On a Roll

Yesterday, I completed two things on the nice to do list: replacement of the Raritan water heater anode and replacement of a terminal block for my 120-volt neutral circuits in the engine room distribution panel.

The new anode is on the right

After two months, I’ve finally hit my stride and actually feel confident in what I am doing. That manifested itself in those two completions yesterday. Instead of taking a couple of days, they took a couple of hours and I didn’t have to redo anything.

This got me to thinking about a job interview I had just the other day.  I found myself talking about the importance of not overwhelming students, especially students who may be far being in whatever work that needs to be done.

I mentioned in the interview that even when a student was far behind, let’s say they need to complete 20 projects or work assignments by years’ end. It’s already February and they have nothing done, with only a few months to go. It’s easy for a teacher to just be upfront about it, if you don’t get these done; you’ll fail.

I’ve seen teachers do that countless times. But it won’t accomplish the stated goal of getting that student to be successful, (though it does make the class smaller). If a student sees a mountain of work to do, they never get started, discouraged, not seeing how they can get it all done, they give up before they even start.

That’s me, now and then.

My driving lights are lighting up that sailboat

So, two months ago, when I made my list of the top half dozen things to get done before departure, I knew the last was far bigger, but I couldn’t overwhelm myself. I didn’t want to paralyze myself with indecision. Now, I know many of the readers here are successful boaters because they just see what needs to be done and get to doing it.

In the same way half of all students are impervious to the adults in their lives who get in their way, be it parents, teachers, or anyone else. They’re going to learn and be successful no matter what.  It’s not by chance that the historic graduation rate in the last 50 years continues to be about 50 to 60%.

I’m not in the group. I needed a teacher to be able to at least steer me in the right direction or a teacher who could tell I was bored to death and challenge me in ways the curriculum didn’t. The same way a good teacher will give make-up work to a student in a piecemeal fashion. Do this for me tonight and I’ll give you something else tomorrow. At the same time scaffolding the rigor of the work. So, in a short time, they are whipping out stuff they never thought they could do just weeks ago.

Two months ago, starting with a list of 6 items, I knew I’d do more. I’ve done three times that amount so far. While moving the instruments on the mast, I knew to check the paravane fittings. The clevis pins needed to be checked and I wanted new cotter pins. I also noticed too much wear on the main fitting to the mast, so I needed to add some washers and new pins.

As I did more and more, sometimes taking a week to complete one checklist item, but I also did another half dozen items, that were not on the checklist.  I became more confident.

Confidence is the other side of the equation. When I finally completed the LED project, which involved 4 wires, with four conductors each (a positive, and 3 separate grounds that control the three colors, blue, red and green), I was very pleased to see it all worked as anticipated. I had three switches to turn each respective set on or off, plus three additional switches to control the colors, since I figured I didn’t need any complicated controller.

That it all worked, gave me the confidence to tackle the 120v terminal bar, that seemed straight forward, but you never know. When that went well, without me having to redo stuff, I tackled the water heater anode and that went even quicker.

The order I tackled these projects mattered. I have read education studies that when formulating a test, the order of the questions can make a significant difference.  The same questions in a different order can make a significant difference in student performance. Teachers have known this forever. If you put the hardest questions first, it discourages students. Why a teacher would do that is a story I will save for the book I’m thinking about writing. But it also goes to our overall 60% graduation rate.

When I took the test for my NMC Master’s license, the lights and signals test was the hardest for me. It was hard enough to remember red over green. Was that fishing or trawling or neither? But the day shapes were even harder for me, since I was not using them myself.

For a week I took practice tests. The passing requirement for that portion of the test was the highest at 93+%; meaning out of 33 questions, you could only get 2 wrong.

During my practice tests, I got anywhere from 65 to 80% correct. Well off the mark.

Test day came up and we took the other three portions of the test first that were easy for me. Then the dreaded lights and signals. The first 5 or 6 questions were “easy” in that I was sure of the answers. By the end of those 33 questions, I was positive that I missed only one!

Well, I missed two, but that was still enough to pass. I was elated, but I also recognized that the question order made a significant difference for me that day. Because I felt confident in those first half dozen questions, I didn’t stress and overthink the rest.

In the same vein, when I started working on the boat projects, I knew the order made a difference.

Since I whizzed through those two things yesterday, I decided today to tackle the Purisan project. Two months ago, I’d not even mentioned it because …

But now, it’s almost done, but that’s for tomorrow’s story.




