A Week Out and Still in Oswego
20 October 2010
OK, this is going much more slowly than we thought. We spent the morning trying to figure out what was causing the air in the fuel lines. I took another walk to NAPA and bought 12 feet of fuel hose and we ran it from the inspection port of the starboard fuel tank directly to the Racor filters in the engine room. Turned on the little fuel-polishing pump, and voila, bubbles! We decided there was something wrong with the filters, but didn't know what. The picture shows the offending Racor fuel filters. I also added a picture to the gallery of the galley and nav station areas with the floors opened up and the bypass hose in place. It seems we spend as much time with things torn up like this as with the boat put together.
At that point we called the local experts, the Rookey Brothers. About 2 hours later they showed up, took a look at things, said it looked like our assessment was correct, but they would like to do a vacuum test on the whole system just to make sure. Then they left to go across town to get their other brother (so they said). Another two hours later and they were back. Bud and I were in and out and didn't really see everything they did, but they ended up carefully cleaning the surfaces of the Racor filters where the gaskets fit, applying petrolatum as a sealant and putting them back together. They said they'd come down to the free dock about 7 miles up the canal in Minetto and check on the system. It was after 3 then, there are four locks to go through before the free dock and the canal closes at 5 PM. We decided we should wait until tomorrow as two hours for 4 locks and 7 miles is really pushing it.
The free dock at Minetto is a big deal, because not only is it free, there is electric available. Having electric means we have heat. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and rainy again and tomorrow night it's supposed to snow!!! Heat is a necessity. I know our slow pace will seem much more frustrating in the rain and snow than it did today in the almost warm sunshine.
Amidst our work on the boat, we helped a dock-mate with his boat. It is a beautiful gaff rigged ketch that he built himself. He also sails it solo a lot on Lake Ontario. He was preparing it to have the masts unstepped, and Bud helped him here and there with the sails. He's been bringing it through the canal to Waterloo for the last few years to store it for the winter. He usually has help all along, but this year he was alone for this part. His wife is joining him tomorrow and they are setting out up the canal. They can get to Waterloo in two long days. The masts are down now, and he, too, is ready to go.
After all was done, Bud and I took another walk to NAPA and this time got a couple of replacement belts for the engine (they had them!) and asked about the petrolatum (they didn't have that). We walked back a different way and stopped at the car parts store the brothers Rookey use, but they didn't have petrolatum either. At least it was a nice day for a walk; it must have been over 60 and sunny, though a bit breezy.
When we got back we ran the fuel pump again and again saw bubbles! Many fewer now, and the Rookey boys said there may well be air caught in the lines, from all the messing we've been doing with the system. I think Bud is somewhat skeptical, but we plan to make the run to Minetto and see what we see. So the chances are good that our position will change, at least a little bit, tomorrow. Hopefully we'll soon have things straightened out and start to make steady progress. Winter is coming!!