Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Sailing Season Is Here Again!

The cover is off! The cover is off! The cover is OFF! Man, is that a great feeling or what? Sure, the boat's a mess and needs cleaning in the worst way, but real live sunlight is coming in all over! Man, oh, man.

Today it's cold and drizzling, which is ok because we need the rain and it is April, after all. I figure I'll stay nice and warm in the boat, catch up on my reading and writing, and nap and so forth.

While I'm drinking my first cup of joe, the bilge pump came on. That's ok - it does that once in a while because the rudder packing gland leaks. I'm working on that. But worse, in a couple of minutes it comes on again. And a couple of minutes later. And so on.

Well, this needs investigation so I looked into the bilge and I see water running into it at a pretty decent rate. Ok, everything out of the lazerette so I can see if the rudder packing has gotten worse. Nope. Check the dock side water fitting that I put in last weekend (see below), and nothing's leaking there either. Investigate the bilge some more and see the water is coming down the side - not the center as I'd expect from the rudder post.

Well, it turns out the hot water heater is right near there. I opened up the locker and hey! voila! water is spraying out of the cold water line to the heater. Turns out whoever plumbed the original tube in just loosely put on the hose clamp - enough not to leak at pressure of the water pump but not the shoreside water pressure. Not only that, but they put the hose on a pipe nipple as opposed to a hose barb. No worries - I loosened the clamp, slid the hose up another two inches, tightened the clamp, and added a second behind it. Problem solved. And boat is still floating.

Now, about the shore-side water fitting. I love them! It saves filling and managing the tanks when living aboard. Moreover, you always get clean water at a regulated pressure so no worries about running out of water when all soapy... and the piping will provide the cold water side of the cockpit shower.

I did this once on Inertia (and in the process flooded the battery charger by not tightening all the fittings before applying water pressure...oops) and was happy with the whole installation. This time, however, because I may plumb it so I can fill the tanks with water, I added a filter inline. The water comes through the regulator via a standard hose, goes through the filter and connects to the cold water side of the water heater. It's all done with flexible plastic tubing and fittings that are easily and inexpensively acquired at Home Depot. Since it's good enough for a house, it's good enough for a boat.

One of the great tools for doing this job is the Rigid Flexible Tubing Cutter - it's like a pruning shear except with one very large blade. The plumbing fittings require square cut ends to work properly - this tool holds the tubing square before cutting. The blades (very sharp) are replaceable. It's cheap and totally worth it for cutting any kind of plastic tubing. Highly recommended.

My new mast pulpits have just arrived - hopefully this weekend I'll be putting them on. Expect a full report!

I hope to get out on the water the weekend of May 9 - maybe I'll see you there!