A Far Better Day

I can see why satire is so effective; no, I did not sleep well, but I woke up in a far better mood and the simple fact is I am tied to the dock, so any problem is fixable.  Getting across an ocean helps the perspective.

Larry, my Alaskan friend, along with his wife, Karla, is also here to help.

I had decided that I still needed to finish installing the controller and tablet dispenser for the Purasan, leak or no leak.

Another thing that happened yesterday was the forward bilge pump, while running, was not pumping any water out.  So Bucket Head came to the rescue again and we could at least get the inch of water in the bilge out.

Having a leaking sanitation system into the bilge without the bilge pump working was a very unpleasant prospect, so I awoke this morning with a plan the first, I would deal with the bilge pump.

By 9:00 a.m. I had gotten the courage to take up the floor hatch covers and drive into the depths to do battle again.  The bilge pump ran, but no pumping.  I disconnected it from its bracket and then took off the short hose.

I put the pump into the shower sump and as I lifted the float sensor, the pump sprayed water all over the place.  Well. At least one problem was partially solved.  I took off the one way valve, water poured out of the hose, but blowing thru the valve showed it worked as it was supposed to (I was days past caring about where my lips were).

Putting it all back together, I once again used the hose to see if it was working and wonder of wonders, it was.  I’m guessing that the day before, we may have been spraying down the bilge and I have has instances where when I do that to the shower pump, it can lose its prime.  At that point, if it is running, it runs, but does not pump.  Only turning it off and letting it rest, while presumably, the water for the out flow flows back into the pump, thus priming it.  So when powered up again it works fine.

The bilge pump could not do that, since the one way valve is on the outtake side.

Knowing we had a working bilge pump made tackling the treatment tank far easier, as least now we could keep the forward bilge relatively clean.

So now we carefully dried the top of the processing unit and over the course of an hour, watched carefully as we flushed toilets.  No leaks that I could find.

Then, within minutes I get a call from the States, it’s Raritan.  I had called yesterday and left a message with the Senior Engineer, who I had talked with previously.  So Brian was returning the call and I told him exactly what had happened yesterday and then today.

I was sorry I had cried “wolf”, but it was clearly not leaking now, while yesterday, I watched the fast drip of water with every flush.

Brian also helped me with a few other issues, including the solution to the one push pad issue.  I had also woken this morning with a plan if only using one push pad.  Brian confirmed my idea and also explained how I could set it up as before with one touch on either toilet.

This conversation led me to understand that the instructions for the second toilet which called for the two toilet option were written for people who did not have Raritan toilets already.  So, now Raritan’s only crime is a poorly written installation manual, and nowadays everyone is guilty of that.

I still must calibrate the system, but at least I will be able to enjoy my dinner tonight.

And Monday, the Wallas heater install will commence.  I wonder how their instructions, which I have already read many times, will work in actual execution?


Just What Have I Been Doing for the Last Few Months?

Packed Storage Bins

Since December, besides travelling to England, Italy, Spain and the U.S., I have been organizing tools and spare parts.  I am making a computerized list of each part, their storage location, as well as any significant information, such as model number, etc.

Having also reorganized my tools and fasteners, clamps, etc., my life will be so much easier, and as an added bonus, I was able to throw away two garbage cans of packing materials.

Though I am returning to Dauntless today, I shall return to NY at the end of April for two weeks. Dauntless will be hauled out and have her bottom painted again while I am in NY.  Then I will be joined by Larry, a friend of over 40 years, who I met on T-3.  With that extra set of hands, we will complete the last of the winter projects.

What’s left to be done:

  1. Replacing the Raritan toilet processing tank,
  2. Installation of the Wallas DT40 heater
  3. Installation of a 30,000 BTU “Bus” heater, which will use engine heat to heat the two cabins while underway,
  4. Recommissioning the Katadyn water maker
  5. General clean up

In my Next post, I will publish the updated Cruise Plan.

On another topic.

I made a new post on my other blog, Refeldtions, titled Another World Leader Appreciates the United States of America.

A great story that was in yesterday’s Opinion page of the Wall Street Journal, 21 March 2015, President Sisi of Egypt tells of a different reality than we are accustomed to hearing, day in and day out.

I thought it was important to share. If interested, the link is:  richardbost.wordpress.com