Miami Vice Grips
13 December 2010
With that fuel problem we had, I determine that I'll need to get the fuel cleaned or "polished" and not run the risk of an unreliable engine in our anticipated winter in the Bahamas. We are able to access just about any service here at Crandon Park and I get the name of a guy who does fuel cleaning. He agrees to come on Sunday and we then have to make arrangements with the Marina to bring Sea Sharp into a slip where he can access her with his equipment. The Marina folks are very cooperative and find a convenient slip for us to use for this procedure. The bigger chore is accessing the fuel tank.
The cleaner guy will need to be able to get into the fuel tank where he will remove all of the fuel, run it through filters to remove the offending stuff, spurt it back in under high pressure, thus dislodging the junk obviously inhabiting the nether regions of the tank and repeat this several times.
Sounds easy but the tank is way aft under a deep cockpit lock which, along with bushels of gear is occupied by my propane locker. I installed the locker so I know all of the intricacies of dismantling the rigging, exposing the tank and removing the large inspection plate which I had actually made in anticipation of just such an eventuality.
So on Sunday, this chore becomes Bob and my brunch date. We hope to do this expediently because the winds are supposed to come up in mid afternoon and sometimes it is hard to get out of a congested marina and back on the mooring under windy conditions. Judy and Carolyn wisely clear out and head into the village as the boat will look like a disaster area during this procedure.
I have to purge the lazarette (fancy name for locker) off all the detritus we've stored there then dismantle the propane system. I spend an hour upside down in a confined cubby hole getting everything ready. With Bob's help, I have the locker cleaned the tank exposed and the inspection plate removed. I had just filled the tank up so there's fuel right up to the top and any rocking of the boat slops diesel perilously close to our cabin. Heaven help me if I got smelly diesel on Judy's new nautical sheets and bedspread!
I siphon off five gallons and then wait for Oscar, fuel polisher to arrive. As promised he arrives about 11:45 along with his pal, Chris. They've got a big, honkin' truck with large tanks and many hoses.
As they are pulling up, the Assistant Harbour Master (read Assistant Trailer Park Supervisor (although he looks more like Lahey than Randy)) comes running over waving his hands and shaking his head! You can't do this in this yard ! You can't do this on Sunday! Etc. Our two intrepid polishers are not put off and convince him that we've obtained permission for this.
These two fellows are huge; probably over 300 pounds each so getting into the locker for them is not gonna happen. So I'm the one who has to manage the hoses. It quite an operation but very effective. We suck all the fuel out spray it back in and repeat this procedure. They assure me that my fuel is now clean and problem solved.
It takes a while to get the stuff back on board and the locker back together and as soon as we can, we cast off, back out and head to the mooring. By this time, it's blowing hard and it's a good thing we timed this as we did.
The girls get back, and we have a pleasant, if blustery late afternoon. We eat on board and watch Sea Biscuit this evening.