Sunday, May 7, 2017

Into The Blue

We spent three nights on the dock at Harbortown Marina in Ft. Pierce. Ostensibly we took a slip so that a local canvasmaker could do an estimate on our enclosure, but we stayed an extra day after meeting him so we could do boat projects more easily. We did make some headway on those boat projects - starting with giving Windbird a much needed dousing with fresh water - and buying needed stuff on Amazon and researching Annapolis-area marinas...but we also sat around doing nothing for quite a bit (at $75/day!). In all honesty I've been in a bit of a funk since we crossed from Abaco. I really enjoyed cruising the Bahamas and wasn't quite ready to come back. I'm excited to head back to the islands this fall but know there's a ton of work that needs to be done in the meantime, and a bewildering array of details that need to be sorted.

Today we got off of the dock and my mood improved markedly as soon as we were swinging at anchor. I'm just not a marina person, I guess. This afternoon I tightened the bolts on the stuffing box - it had been dripping at a faster-than-average clip, and is now back to normal. It was just repacked in Charleston & I figure I'll repack it again this summer. We also had a slow diesel leak from our low-pressure fuel pump, but on closer inspection it appeared to be a bad hose clamp - one of the only clamps on the fuel system I hadn't replaced with ABA (not sure why not). I figured I'd let it sit a bit to make sure it wasn't leaking before bleeding the system, and started a new project after a late lunch: tracking down the fault in the wiring to the V-berth portside light and fan. They haven't worked since we bought the boat, and I had previously traced the problem to the forward head aft bulkhead. Today I tried finding where that wire reemerged, and eventually found it once I took apart a few panels of the salon's ceiling. That revealed exactly where it went through the bulkhead, and by removing a single small trim piece in the head I was able to extract the bad section of wire and use it as a pilot line to run new wire.

I used heatshrink butt connectors for the spices and covered those with heatshrink tubing once I was done, so I had to use the heat gun which requires starting the engine (to avoid the inverter placing a high load on the house batteries). So I went back and bled the fuel system real quick, had Dawn start the engine, and noticed an unusually high vacuum on the Racor gauge. Aww, not this crap again! I turned back to the project at hand and finished the wire splices and mounting the light and fan, then went back to the engine compartment. I tried bleeding the system multiple times, and every time the vacuum quickly rose to the 5-9" Hg range (yellow cautionary range). Then I noticed the fuel pump still leaking, and this time it was clearly from the pump itself. By now it was 7pm and I realized that if I wanted to replace it today, all the nearby auto parts stores would be closing. So we loaded up the dinghy and headed to the marina, where Dawn walked Piper while I took uber to a nearby AutoZone. They didn't have a diesel-approved pump so I went across the street to Reilly Auto Parts. They didn't have the part but a nearby location did; they said they'd bring it over in the morning just in case I needed it.

Back at the boat I decided to reassemble the fuel system without the pump. It's really just a convenience item to make bleeding the system easier and allow for fuel transfer & polishing. While I was at it I figured I'd replace the Racor and secondary fuel filters. Well, the Racor filter was pretty filthy. It's been a few weeks since I looked at the Racor vacuum gauge and even then it was a little elevated so perhaps a dirty filter was partially responsible. But mostly I think it was air getting in through the leaky pump. In the absence of our low-pressure pump I bled the system using the little manual diaphragm pump lever on the side of the fuel metering unit, which works just fine. When I started the engine, the gauge was back down at its normal 1-2" Hg figure. Excellent.

The reason there was some urgency to fix the fuel system tonight was because a pretty good window has opened up for going north - maybe way north, all the way to Little River, South Carolina. We decided to not get our enclosure replaced in Ft. Pierce and will likely do it with Sharp's Canvas in Georgetown SC. They can't start until after memorial day, so the current plan is to return to Lightkeeper's Marina, keeping the boat there during a 9-day international trip I have starting May 17th. If we can go all the way in one shot, it'll be just over 400 nm, so far the longest passage we've done. Departing tomorrow at 9am, we'll have light & variable winds for the first few hours, then light northerlies to motorsail against for about 24 hours. After that winds are forecast to fill in from the west and then the southwest all the way into the weekend, making for a potentially pretty sweet ride to the Carolinas. If that's the case we should arrive sometime Thursday. That said, an unusually persistent low parked off the east coast of the U.S. is making the forecasts a bit more shaky than usual, so we'll be listening to Chris Parker every day (he'll be giving us a customized forecast based on SPOT positions we'll send each morning) and if the window starts collapsing we can duck into St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach, Hilton Head, Charleston, or Georgetown.

I'll try to write blog updates on passage, but with our HF transmitter (and by extension, pactor modem) still on the fritz I won't be able to post them until we get back into cell tower range. I'm looking forward to our first multi-day passage, and actually so is Dawn. There was a time when she balked at the idea of any overnight sailing but has come to actually enjoy it over the course of our seven overnights thus far. And we have a 3/4-full moon, which is a pretty sweet bonus. Now we just need to catch some fish! We actually bought a good trolling rod and red (a Penn Senator Special) at West Marine the other day - thanks Mom & Dad for the birthday money towards that. So I'll have that and the handline out at all times, and hopefully will see some results. I wanna get really serious about fishing on passage. I'm sick of all sorts of delicious sea-creatures practically jumping into friends' boats while we get skunked.

If you'd like to track our progress, we'll be sending out updates every day at approximately 5am and 5pm. Here's a link to our SPOT tracker page.

1 comment:

  1. شركة تنظيب بجازان
    عزيزي العميل عندما لا تجد حل اكيد لتنظيف شامل لكل أركان المنزل الذي تسكنه ومهما قمت بالتنظيف فأنه في النهاية لا يكون بالشكل المناسب وتترك أثار من الأتربة في بعض الأماكن حيث انه من الصعب الوصول إليها تواصل على شركة تنظيف بجازان وسوف نعمل على تنظيف اخطر الأماكن ومنها واجهات الشقق المرتفعة والعالية والتي لا يمكن التخلص من أتربتها بالطرق التقليدية فمع شركة نظافة بجازان نوفر الرافعات التي تقوم بعملية التنظيف بكل سهولة .
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بجازان
    المنازل التي لا تكون جدية التهوية فان الحشرات تسكنها ولا تخرج منها بسهولة حيث أنها تتكاثر داخل المفروشات وفى كل أركان المنزل وشقوقه وعليه يجب التواصل مع شركة مكافحة حشرات بجازان حتى يتم القضاء الفوري على تلك الكائنات الضارة وتحت إشراف عدد كبير من الفنيين لدي الشركة المتخصصين في مجال الحشرات يتم تنقية المنزل من فضلات تلك الحشرات وأثارها بطردها نهائيا وعدم عودتها مرة أخري .
    شركة عزل بجازان
    أفضل شركات العزل هي التي تقوم باستخدام أشكال متنوعة من العزل بين العزل المائي والحراري والفوم وعزل الأسطح وغيرها ومن ضمن الأفضل شركة عزل اسطح بجازان حيث أن المتعاملين مع الشركة شهدوا لها بالخبرة الكبيرة في مجال العزل من خلال الخبرة العالية التي يتعامل بها طاقم المهندسين وأيضا الفنيين المؤمنين بان الجودة هي أساس تصدر الشركة وليس الأسعار وعليه فان هدف شركة عزل بجازان هو التوسع والتجديد التام من الخدمات التي يطلبها العملاء .