Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fixing Things and Five Miles An Hour

It seems that as this trip goes on, I have spent alot of time repairing things. It took me forever to actually complete repairs on the windvane, which was the first thing to sustain damage on the trip. I suppose in all reality that repair took a total of 40 days, but it finally got finished, and in the end the unit sustained even more damage on the way down, so needed more work that I had originally anticipated.

Then there was the heater, which I have cleaned, babied, cursed, and cleaned again, rebuilt the pressure pump, added a secondary pressure pump, all to no avail - it still burns roughly, flaming up smoking up the cabin and covering it with soot. I think the burner is just old and needs a new jet or even just a new burner.

Then comes the stove. The cleaning jet and needle assembly stripped out a week or so ago, and even though I have gotten the bad burner working, and can cook on both burners again, it is not working as well as it could. I have found a supplier for replacement parts, but am putting off that purchase for a while.

Of course I next discovered that the injection pump on the engine - the part that feeds fuel to the cylinders and makes the engine run (on a diesel the injection pump takes the place of the carburetor, and the totally explain would require a long post on internal combustion engines, but this was not good) - was leaking precious diesel, dumping it into the bilge, not only making a mess but also wasting money. Fortunately I was able to fix this by removing the lines, cleaning the fittings and re seating them.

Next came the raw water pump on Thursday night. I knew it had been leaking, but that stopped, and then resumed - with a vengeance. If I was not a boat mechanic, and figured out what it was, I just might have panicked and assumed that I was really really taking on water. I was, but not through a hull fitting or sea cock which could have been very bad. That problem was compounded by a bilge pump that was not working at all, and is now working at a much reduced capacity. I had parts on hand for the raw water pump, but I am definitely going to have to replace the bilge pump.

What is next? Who knows. I know whatever it may be, I have the skills to fix it, hopefully I will have the parts I need, or at least can afford them and find them nearby. So far, over all I think I have been fortunate, so many of Arden's systems are original and thus 32 years old, and have been performing pretty well.
Last night I began the Great Florida Boat Cleanup. As I am now a bit warmer, and don't think I will need the heater much more, it is time to attack all the soot that has accumulated in the boat, mainly on the overhead surfaces, but there is a bit of it on everything. In addition to that there was the diesel in the bilge, which had sloshed onto the deck boards. So last night I pumped out the bilge, it is now totally dry and clean again, and I washed down the floors so I will not be skidding around and slipping every time I go into the cabin. Later today I will begin to wash the over head (ceiling) and the bulkheads (walls). I will do a section at a time, and I figure in a few days the boat will be presentable again.

As for the Five Miles an Hour. If you went to Yahoo Maps, or to Mapquest, for directions from Solomons, MD to Fernandina Beach, FL you would be told that your journey would be 702.12 miles, and that it would take about 11 hours and 20 minutes. That is at some average highway speed, probably taking into account town, speed zones, etc and is fairly accurate. With the 2 side trips I have made, I have traveled about 927 miles in 45 days, with a few layovers, a couple of stops, and a visit or two. But the reality of it is, I am traveling at an average of 5mph, and there are times when it seems that at the end of the day, I have gone 40 or 50 miles in total, but only making 20 or 25 miles of progress south. That is the nature of sailing, and the problem with traveling in the ICW. Imagine driving to town, or the mall, or taking a trip, at 5 miles an hour. Would it drive you completely bonkers? No such thing as road rage out on the water, but, there are times when you just wish you were already there.
On Tuesday I will leave Fernandina Beach for St. Augustine, a hop of about 55 nautical miles. It should take a bit more than 10 hours, and I will leave at day break and hopefully be in before dusk. I am putting off leaving until Tuesday because I want a good wind, not too much wind, and seas that are subsiding. We had one heck of a front come through last night, it was not bad at anchor, but the winds were over 25 mph, and the ocean was running at 4-5 feet. It will calm a bit tomorrow, and then is supposed to be great on Tuesday. I'm on no set schedule, so Tuesday sounds good to me.

I have found a great coffee house here in Fernandina, The Amelia Island Coffee House, you buy a mug for $1.50, you get refills all day, and they have great internet. So here I am, drinking coffee, blogging, and having a great day chatting with the staff. There are also quite a few historic homes here, nothing nearly as old as some of the houses in SC or NC, but old none the less, and quite interesting. Maybe I should do a photo gallery of the various houses and buildings I have photographed so far. I'll post more when I have more....

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