It’s amazing how what happens or doesn’t happen on the boat can make such a difference in my mood.
In some weird way, I am not that competitive with other people. In fact, in the workplace, I have always been a total team player, giving credit even when it isn’t due to others and being oblivious when it turned out I was the ONLY team player.
But I am very competitive with myself.
I beat myself up badly when things don’t go as planned. If I fix something that doesn’t stay fixed or can’t figure out what the problem is, leads to many sleepless nights.
It’s even worse when in trying to solve one problem, I cause another. This pretty much sums up my last 4 weeks.
But before we talk about that debacle, let’s talk about a little success.
Last year, I decided that one of my projects was to solve the leaking Jabsco Impeller pump issue.
It was leaking from the cover and because of its location, it leaks right on top of the steel engine mount frame that sits on the stringer. Saltwater on steel is not good.
Not a bad leak, like a drip, drip drip. The sea strainer had a similar leak from the top gasket. Annoying in its own way, because the route for that water was all the way to the front of the engine room on the outside of the stringer, thru the limber hole located there and then back to the bilge on the inside of the stringer.
This constant wetness causes mold and keeps the engine room damper than I like.
My attempts to stop the leaks only made them worse.
On the other hand, I had not had the impeller cover in more than two years. I’ve never really had any impeller problems.
I decided that this winter in Wrangell was the time to get these long-term problems done once and for all.
First step was to take the entire Jabsco pump/gear off the engine. That was relatively easy, though it took a call to a friend to confirm that I needed a little brute force disconnect to free the pump from the engine. A whack with my rubber mallet did the job. (I thought this was rather obvious and I hated asking someone, BUT I’ve had those thoughts before, and disaster ensued. I decided it better to be safe than sorry).
Took the pump to the local guy Tyler, who like before, took my little job of resurfacing the face and the cover of the bronze pump. I appreciate his doing so since his main job is making propeller shafts and very big bearings for the bigger boats and fabricating other things from stainless steel.
$20 later my pump was done, and I took it back to Dauntless.
Only took me a quarter of an hour to put it back on the engine. While this was going on, I also changed the anodes on the main heat exchanger and made a new neoprene gasket for the sea waster strainer.
- A quarter of an hour is a bit of an exaggeration, in that it took me another week to find the neoprene gasket material that was stored someplace in the engine room. In my digging, I found some thicker material that was even better and moved the neoprene to a location where I would be able to find it easier. It did NOT need to be stored with those engine parts I will probably never use, like water pump, starter and Alternator.
Once everything was buttoned up, I started the engine, first letting it turn over for 15 seconds before actual start.
It felt so good to have the engine running again. This engine has gotten me over 25,000 miles in the last 7 years. I know it will never let me down.
The relief that flooded over me was unexpectedly powerful. No water leaks, no oil leaks when the pump is mounted to the engine. All was right with the world.
Now my bilge is relatively dry. Now I really don’t want a totally dry bilge. I like my bilge pump to activate a few times a week. With the slow drip from the stuffing box, the pump will go on for a second about twice a week.
With constant rain, it will go off once or twice a day, as water gets in the lazzerette hatch drain gutters, even though I cleaned those gutters and its drain.
Frequently use of every critical part or system is the best preventive medicine. That way when problems crop up, they are noticed immediately. A month ago, while I was having my heater issues (more on that next time), I turned on my forward A/C unit for the first time in more than a year. Of course, no joy.
It took a day of tracing wires and breakers before I finally found the main power plug under the helm had become disconnected. I would have found this much sooner had I been using the unit more frequently. But as happens, over a long period of time, as I change one thing or another, my first thought is that one of those changed was the problem. Therefore, I spent a lot of fruitless time looking at non-obvious stuff, before I found the simple solution.
So, that’s why I like an almost dry bilge. I want to know right away if there is a problem. If the bilge pump or level float (which triggers the pump) stops working, I will know in a few days or week, when I see more than a few inches of water in the bilge.
If the bilge was totally dry, I would never know, until I possibly had a major water inflow and then I would have to fix the problem immediately.
Use it or lose it.
Coming up next, the Wallas debacle or how one problem led to a bigger (more expensive) problem.