16 August 2020 | Raiatea Carenage
William Ennis | Hot
We're slowly reducing the tasks on our collective lists.
Yesterday, Saturday, I worked on re-installing our new fuel return manifold. Diesel engines accept less fuel to the engine than they can burn and use the excess to cool the fuel injectors and lubricate pumps, and that fuel has to go somewhere, so it's pumped at low pressure back to the tank.
For reasons that I've never understood, the single fuel return line from the engine was separated into two return fuel lines, each of which took a different route back to the tanks. With two fuel tanks, we have a set of two hand valves with which we can route that returned fuel to either tank, effectively redistributing the fuel. At any rate, one of those two return lines was redundant so I removed it last year. With one return line gone, I needed to re-configure the return fuel intake manifold from two to one return. Unfortunately, I had to remove the entire unit and take it home for replacement since I couldn't remove any parts: they were long since frozen in place. I brought back the pieces and reconstructed it with (what I hope is) good sealant. When that was done, I crawled back into the man cave, reattached the manifold to its old location, and reattached the fuel lines for port and starboard fuel tanks, and the now-single return line from the engine.
When we return from the boat, we just can't immediately buy all of the stuff that we need to buy. The delay means that I often forget exactly what each purchase is supposed to do. I do take notes for that very purpose in my "buy book", but in the rush to put the boat together at season's end last year, I evidently didn't provide enough information. When I finally got around to the fuel manifold, I bought the parts to match the manifold that I removed, with hose barbs for two return fuel lines. I also forgot to check the sizes for all of the hose barbs, so after buying identical parts, I had a replica of a now-obsolete system! Holy smokes! I had to remove, tear down, and rebuild the manifold, then realized why the hose clamps were so tight on some hose: someone had used 1/4-inch hose barbs rather than 5/16-inch! I had to repeat the poor workmanship to prevent leaks of diesel, but I do have on my 2021 buy list to but the needed parts and I'll have to rework this damned manifold again.
I also got the Racor primary fuel filter unit torn down and cleaned, including a new filter. I checked the cleanliness of both starboard and port fuel tanks. Starboard was empty but still had some rust and bacterial sludge. I've been taught by friends and family to take care of diesel fumes in those tanks, so used a rubber scraper to clean that starboard tank. Port had about 15 gallons and looked OK to us.
We collectively and separately completed a few other tasks. As I complete a group of tasks, I return to the mess of tools on the port settee and stow them. Each locker that I close means we're closer to having a livable boat.
Weather permitting, we'll get the main sail on today. We've got to have the forestay loose so that the TraveLift, the odd-looking machine that lifts the boat from her cradle, transports her to the launch slip, and sets her gently into the water, can straddle her length. The boat has to ready to move into her sea life so there will be a lot of gear stowing and deck clearing today.
Of course, if we do make it into the water, our very first task is to check that there are no leaks! The TraveLift actually keeps its lifting straps on the boat as I go aboard and check. If that new depth sounder leaks, it's a simple matter of simply returning us to our cradle for repair. I'm confident in our process, but it's nerve-wracking all the same.
I have no idea where we'll go when we're in the water and no idea when we can post web pages, but we can always use our SSB/Ham radio to post blogs. We'll do our best to keep friends and family informed of our status and location. We'll have to stop in Uturoa, main town on Raiatea, and second largest in the country since we must resupply with food, fuel (diesel for the main engine and gas for the outboard and generator), and ice.