Sunday, August 6, 2017

Summer in Baltimore - 2017

Aug 1 thru Aug 6

--Blogpost written by Bob

Upon reflection of our recent road trip to Maine, we both agreed that Maine is beautiful and has perfect summer weather (virtually no humidity and rarely reaching 80 degrees).  A statement that our friend, Tom, made while we were there sticks in my mind--he said, "Almost no one lives aboard boats here (meaning in marinas)."  So, Maine seems to have great cruising grounds but poor liveaboard marinas (unless they are in Portland which we did not visit on this trip).  In the marina where he & Karen live aboard in Rockland, the marina charges them $1.75 for each use of the shower in addition to very high slip fees (for a very short 3-month season--mid-June to mid-September).

A marina in Belfast, Maine.  Slips seem to be primarily
for transient boats or boats kept on moorings 

that come in just to load and unload.


We discovered a problem with our galley sink drain before we left on vacation and, of course, it was waiting for us on our return.  The galley sink drains are original and are now almost 35 years old.  The threaded brass stem that transitions from the sink drain to the tailpipe in the drain piping was extremely corroded and cracked completely through causing a significant leak under the sink every time we used the sink.

This was the best of the two threaded drain sections--the
other one fell into two pieces.

On Tuesday morning (August 1), I picked up two (short shank) kitchen sink strainers and new PVC tailpieces to replace both sink drains (we have a double galley sink).  I was able to salvage the PVC header below the galley sink and reuse it but it took some extensive internal cleaning (using Spray-nine cleaner and the dock hose).  (I didn't need the new PVC tailpieces I purchased.)  I replaced the old black rubber gaskets with new red silicone gaskets.  I found a trick to getting the drain connections to seal properly--you have to tighten both drains simultaneously (with the drain hose disconnected while leaving one of the sink strainers slightly loose).  Then, tighten the sink strainer and, then, reconnect the drain hose as the final step in the assembly.  This repair consumed a couple hours in the early afternoon.  As boat projects go, it wasn't that bad.  I expected that I would have to build a new PVC drain header.

One of the new sink strainers I purchased to replace the old ones.
I'm glad they turned out to be still commercially available.

I picked up the bow guard plate that was made for us by Kato Marine.  It will be installed during our annual haulout later this month.  It is constructed from 3/16-inch thick type 316L plate and highly polished.

This 3/16-inch thick bow guard plate is intended to fit over the
upper portion of our boat's bow to prevent the anchor
from digging onto the fiberglass when the
windlass is accidentally pulled too tight.


Today (Wednesday, August 2) we did lots of errands in Annapolis.  Even though our boat is currently in Baltimore for hurricane season, most of our summertime life occurs in Annapolis.  There is virtually no liveaboard community in Baltimore, at least not in our marina.

Our outboard motor saga continues.  Fawcetts, who have had the motor for six weeks now, have concluded that the problem is a stuck intake valve and they are (finally) working with Yamaha to determine if the repair will be covered under warranty.  Related to this issue, I found out today (after inquiring) that the 100-octane aviation gasoline we used exclusively (because it's ethanol-free) is considered to be "low lead" but is not lead-free.  Of course the engine was designed for lead-free gasoline.  I'm not sure how this plays into the engine problem and warranty repair but I'm not going to use aviation gasoline again in our outboard motor.


Maggie left for Houston this morning (Thursday, August3) to visit her son, daughter in law, and 3-year old grandson.  I am remaining here in Baltimore to cater to our cats' needs (we are actually their slaves!) and to do some more boat work (I'm a slave to the boat too!).  We've had intermittent thunderstorms today which have prevented me from starting to refinish our teak toe rail.  It was a good day for reading though.


My project for the day (Friday, August 4) was to evaluate an old (SHURFLO-brand) fresh water pump that I had kept after installing a new one (maybe two years ago?).  I really can't remember what was wrong with it.  My intention was to buy a repair kit to bring it up to spec and keep it onboard as a spare.  So, to check it out, I hooked up a long electrical cable, leaving one side of the power connection loose so that I could turn it off and on near the pump.  I set up the pump on a wooden cutting board over our galley sink with hoses attached to both the inlet and the outlet.  I used one galley sink as an inlet water source and the other as a discharge area.

This is a simple operational test setup with the inlet hose
in a sink full of water and the discharge hose
directed into the other galley sink.

I ran the pump (SHURFLO #3901-0316) and it seemed to operate just fine.  I then crimped the hose tightly to close off the pump's discharge and the motor stopped just as it should.  Since I couldn't identify anything specific that was wrong with the old pump, I ordered a replacement valve assembly (part number 94-706-02) since this is the most likely part to fail.  As soon as it arrives, I will replace the valve assembly and store the pump onboard as a spare.

I realize that it doesn't sound very scientific to simply replace the valve assembly (when it appears that it is OK) and call it complete but the other option of not replacing the valve assembly could be cause for concern if we are in the Bahamas when the current pump fails and we can't easily order parts.  The electrical pump is the only way we can get fresh water out of our onboard tanks.


Today (Saturday, August 5) started out as a beautiful cool, very windy, but sunny day--like a typical day on the Chesapeake Bay in mid to late-October.  The forecast is for similar weather for the next 5 days!

I decided to refinish the teak trim around the companionway this weekend.  I've used Sikkens CETOL on the exterior surfaces and EPIFANES varnish on the interior surfaces.  So, the interior and exterior have to be done in completely different steps and I have to apply at least four coats on each surface, sanded between coats (since there is already a substantial base coat).

I use Sikkens CETOL (natural teak) on all my external
teak--it looks almost as good as varnish
and it lasts a lot longer.

I got two coats of CETOL on the companionway frame today.  The dark blue tape you see around the companionway teak is 3M #471+ which is a plastic tape able to withstand rain and sun exposure that my occur between coats.  It also holds a good edge and doesn't allow the CETOL to bleed underneath the tape. 

Tonight I experimented with my low-carb diet by making a (low-carb) ham stew--it contained cream of celery soup, diced onions, diced mushrooms, chopped ham, and some fresh peas.  While some of these ingredients (like peas) are relatively high in carbs I simply used less of them and more of the items that were low-carb.  My dinner only had 9 grams of carbs.


On Sunday (August 6) I continued to experiment with new low-carb foods by making a breakfast quesadilla containing two eggs, two slices of gouda cheese, and low-carb tortillas that we bought at Trader Joe's a week or so ago--my breakfast only had 5.5 grams of carbs.  (On the Atkins diet the maximum daily carb intake is 20 grams in the first stage but I had trouble with this few carbs and increased mine to 25 carbs.  I'm simply losing weight at a slower pace.)

My low-carb breakfast quesadilla had
only 5.5 grams of carbohydrates.

I took advantage of the cool overcast day to get another two coats of CETOL on the companionway frame.  I called it quits after 4 coats on top of the existing base coats--it looks great!  I pulled the tape off and applied it in the opposite direction so that I can now coat the internal surfaces with varnish.

Stay tuned for more of my "caring for an aging sailboat" and other experiences...

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