Would you want to to sail around the world with your family on a sailboat?

Monday, March 29, 2010

When does the Relaxing Part Start?

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while.  We have been very busy doing uninteresting things.  We have gone into the water, but we haven't gone anywhere except for a couple of engine tests, to get diesel and to move to a better dock.  We decided to go through all our systems and to fix everything here in the states while we still have access to our car.  We checked all of our pumps and bilge pumps and automatic float switches and found one bilge pump's motor was dead and one bilge pump had some electrical problems that Arthur had to fix.  While he down in the dregs, I had to find a correspondingly dirty job.  I decided to rebuild our main head (the manual pumping toilet for those of my non-boating friends).  The head is a relatively simple pump and you can buy rebuild kits for it.  They recommend that it is rebuilt every two years, but people seldom do that.  They usually wait until it becomes an emergency fix.  You know, that time, underway when the the bowl is full and you used too much toilet paper and it just won't pump......   Well I wanted to avoid that, and by the way it squeaked when you pumped it, it was way past due.  We already had a rebuild kit on board with all new gaskets and o-rings and such.  It was actually a simple job that took way longer than it should have.  The first time taking something apart is always like that because I read and reread all the directions, making sure that 13A in the diagram  is the same gasket in my hand.  Next time it needs to be done it will take me 1/3rd the time.  How did I become the head mistress??  We also finally tackled the watermaker.  Again for my nonboating friends, a watermater is a reverse osmosis system that basically pumps saltwater through a membrane to get fresh water. I thought for sure we ruined the very costly membrane over the past year by ignoring it and not changing out the winterizing solution from last year.  Arthur spent a whole day rinsing the system and cleaning it with an alkaline cleaner. But wonders of wonders, it works!  We filled our starboard tank with good fresh water, not the brown stinky stuff that comes out of the faucet here.  Another thing holding us back was the dinghy motor.  We decided to test the dinghy since we hadn't used it since the summer.  It magically started the with the first pull, but there was no water pumping out to cool the motor.  We had to rig up a block and tackle to hoist it up to the high dock (we were not on a floating dock at the time).  We managed to get it into the truck and over to a great guy, Larry Holt, in Havelock.  It was the impeller and it took an extra day to get the part.  Our last job (why we waited for it to be our last job I'm not sure) was the anchor light.  I think we just forgot about it.  Last summer while anchoring off  Norwalk, we noticed that our anchor light was out. I remembered this the day before we were planning on taking off and anchoring for the night.  This morning, bright and early, I was hoisted up the mast to check on it.  Arthur tried yesterday to use our self climbing device that we bought this summer, but the main halyard got twisted when he tried to hoist the climbing rope. So, I had to fix that while I was up there also.  I had to be hoisted on the spinnaker line which doesn't quite reach the top of the mast by Arthur and Stephen was working the extra safety line.  I couldn't see to get the light down, but I could reach up high enough to take pictures of it so we could buy the replacement.  This lead to another trip to West  Marine where they know us by name.  Of course, they didn't have it in stock since it is a very pricey item.  How can a light be $500?  I hoisted Arthur back up on the main halyard this time, with Stephen again manning the safety line (he is becoming a pro at this).    Since it was on the main, I got to use the electric winch which was much faster and easier and he was able to get high enough to take it down.  We have to decide if we want to overnight a new tricolored  LED one like we have for Tuesday or to get just a regular anchor light.  The forecast is for rain and thunder storms tomorrow, so I don't think we will be heading up the mast until Tuesday AM anyway.

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