Thursday, March 15, 2012

A busy day

I wasn’t sure what to do about the props during the haulout.  As is usual in the boating world, there is an expensive solution to prop maintenance, something called “Prop Speed”.  I was vaguely aware that it existed but didn’t really know much about it and I still don’t – our “project supervisor” is a chatty SOB but not all that knowledgeable.  He gave me a quote for what I believe consisted of putting epoxy paint on both props for the mere sum of $1000 and I said “thanks but no thanks”.  Instead I walked over to a local chandlery and bought some zinc coating in a rattle can.  It was $25 per can and I bought two cans but that was still a far cry from $1000 – everything is relative.  Yesterday I buffed the barnacles off the props and Marilyn started sanding them to make a cross hatch for the paint to adhere to.  This morning I sat under the boat out of the rain to finish the sanding and then sprayed the props.  I think they turned out well.  Time will tell how much help the coating is but I don’t think there was anything at all on there up until now and we seem to have survived.


As you can see, the bottom painters were back at work this morning too.  I had to prod our project manager a bit to get that happening but they got busy underneath while it was still raining and then during the 10 or 15 minutes when it wasn’t raining they managed to get all the exposed areas done as well.  We’re putting two coats of bottom paint on, the first one was dark blue and the top coat is a lighter blue.  That’s so that we can monitor how much of the paint is remaining over the course of the next 2 or 3 years before we do our next haulout.  The goal of bottom paint is to keep the critters from attaching to and growing on your boat.  The bottom paint we are using is what is called “ablative” paint which means that the surface of the paint is designed to slough off continually to expose new protection.   With different colours we can tell when the surface coat is gone because the colour will change.  Under the dark coat we have our original light blue bottom paint so we can monitor the disappearance of that layer as well.

My goal for the day was to service all the through hull valves.  I didn’t get done but I got close.  I’d never actually counted the holes in our hull but it turns out we have 16.  Three of those are bilge pumps, there’s a shower discharge, drains for both sinks, raw water supplies to all three engines, the genset wet exhaust, intakes and discharges for the heads, a holding tank pumpout and the intake for the anchor washdown.  That’s a lot of holes and its really important that each one of them have a functioning valve immediately inside the hull.  So important in fact that it is a Coast Guard requirement.  It turns out we were missing one valve.  Whoever installed our generator wet exhaust didn’t bother to put a shutoff on that through hull.  Hatching a plot to rectify that situation and wrestling the steel braid exhaust hose off the through hull took up the time that would otherwise have gone to finishing cleaning the last 5 valves. 

These valves are very simple and they work well but over time they get scale built up inside them that makes them hard to turn.  I’m hoping that soaking them in CLR and scraping off the scale will give them a new lease on life.  They don’t get shut off very often – we only ever close them when we leave the boat for an extended period of time – but if you ever absolutely needed to close one you would want it to work right now. 

The final project for the day was to replace the pump and motor on the master stateroom head.  It’s a fairly complex little setup – the motor actually drives two centrifugal pumps.  The first pump draws raw water in from the ocean and circulates it around the bowl.  The second pump sends the “stuff” back to the holding tank.  In front of the second pump there is an additional rotating knife to make sure the stuff all goes through the pump.  All of that assembly fits under the toilet so you can possibly imagine what a joy it is to change.  We have been lucky enough to have both heads give problems simultaneously so I bought a complete replacement assembly for one of the heads & parts to rebuild the two assemblies.  My plan is to rebuild the one I just took out, swap it into the guest head and then rebuild the pump out of that head to keep for a spare.  I’m really glad I didn’t choose plumbing as a career.

Absent the little adventure with the genset discharge we would absolutely be leaving here tomorrow.  My guess now is that there is a 50/50 chance we will leave tomorrow.  We have the parts coming overnight from Seattle.  I’ll put them on as fast as they arrive but then we’ll be at the mercy of the Travelift to get back in the water & I’m not optimistic.  If we were sitting here first thing in the morning waiting to get launched that would be one thing but trying to get that to happen starting at noon seems difficult.

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