Friday, July 22, 2016

Sailboat woes; Keeping the Critters out of the AC System. Corrosion and other fun stuff!

I'm sitting here doing what I do, working on a sailboat. Writing Code, Debugging data, and the Air conditioner shuts down. Now this is the end of July, South Florida in the Keys and it is HOT! Damn HOT! I immediately look up the code on the Unit and it says it overheated due to low freshwater volume. Damn It! I was going to clean that freshwater filter someday. Well, in this heat, probably once a week wouldn't hurt, it has been a month. Not a good thing.

When I open up up the strainer, it is full of creatures. Man, I wish I had the forethought to take a picture. Barnacles, shells, muscles worms, you name it, it was a party of the slimiest kind. The strainer is a simple device, it sits between the freshwater pump and the through hull valve where fresh sea water comes into the pump. 
Seawater Strainer (New and clean)

To clean the strainer, you shut off the pump, close the through hull seacock or valve in layman's terms (if you don't, you flood the boat because this is all under waterline) then you unscrew the container off the bottom and remove the screen. It is all full of nasties so be careful not to cut yourself, I use a knife to scrape out the barnacles and muscles. Cuts from these take forever to heal and can get infected. 

When everything is clean and put back together, you open the seacock to allow water in, start the AC pump and then open a small bleeder valve to assist the pump in priming. This is where it all went wrong today. 

As I opened the bleeder valve, it snapped off. SHIT! I knew it was in bad shape from the last time I cleaned. It was leaking ever so slightly and was corroded. I was going to order a new one... someday! damned procrastination, it turns daily routine into emergencies. Well, now I have to tear the damn thing apart and head on down to West Marine. 
The header with the broken valve. The header splits the water between the fore and aft Air Conditioner units. 

The Pump (upper left) and Strainer (bottom left).

So as what seems more usual than not, West Marine says they don't have the part. This is the story of my life, It is MacGyver time. I buy a brass Tee, a couple brass nipples, a brass ball valve and at $50, I think I can make this work. The original valve if you can see, was just a tee valve with a 1/4" nipple and a small line running to the bilge. I now have a gigantic valve with 1/2 opening and if this somehow accidentally gets opened, the boat will fill and sink. I tink I need to place a 1/2 inch plug in that opening. Just in case. I did remove the handle so it can't get bumped open. 

Here is the final product!

Now that it is all put back together, I open the Seacock, Start the pump, crack open the valve and immediately the pump primes and I am golden. The Marine Air Conditioner comes online and maybe in an hour the inside temperature will drop back in the 70's from the mid 90's it is at right now. 

Chock up another sea adventure to the MacGyver mind. 

May the winds always fill your sails and the sun and moon light your passage.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lost at sea, fighting the Kraken, Brandishing my Saber with the Caribbean Pirates!

OK, none of the above, but I have been awful lazy when it comes to writing. Soooooo...... How long has it been? Seems last time I posted, I had just cleaned a nasty refrigerator and Freezer. Well, A lot has happened since then. Here we are in July, I just flipped the double nickel and we are in the process of selling our house. Commitment! 

How about I do a quick summary, catch you up, then I can write about the important topics in greater detail later.

The Move
So after the incident where monsters grew in the fridge, we had a pretty peaceful existence. Sailing wasn’t every day like we hoped, I do have to earn the Cold Hard Cash. The really cool thing is we started meeting friends and I have to say, the Cruising community is just plain awesome! Everyone is fun, friendly and treats you well. Nothing like the office where they are after something. Bonus points for the Cruising lifestyle! Mark and Jennifer, the two that befriended us first are awesome, Friends for life I am sure. Then there is Dick and Pat, No not the Nixon’s,  Wonderful people with whom we spent a lot of time.

The Christening
We Christened the Boat. I’ll save the name for the actual story but it really defines who we are and what Karla and I believe. Yes, it’s a cliff-hanger!

Traveling
It seems like we are all over the place. In March we went on a huge vacation from Marathon Florida all the way to Cape Coral Florida! Ha! I bet you never met someone who vacationed away from the beach. In April alone we had two weddings both one week apart. We headed to Utah, that’s where much of the family is at and visited, went to Weddings, Spent time with My dad and then dragged his poor tired but back to live a few weeks on a sailboat!

Burning Down the Boat (Almost)
Well, we get Dad down to the keys and fire up the aft (rear) AC unit and boom, breakers blow. Try again and they seem to stay on, right up until we realize the 30 Amp shoreline is smoking and we burnt it up. So we clean it up, off to West Marine (I should own stock in these guys, I spend a fair share of cash there) for a second 30 Amp shoreline to have enough power to run the boat.

Putting the house up for sale
Maryland! We have lived there 22 years. Good god, has it really been that long? The house we are in is 16 years old, well, maybe 13 because it burnt up in 2003. Hmmm, a pattern? Anyway, we are putting it on the market. There are many reasons but the main reason is we just do not need a land anchor that is sucking our funds dry. That’s a pretty good reason don’t you think?

Getting the house ready
Selling a house is…….. well, it sucks! I have sold one and am selling the second. The first was a pain in the butt, this second, It may have been easier to tell them I’ll pay someone to buy it. Basically, that is what I am doing.

Burning down the Boat (Almost), Redux
Laying in bed, well in the aft bedroom chilaxin, as the grandkid says, I smell smoke. Lots of smoke. So I start looking around and the 30 Amp shore service is literally on fire. I have a lot to say here, so this story lives for another message.


Well, that’s my post here for the day, Lets justs say, boat life is NEVER dull!