The worst of the long days of winter in the PNW have passed, we are getting teasers of summer sun in April, and things are looking up. November to March is a hard time in this part of the country…made better by cruising, friends and cocktails, but we all look forward to later sunsets and weather that beckons the windows to stay open. Logan has been venturing outside to watch the ducks and seagulls and catch a few rays of sun. Although our organizational projects aren’t quite getting to where they should be, some upgrades and repairs have been happening!
We have a new Dickinson Newport bulkhead diesel heater to replace the 40+ year old non-functional heater that came with the boat and was attempting to set us on fire. As upgrades go, this is a big one! Logan and I can now hang out on a mooring ball or at anchor in comfort! The one down side is that for there to be enough draft the chimney needs to be 4 ft tall from the top of the heater. Technically that worked out to about 10″ above deck, but the reality was, that for the fuel to not burn too rich I still needed more draft so the chimney is about 33″ above deck. We obviously can’t sail with this in place, so it needs to be detached and capped while sailing. Aesthetically…looks awkward. Fortunately it’s pretty easy to remove and cap, and the cabin is a nice 70 degrees on the first setting, burning very little diesel. This definitely puts us back to a more mobile situation in the colder months. The Caframo eco fan is an extra bonus! I had noticed these on other people’s boats and was amazed at how powerful and quiet they were, using only the heat generated by the stove – what a great idea! http://www.amazon.com/Caframo-800CAXBX-Limited-Original-Ecofan/dp/B00P8E14K8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460955116&sr=8-1&keywords=caframo+ecofan+original Another new trick I learned from S/V Cambria was to use Sterno to get the initial fire going which heats the cup. This was something I would never have thought of and it made my life so much better!
Rubigale upgraded to two new house batteries due to the fact that the old ones were 1. old, 2. I wrecked them because I didn’t know what I was doing. Thank you JM for helping me with that. We decided on some lower maintenance sealed batteries, which are a bit more expensive, but in the long run it will likely benefit both myself and the batteries. The engine battery still appears to be in good shape despite my ownership.
Two new scuppers were carved into the toe rail (thank you AS) and you should see the water flow! Rubi may sit differently now than originally designed due to her water tanks and anchor chain, and the water doesn’t drain well to the back of the cockpit and quite a bit sits at the beam rather than going further aft where the two original scuppers are located. We are still battling leak issues (from above, not below!) so anywhere I can avoid water accumulating is a good thing. The scuppers are a rough cut that need a little sanding to make them look like the others, but I have a feeling deck drainage will improve right away and hopefully less green will collect there.
I finally replaced the manual pump for the head and changed the joker valve a couple of weeks ago. I had dreaded and procrastinated doing this job for a year. The situation was dire. It took forever to get anything to go down and the pump was very stiff. Wait 5 seconds and some of what you pumped came back for an encore and brought along its own applause.
Finally, frustration won out over fear and dread. It turns out that the re-build kit for a Jabsco pump is almost the same price as a new pump. Buying the whole pump saved me some disassembly and replacing of rubber bits. There’s a great Jabsco youtube video online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0wxX2789F8 that I watched twice and went to work.
I had to replace the joker valve and the flapper which were not functioning properly due to a calcified toothpaste consistency goo that was present after only a year ( I had all the sanitation replaced before I moved aboard). The edges of the valve weren’t making contact which was allowing all of those encores and burps. I’ve done the vinegar overnight trick, and I wonder what would happen if I hadn’t. There was more in the start of the tube just past the joker valve but it was still soft enough to wipe away. I’m happy to say that with the exception of a little blood (which happens if I even look at a hose clamp) everything went well. (Yes, I wore gloves) The worst part was actually disconnecting the hoses, and the Jabsco video give a recommendation to save you from doing one of them. In the end I did need to use a few seconds of butane torch to soften the hose. For something I put off for so long – it was actually quite easy and makes life on board just a little bit better. Joker valve is on 6 mo list.
I scrubbed the layer of fur off the rudder last weekend, and the whole bottom is due for an inspection and wipe down next week. I’m sure we won’t notice that 0.01 knots we gain in speed (mostly because my knot meter died a slow death of condensation over the last two winters), but it’s always nice to have a clean bottom!
Next up – a power wash to get the wintergreen off (I will never chew that flavor of gum again), recaulking of the toe rail, and with some help, rebedding all the bow hardware. Then some clean up and reorganizing in the leaky quarterberth.
Spring isn’t all chores….we had a great sunny sail last Saturday and I got to try out my new hammock on the bow on Sunday. This weekend Logan and I sailed to Blake Island and caught the last mooring ball. A little later our neighbors came around the corner and rafted to us and it was a nice relaxing night and a great sail today. Thank you April for taking pity on we poor Seattleites. Please put in a good word for us with May.