Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fireworks and fixes

Friday night started off with a bang -- literally.

Our marina friends joined us on the Seahorse for the Friday Night Fireworks in Kemah. We motored out and anchored just in time. I'm happy to report that both the steaming light and the anchor light worked the entire time.

Off to the east, there was a lightning show almost as impressive as the fireworks, but thankfully it was moving north instead of toward us. However, Saturday morning the rain started coming down and didn't stop until late in the afternoon. That killed our plans to sail out to Redfish Island and back.

Since we were stuck inside anyway, I made a run to West Marine for some electrical connections and new hose clamps, and made it a work day. Job #1, find out where the holding tank was really leaking.

My first move in regard to the holding tank repair was to just change out the hose clamp. After a week of stressing about it, that seemed like the most logical place to start. Unfortunately, I had to spend almost an hour blindly cutting foam off of the hose and out from between the tank and the hose. Then I spent a very long time attempting to get a socket or a screwdriver or pliers or ANYTHING on the screw of the old hose clamp. It just wasn't going to happen. No matter which way I contorted myself or how many different tools I tried, I just couldn't get to that screw.

On to plan B: add another hose clamp.

I had to spend even more time scraping foam off the hose to get a smooth enough surface for the new clamp. Then I had to completely open the clamp, force it around the hose, and get it connected again all with one hand. It took a few minutes to accomplish this. However, with about 18 inches of socket extensions, I was able to lie on my chest on top of the v-berth, reach in through the lower access hatch with my right hand to hold the clamp, then work a ratchet with my left hand through the top access panel. Not the most comfortable position, but eventually I got the new clamp in place and tight -- and then TOO tight.

With the socket driver, and all the extensions, I couldn't tell how tight the clamp really was. I accidentally stripped out the first one. Luckily, I'd bought two, although I was really upset at myself for ruining a $5.99 stainless clamp.

I took a short break and then started the lengthy process again.This time, when the clamp finally started getting tight, I removed the socket driver and just twisted it tight by hand.

Problem solved

Then came the test. I put a bunch of blue tank treatment in the toilet, so that should the leak remain, it would be very visible.

Ten minutes later still no new water. An hour later, still holding. Problem solved!

From now on, I will keep a very close eye on the holding tank level, and next haul out, that entire system is getting updated. Having the pump-out connection at the bottom of the tank is not smart.

Once the poo problem was conquered, I was feeling much better about life, so I finished running the wiring to the v-berth bilge pump. With that pump working, I just have the back-up manual pump to install.

Then I wired in a block of 12v DC outlets for phone-charging and appliances while sailing.

New 12v outlets

I'd had the 3-outlet plug sitting in the boat in a box for over a year, but until the windows were repaired, the shelf where I wanted it to sit had a tendency of getting very wet. However, it's now wired and fused with its own switch on the control panel. In fact, now that I have several 12v plugs, I think I may remove the old horn as my VHF is very loud without it, and mount a small 12v  television in its place on that bulkhead.

Maybe a TV is too fancy. I should probably order my spinnaker halyard and sheets first.
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