Tenth weekend of the refit..


Look, we're sailing!!

Well, ok, we're motoring, no jib or forestay.

We motored the boat over to the slip it is to live in. Boat's in slip, mast's in driveway, things can slow down a little.

I was really nervous about motoring the boat anywhere without the sails as backup. Especially with an engine that hadn't been run in about seven years. I had visions of things like loosing power and ending up on the rocks etc.

We talked about bringing Spit-N-Bailingwire as an emergency tow boat. The problem with Spit is, I don't trust its engine any more than the sailboat's. Who would end up rescuing who? So Spit was left at home and we just hoped for the best.

Everything turned out fine and a good time was had by all.

Some poor sailboat we saw that did end up on the rocks. It was right at the entrance of the Alameda estuary. I wonder what the story is here? Not a very clear picture, I wasn't about to get closer to get a good look.

When we arrived in the morning to pick up the boat, Julie hopped on board, went below, came back.. "The water is up over the floorboards."

"Oh no! What now?"

The packing gland, which is supposed drip very slowly, had a steady stream running out of it. No, I didn't replace it when I had the boat out of the water. Yes, I feel really foolish about that.

We pumped the boat out, and tried to fix the leak. But, we were missing the proper tools. So we just ran it over to the marina and went to dinner.

After dinner, feeling more and more guilty, Andrew & I went back to fix the packing gland. We had to get some sort of wrench to turn the packing nut. So there was a last minute stop at West Marine to see what we could find. The tool we bought was completely useless. That would be the silver one in the picture. Its a Packing Nut Wrench. "Pah!" Total waste of money. We struggled and sweated and finally gave up. I vowed that I'd come up the next morning with the proper tools and fix it right.


The next day I was able to swing a babysitting deal with the neighbor lady. She wanted to get her hair done the day after. After calculating driving times there was a 30 minute window for working on the boat. I was gone!

The gland nut was, of course, frozen solid. What to use for penetrating fluid? It seems that this PB Penetrating Fluid is everyone's favorite these days. Now, if I was to go into a store, without talking to anyone beforehand, this would be the LAST thing I'd buy. Just look at the label. It looks like it was designed by a snake oil salesmen. They go on at length about how great it is 'cause it can melt a Styrofoam cup. Err, who cares? There is so much promise and hype.. Red flags everywhere!

It worked.

Smells for all the world like gasoline and orange food coloring. A couple shots of this stuff, bang the nut with a hammer on a screwdriver and it came free. I had to really tighten down the gland nut to slow down the flow. In the end it was down to about one drip every two or three seconds with the engine running and prop turning. That was the best I could do.

One lucky thing came out of the second day's run. Now, having shore power, the boat had been plugged in and charging over night. Checking the batteries the next day, I noticed that the voltage was up to about 16 Volts. "Yikes!" This is a bad thing. The batteries are Gel Cells and must never be charged this high. It kills them. I think 14.7 Volts was the max allowed. Yet another item on the "Must fix list".

The mast?

Oh yeah, the mast. Well.. Its been a really slow week. Lot of rain etc. And, ok, I've been really lazy on that bit. Its about 3/4 stripped of its paint. The spreaders are actually all cleaned up and ready to refinish. I was talking really big about completing the mast this upcoming weekend but, of course, its supposed to rain for both days. I have to buy the paint and stuff as well.

Where do things stand now? The boat is sitting in a marina slip with no mast. It needs quite a lot of cleanup. The mast is waiting for me to get off my lazy behind. I've not talked to Glen the rigger since the Florida race week. I guess he's probably getting ready to do the rods. The engine runs fine. It looks like the main bank of batteries are Ok and took a charge. I've not tried charging the little emergency starting battery yet.

And, for now, that's it.

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