Monday, May 21, 2012

My boat loves to surprise me

After being away from the marina for two weeks, I was excited to spend a little time on the boat this weekend. I guess the Seahorse really missed me because she had several surprises for us.

Surprise #1

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It was a mullet!

You have no idea how excited we were to find a sun-dried, rotting mullet in the cockpit. The birds had pecked it apart, and there was quite the assortment of scales, organs and worms clogging up the cockpit drains. If you like the smell of catfish stink bait, you'll love the aroma of sun-roasted mullet guts.

Surprise #2

Upon entering the boat, there was no power -- no lights, no bilge pump -- no DC power whatsoever.

I began investigating and found that the wires to the battery charger had been spliced to pre-existing wires instead of run directly to the breaker. The butt connectors, which were probably only rated for 12 volts in the first place, had turned an odd color green and somehow corroded through the shrink wrap insulators. I cut off the wires, dug out some connector rings, and ran the charger wires to the correct breaker on the fuse panel. Actually I shocked myself, went and turned off the shore power, then came back and ran the charger to the correct breaker on the fuse panel.

Thankfully the lights on the charger lit back up and within a few minutes we had power again.

Surprise #3

The head and v-berth were full of water. The fluorescent light fixture over the sink in the head was full of water. Had I thought to turn the power back off before unscrewing it to drain the water, I might have saved it, but I heard sizzling the second I tilted it to dump the water and knew it was done.

All I can figure is that the rain must have been coming down sideways and leaked in the opening port despite my addition of rain louvers to try and stop that issue. We mopped up the mess and set the v-berth cushions in the cockpit with the mullet to dry.

Despite all the cleaning and emergency repairs, I still managed to get the new spacer on the alternator, which made the Kubota much happier. The drive belt no longer rubs on the freshwater hose or the oil filter flange. At this point I am very confident in the motor. Sure, it took two years to get it sorted, but now it's running great.

Unfortunately, I don't have as much confidence in the stuffing box. It wasn't dripping at all when we left for vacation, but I got paranoid it was heating up too much when I was testing it yesterday, so I loosened it a little, and now it's dripping just as bad as it was when I started. Of course, we were only able to get one wrap of stuffing in it, so maybe now that it has packed down a bit I need to add a second wrap.

The good news is, barring any more surprises, we're ready to sail Memorial Day weekend.
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