27 April 2022

I started the day with 8 projects...

There's a famous old boatyard saying: "I started the day with 8 jobs to do. I finished 5 of them. Yay! Now I only have 12 left!"

This steady accretion of jobs happens for lots of reasons, most of them grim. But sometimes just by happenstance. In today's case, a job got added simply because the faucet I installed yesterday happened to come with a soap dispenser. Now, this is something I would never buy for a boat, but as I was about to toss it into the trash with the faucet box, I thought, "Well, why not?"

Soap dispenser installed

Of course I didn't have the right size hole saw (it doesn't seem to matter how many I collect. There's always one I don't have), so I had to make a quick run to the hardware store, but otherwise it was a nice simple install, and I think it will be a handy addition to the galley. We can dispense with the pump bottle held in place by the piece of bungie cord that we inherited from John & Gill. Nice.

On the grim side of the ledger, I discovered that one of the sink drains was leaking. Turned out to be a (very) old hose clamp that just wasn't doing its job right. The clamp was completely corroded so I couldn't even loosen it to get it off. Luckily there was enough room on the hose to fit another one. Second extra job done. 

Extra hose on left-hand drain pipe to stop leak

You might think it's odd that I'm spending so much time on the water system, but if you think about it, there are only a few things that really need to work to get across an ocean: keep the water out, keep the rig up and sail driving, stay on the boat, and make sure you don't run out of water. Food too, but mainly water. 

Continuing on this fascinating topic, it was nearly time to commission the water system after the winter lay up. This means flushing the anti-freeze out of our four water tanks. Luckily, I was able rope Helena into doing this job: put 5 liters of water into each tank, pump it out, repeat until the water runs clear.

When that was done, I had to replace our two under-sink water filters for the season. Having completely re-built this filter system a couple of years ago, it's a relatively easy job. I use a 20 micron coarse filter, followed by a 5 micron carbon filter for taste. We also filter the water on the way into the tank, so the hundred gallons of water we carry on Petronella tastes great right out of the faucet. 

The main trick I have to share about our water filters is to coat the threads with a bit of silicon paste. And to change the filters every 3 months. Also, only hand-tighten the filter cases. The biggest problem I've had with this system is having the filter cases freeze shut. I dislike working with my head under the sink, so I try to keep the filters easy and fast to replace.

Under sink water filters

Coating the case threads and o-ring with silicon goop, 
to make it easy for future-you to get them off again.

Meanwhile, Helena was hard at work removing the calcium from our many zinc anodes. She does this with a round-brass brush and a hand-drill. I won't say it's fast or pleasant work, but it needs to be done.

Helena doing cleaning zincs. Eye and dust protection a must!

But she's not the only one with nasty jobs to do. I was still thinking about water, this time, black water. The sending unit on our holding tank stopped working towards the end of last season. It seems to be an electronic problem, because cleaning it didn't help. There's no way to fix it, so I need to find a replacement. I will spare you the gritty details, but this is what the top of the sending unit looks like. What is a sending unit, you ask? It's the thing that tells you your holding tank is full. Yup. "Real boater stuff"™. 

Sending unit with green tape. 

I had to measure the size of the hole in the top of the tank, the tank thickness, and other details I might need to find another sending unit. 

Finally, I had to run to Chesapeake Light Craft to pick up the sail kit for our new dingy, an Eastport Nesting Pram. I've rented a storage unit that I will use to build the kit. Hopefully we will have a few days relaxation before departure to try out this cute little sailing dink. 

And that was another day.

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