Going, Going, but Not Yet Gone
30 November 2011 | St. Augustine Marine Center, St. Augustine , FL
Here’s our salon, with Fuzzy in his bed (he’s doing much better on his Prozac regimen), provisions hanging in hammocks and charts and engine manuals all over the table. We’re getting ready to take off, but we might not make it tomorrow. Two things are holding us back.
The first is that the half hour job of bolting the pump motor and piston assembly of our fresh water pump to the bottom assembly that we ordered turned out to be a lot more difficult than anticipated. The assembly came on time, in fact it got here in the morning, rather than the afternoon, as scheduled. However, when we went to screw the pressure switch into the side of it, the hole where it goes was a molded impression, it was neither drilled nor tapped. The part came in a box without any instructions. After cruising around on the Internet for a while we decided that some people use this pump without that pressure switch, so that’s why it wasn’t pre-drilled. We still had the old base and there are two identical depressions, only one of which is used for the switch. So we experimented with drilling and tapping the other one (we actually had the required drill and tap) and it worked. No shattered plastic. However, the new base was preassembled, so we had to take it apart to drill and tap it. We got that done and got it reassembled and then tried to bolt the piston assembly to the top. The bolt holes were molded in, but not tapped. They were blind holes, so they had to be tapped, and then it took a while to clean the cuttings out. So the part of the job we thought would take about two minutes took more than two hours. We hooked up the wires and the hoses and set it on the floor for testing. It worked, it leaked. Shut it down, turned it over and tightened those nine screws again (yes we’d had to take them all out for the drilling procedure). Tried a second time and it didn’t leak. But (there’s always a but) after a short while it quit pumping. This had happened to Bud last year when I was in Michigan, and he knew to tighten a setscrew on the pump shaft. So try again. Now it appeared to be pumping, but still no water pressure. This time we figured out that we were at the end of one of our water tanks and had to switch tanks. Finally, the pump is pumping, switching on and off and the base isn’t leaking. But (yes, but again) now we see a little bit of water around the diaphragm. So Bud took the motor and pump assembly off and I rebuilt the diaphragm assembly using Teflon tape on the bolt and plumbers putty between the washer and diaphragm plate. Finally, water flows where and when it’s supposed to. So we shut the system down, applied the heat shrink to the electrical connections, took the hoses off and put the pump in place and reattached the hoses. Our half hour job is complete in about four and a half hours.
During all of this Gary came down to say good-bye. He’s going to miss watching the ongoing comedy of errors aboard Earendil. (Hopefully said comedy is drawing to a close, altogether.)
We now have about three hours of packing and stowing to do, but it’s almost suppertime and we’re beat. A dawn departure is not going to happen. Then there’s the second issue, the latch parts that were supposed to come in one day didn’t come. They are being sent to our local marine store by mail! So we’ll give them one more day. If they aren’t there tomorrow we will see if they can be forwarded to a marina about four days south of here and pick them up there.
Actually, things are coming together. Yesterday we spent another day in the bilge replacing the two manual bilge pump hoses. These were old and stiff and impregnated with oil. The new hoses allowed us to get the automatic bilge pump hose and switch in a better position. The switch is now flat on the bottom and held there by the other hoses. It seems to work well; we dumped enough water testing the fresh water pump to have the bilge pump cycle.
We also had a diver clean the bottom of the boat and check the zincs. The bottom had just a bit of scum and the zincs showed almost no wear. That is a huge load off my mind.
So you see, we really are getting close.