We continue to follow through with some of our planned projects. Being so nice around here it is really hard to get anything done! We plan on leaving as soon as the completion of certain projects allows us. The last major item (yeah right) seems to be based around the installation of about 300 watts of solar panels. We still need to decide on the proper panels and the charge controller so we can go ahead and get everything ordered online. I think the hardest thing about this install will be getting the panels mounted on the back stanchions. The electrical wiring should be a breeze.
Now for a little update on our previous engine overheating issue. I diagnosed it and found a coolant leak and followed it to the front of the good old iron genny. I figured it was a blown water pump because of the area. Having so many little projects to get done I decided to call in a pro and get a second opinion instead of just tearing everything apart. Steve from Sea Pupp marine showed up bright and early and we started up the engine. He immediately saw what I was talking about and agreed it was the water pump. It was leaking from everywhere it could be leaking from – bearing seal, outer seal and weep hole. He said it had to have been going on for a long time. I wish the previous owner had disclosed the situation. It is not very expensive, but really can leave you in a bind if and when you are out on the water. Especially if you are in the middle of the famed “Rock Pile” on the ICW. Luckily I ignored everyone’s advise when we took the boat out and went South instead of North which would have had me overheating in the middle of the rock pile. NOT the place you want to shut down the engines and drift!
I ordered the new pump from TOAD Marine and it was delivered in 24 hours. The people at TOAD Marine were awesome and were very knowledgeable about parts compatibility. The Westerbeke water pump is listed at about $560 but the equivalent part from Perkins was only $157. Westerbeke uses a Perkins block which Westebeke really just “marinized” themselves. Having so many projects on my mind, I decided to just let Steve from Sea Pupp Marine go ahead and do the install. He was in and out of the engine room in about an hour and a half. He is a bigger guy but was still able to get to the front of the engine and do the dirty work without a problem. I just couldn’t be bothered. If I was in a more stable situation with a home port and such I would have tackled it myself, but it felt good knowing it was being done by a pro considering I am about to put the engine through some major motions motoring 400+ miles down the ICW to Florida.
Next up, I was driving our big ass Chevy Suburban around and started hearing a noise coming from the power steering pump area. I found a great mechanic online here in North Myrtle Beach and brought our “other boat” in to get checked out. It ended up being a high pressure hose going to the power steering pump. Major leakage to say the least. So I let Larry at GT Auto put a new one in. Larry was great and drove me back and forth to the marina when I needed the ride. There must be something up with me and pumps these days. Two issues in two weeks!
Now for the spare anchor chain and rode, all 190ft of it. One of the shackles and plastic eyes was all jacked up and in definite need of replacement which entailed splicing in a new eye to the three strand line we had. The shackle was so corroded there was no way to unbolt it from the chain using just a wrench or plyers. On one of our drives I decided to stop at Harbor Freight and pick up a vice. Every sailboat needs a vice on board if you ask me. I mounted it to a small remnant of some thick pressure treated board so that it is portable for anywhere boat use. I stuck the shackle in the vice while Shawna helped hold everything still, then I took a wrench to the shackle and… voila! The shackle pin released. If you don’t have a vice on-board, get one yesterday!
Now for the tedious part. The old eye was spliced in. So we cut the rope clean, got the new galvanized eye out that we had bought and proceeded to splice it in. The splicing went well. We only had to back up one of the tucks once. Things get pretty confusing as I am sure you could imagine. The splice came out great and I decided to melt the final loose ends with my butane torch. There are other ways to whip those ends of course, but the torch was quick and easy so it was a done deal. We attached it to the chain and stowed the whole thing away… ready for its intended use when needed.
I should mention that before we fixed the anchor shackle, Shawna and I made mounts for our spare potable water and diesel jugs that we purchased at West Marine. We decided to go with pressure treated board mounted to the stanchions. After a bunch of cutting and drilling we mounted everything up and strapped on the jugs. This boat is looking more like a cruiser every day!
Soon we will be testing the engine more under load and also need to do more experimenting with the inverter that we installed a little while back. We need to simulate motoring and anchoring conditions to see what kind of power we will be really drawing from the batteries. There is going to be a lot of computer, VHF radio, iPad and phone charging underway so we really need to be sure everything is up to snuff.
The work seems to never stop getting S/V Deosil ready for running the ditch to Florida, but all we can do is keep on keepin’ on!