condition of our old hoses when we really looked at them closely... People, check that stuff regularly!

We did big projects, and in-between those the little projects seemed to fill the extra time...  Things like changing out the impeller in the Yanmar and cleaning out the strainers for our fridge and water maker.  I always get roped into the impeller project because ours is in a very tight spot and my hands are smaller... Bruce literally can't get his big hands in there... so it's up to me.

We got really lucky and found a leaking fitting in our refrigeration system.  It has been leaking for some time... getting worse and worse.  We were up to topping off refrigerant about once a week.  I began looking around and found an oily spot.  I remembered a guy telling us once that oil on the fittings was a sign of a leak.  Bruce tightened the fitting and we're now on six weeks and counting since last topping off the refrigerant.  That one counts as a MAJOR win because Bruce was becoming so frustrated with it he was ready to rip it out and replace it... cha ching!!!

Some of the boat projects were fun... at first.  OK OK we have been very bad.  We got lazy and left our new dinghy in the water while in the Lagoon... where it grew a mini-reef... that we had to clean off...  It didn't become obvious until we purchased a new 9.8 hp outboard second hand from another cruiser.  We hoped it would plane... but not with that forrest growing on it...

So, we took our scrapers and donned our sun protective clothing and beached it over on Explorer Island in the middle of the lagoon.  At first it was fun... scraping that stuff off in sheets.  But then it got really hot... and it wasn't so much fun anymore.

A lot of that growth did NOT want to come off.  In the end, Bruce outlasted my energy level and finished off the last bit while I languished in the shade...

Oh, and that outboard?  It still won't plane with both of us in the dinghy, but it is a huge step up and goes much faster than our old 8 hp, which we sold.  We think we got a great deal and are very happy!

Somehow, although not on the list but should have been, we launched into a review of our safety gear.  Our old EPIRB is a dinosaur and has an expired battery. We had no intention of replacing it after its recent expiration because it is very old technology.

We have the Delorme In Reach satellite tracker which comes with rescue services and communication.  We aren't sailing very far from land... so we purchased a PLB instead.  Bruce will wear it whenever he goes onto the deck when we're sailing.  That way if he goes overboard, he is trackable.  I guess if I ever go overboard... well, then we've got a whole different set of problems...  Hmmm maybe I should go back and get another one of those little babies...

Anyway, all of that spurred a much-needed review of all of our safety flares and such.  We had some that were expired and ended up giving them away via the morning net.  We had several that were still good, and it was just a good idea to go through it all.

We went to Ile Marine on the French side on the morning of the monthly Jumble sale... we were looking to replace those expired flares.  The only ones they had would expire in just over a year.  They were discounting the price but still... I didn't want them.  Serendipitously we walked into three flares at the Jumble that were newer than the ones at Ile Marine... for LESS money.  So we bought those!  And a whole bunch of other good stuff!

Whew!  Going back through all of this is making me tired!  I've still got a bit to go but I'm going to cut this post off here... WOW we really got a lot done!  How did we ever find time to have any fun?  Oh yeah... we were here for two and a half months!!!

To Be Continued...

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