19 May 2018 | Pension Tiare Nui
Very tired Bill
The first news is that we got the starboard fuel tank cleaned, and obviously I survived. To all of the well-wishers and advice givers, thank you. I opened the tank and had much less fuel than I had remembered: poor notes and a poor memory, no doubt. I had purchased the purpose-made fuel transfer pump but didn't even start it, having only 3 gallons to remove: I used our small hand pump. The tank itself was VERY dirty with microbial corpses. I used the recommended non-spark-producing rubber scraper and paper towels (lots of them) to clean the tank. I made no headway at all on the tank surfaces beyond the baffle so we'll have to trust in luck. I do wish to think all of you who warned me about the hazards of diesel fuel fumes.
It occurs to me that my friend Andrew told me once that our blog was "unfiltered" and I guess that my discombobulation the other day is evidence of that. So be it. It was a discouraging few days and that's how we both felt. We were unable to complete several critical tasks and most things that we tried added to the list of tasks unaccomplished.
Yesterday was a bit better. On Thursday, Conni and spent most of the preparing to caulk the mast collar, the ring of stainless steel that surround the mast as it penetrates the deck. A "mast boot" seals the mast to the collar but we finally ascertained that our severe leak was between the collar that the deck. She had caulked it, but had to prepped the work sufficiently. After conferring with me, she went to work with sandpaper and acetone, spending several hours on the task. I agreed to apply the sealant a Sika product unavailable in the US, so unknown to us. Oddly, we received no rain on Thursday night, but Friday night it rained as hard and as long as I can remember and the area around the mast was bone-dry this morning. Way to go, Conni!
Our teak decks are screwed to the fiberglass deck, and the screws are countersunk, allowing a teak plug to seal the hole, The "bungs", as they're called, often disappear, for some reason and they need to be replaced. I've taught myself how that's done and replaced 4 of the things today.
Conni erected the dodger, the covering our the companionway. She ran a few halyards, and the main sheet. She worked for hours on removing the blue masking tape that was applied during the varnishing. It's laborious and hot work.
One of my other main tasks was to replace a loose screw in the gooseneck. The gooseneck is the metal fitting that hold the horizontal boom to the aft side of the mast. There are 4 machine screws and one was stripped. I removed the other two easily but the fourth and final (what is that always the case?) remained tightly stuck, even with banging from our impact wrench. It was part of our despondency yesterday, and I worried about how to remove it. This morning, an inspired thought: We're trying to securely attach the boom to the mast and I've got a very tight screw. Why would I loosen it? So, I left that one alone and tackled the loose one. I'm replacing a 5/16 machine screw with a 3/8 one, so I had to drill the boom (the gooseneck fits into the end of the boom, so the boom is outside it) to 3/8, then switch to a 5/16 to drill the old threads in the gooseneck to tap size. Naturally, I had to haul out the Honda generator to power my working drill, but it's what one must do with 110VAC tools in a 220VAC world. My new 3/8 tap was done with the job in 30 seconds. A 3/8 machine screw is a hunk of stainless! The head is so large the it won't seat perfectly on the curved surface of the boom, but it'll work and its strong.
Our remaining frustrations are the leaking propane system and the wind speed gauge. I'm sure that at some point, we'll fix the propane leaks, but I think that the wind speed system is probably out for the duration, even after a factory repair this season. We've got an ocean crossing this season and having wind information would be, you know, helpful.
I'll get a page posted on the site, tonight or tomorrow.