Capn Andy/extreme heat
30 June 2012 | Bodkin Inlet/Chesapeake Bay
Yes, we are working on the "back end". The head pumps out just fine. The inlet doesn't. Back in the stern, where the holding tank and water heater are located, the fittings on the water heater were leaking whenever any of the faucets were opened. After all, the water system only pumps up pressure when a faucet is opened, and then it will leak wherever there is a leak. It looked like the problem was that the hose we are using is too rigid to conform to the barbed fittings on the heater. If it is so rigid, why not thread it so threaded fittings could be screwed in?
Working on the head made me think it wasn't maintaining its prime, the inlet piping was draining out and leaving the inlet impeller high and dry. I found it did work if I forced water into the line into the pump. I decided to add a one way valve to keep water in the line when the pump was off. This did not fix the problem. The specification of the head is that it will lift water 4 feet and pump out up to 4 feet high, plus the inlet pump was self priming.
I found the lines to be clear when I flushed them. Then I noticed the inlet pump had leakage at its spigots, the semi rigid hose was allowing air to come in on the inlet side and water to spray out on the output. Fortunately this pump merely feeds water into the head, it wasn't spraying out "bleep", just water.
The semi rigid hose was sleeved with some soft PVC to try to help seal the barbed fittings. This obviously did not work well after the PVC thinned over a period of time.
The idea of tapping threads into the end of the semi rigid hose didn't work, because it was too flexible for the threader to bite into the plastic. The previous cob job with PVC and silicone had worked for a while. I had some leftover tubing from the galley plumbing and it was thicker than the failed PVC. Also, the Permatex #2 sealant that fixed the steering cylinder so well was available for use.
The water heater lines were terminated with some of the leftover galley tubing and sealed with the Permatex. It would have to cure for a few days. The head inlet pump was sleeved with the same tubing and clamped and worked great. Now the head pumped out properly and the inlet sprayed the bowl properly.
The inlet of the head was drawing water from the sink/shower sump. It's possible to spray down the head/shower space, it will all drain to the sump. There is a float switch to turn on a sump pump to pump the water overboard, and if the float switch doesn't work, there is a manual switch to force it to pump out.
The problem here is that the sump pump stopped working. I partially removed it, but didn't continue with the repair. I was going to replace the pump.
I had to find out if the pump was defective or if its electrical circuit was at fault. I found its fuse had blown, but replacing the fuse didn't help.
When I opened the bilge to look at the pump, it was disconnected, but laying in the bilge with all the water from the sump. The pump is a cheap Harbor Freight water pump with stainless fittings, but the electrical end of it is vulnerable to corrosion and has to be kept out of water. I had to replace it.
The float switch was also defective, it was intermittent and if it failed to turn the pump on, the shower sump would overflow into the space where the pump is located. Then the pump would be flooded and fail. It is not a submersible pump.
The float switch mount was modified so that the switch would turn on at a lower water level. Now the system was tested, the water from the sink and shower drain went into the sump and the sump pump would turn on and maintain a proper level in the sump. When the toilet was flushed, it pumped into the holding tank and drew shower sump water into the bowl. The last remaining item was to hook up the water heater hoses, but I wanted them to cure for a few days before hooking them up.
Fortunately the weather forecast was for a heat wave, including temperatures over 100 degrees. Surely that would cure the water heater hose fittings. Work was suspended for a few days due to the heat wave. The first day was 99 degrees with a heat index of 107. A weather alert for heat exhaustion was issued. Another alert in the evening was issued due to a violent line of thunderstorms coming from the west packing hurricane force winds. When the wind velocity was forecast at up to 90 mph, I decided to go down to the docks and check up on things.
The winds were building along with lightning and a few drops of rain. Then huge gusts of wind began breaking limbs off of trees and scattering loose items. Down at the docks I was surprised to find Kaimu had broken the stern line and was just hanging on by the bow line. The neighbor boat was heeled right over and the wind was very strong. Captain Kris' big full keel ketch had let loose its roller furler part way and the genoa was ripped and flapping. The trimaran at the other end of the docks had its mainsail loose, torn and shredded on deck.
I tripled up the bow lines on Kaimu and hoped the dock piling would hold during the storm. I rolled up Kris' flapping sail and tied off the furling line. Rain was beating down now and it was around midnight. The power went out and a tree was down across the road leading to the docks.
When I returned in the morning, the neighbor boat was caught on the starboard side under the dock. There was a severely bent stanchion and one of the spinnaker pole chocks on deck was ripped right out. Captain Kris came down and took off his roller furling sail and debated whether it could be repaired or not. I left messages on the other captains' phones about the damage at the dock.