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April 8, 2006, Badalona Marina

Morning sail with Virginia. A sunny Saturday with a moderate southern breeze. On leaving the marina we immediately noticed how the engine had to struggle hard against the wind and the boat advanced extremely slowly. It's clear quite a lot of fouling must have been accumulating on the propeller over the last months, making it rather inefficient. I will have to fetch my diving gear and do a bit of underwater scraping (unless I manage to schedule a haulout soon).
We sailed around for about three hours and then returned to the marina. Motoring improved a little as fouling got slowly washed away. I was a bit worried about the engine's reduced reactivity when approaching the pontoon with the wind from behind, but I managed to stop the boat perfectly in its berth.
Tomorrow more sailing.

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Starboard Winch Island
March 26, 2006, Badalona Marina

Same job as two months ago (see previous post). Only this time with an even more flawless result. Practice makes perfect!

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Bilge Pumps Setup
March 19, 2006, Badalona Marina

According to this excellent article on bilge pumps on, the recommended bilge pump capacity for a 32ft boat is around 4000 gph. For a single deep keel bilge like on Iris, somewhat less would be acceptable. Iris was equiped with a ridiculously small 360 gph Rule pump, which is way too small. Moreover, I had been recommended by Franck Ibanez who sailed his Centurion 32, Winnibelle across the Atlantic (see side links), to install sufficient pump capacity. The Centurion 32 is low on the water and can take in large amounts of water when waves strike the cockpit. Also when it comes to serious trouble, like a broken stern tube (as happened to Winnibelle), a 360 gph pump will not save the boat.
A decent bilge pump setup was hence a priority project. I replaced the submergible centrifugal Rule 360 pump with another one four times that size, a Rule 1500. This pump discharges through a 25mm hose to a through-hull above the waterline at the stern. I installed an automatic float switch and connected it to a separate switch panel of three positions: on, off or auto. In series with the Rule pump, in the same discharge hose, is the manual cockpit pump (see previous post of June 2005). The Rule 1500 pumps straight through the manual pump, which acts as a non-return valve. In turn, the manual pump now uses the Rule pump's pickup strainer.

Additionally, I installed a second self-priming diaphragm pump (middle one of the above pictures; see also last week's post), which discharges through a 19mm hose also at the stern above the waterline. Both hoses are looped at the end to prevent taking in wave water. The diaphragm pump is installed in the engine compartment with a pickup strainer in the deepest part of the bilge. It is capable of running dry and removing every last drip of water from the bilge. See also this "Bilge Water Blues" article. The float switch which automatically engages the Rule 1500 is installed slightly higher (on top of the pump). This way it will only be used to do the big work when necessary, while the diaphragm pump will do most of the common bilge "drying" (rain water leaks, etc). The latter one is operated manually from the main switch panel in the galley.

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Bilge Clean
March 12, 2006, Badalona Marina

The last two weekends I dedicated to Iris' deep keel sump. I first degreased and cleaned the bilge and then applied two coats of white Danboline bilge paint. A great product.
I also installed a new self-priming diaphragm bilge pump high and dry in the engine compartment with a pickup strainer in the keel sump. This pump can run dry without risk and is able remove nearly all of the water from the bilge, where a centrifugal pump typically leaves a couple of centimeters of water, and even more can flow back from the filled hose after the pump is turned off.
I intend to install yet another high-capacity submergible pump. I will describe the whole setup in a later post.
Finally I cleaned and desinfected the flexible 150L freshwater tank that hangs in the keel.

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Don't step on my blue suede... cushions!
February 25, 2006, Badalona Marina

Wow, Iris' interior is like new with her new upholstery. All seat cushions are wrapped in perfectly tailored, blue suede fabric. Looks very luxurious now. The name of the company who made the upholstery? Well, I call her Mom. A thousand thanks, Mom!

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