Yes, we are about to take off on a 1000 mile sailing trek, and my partner is busy doing deferred and routine maintenance on the engine and mechanical parts of the boat. You wouldn’t think he’d have time to add a few things to make our life easier, but somehow he did. So here is this season’s view of Boat Improvements.
Deck Wash Down Pump
The first boat improvement he added was a pressure salt water pump that supplies water to the forward deck. It goes to a y-valve so that you can either use the short hose to wash down the chain as it comes aboard or you can use the longer hose for washing down the foredeck (that is where Zoë relieves herself and hauling buckets was getting a bit old). It worked beautifully!
He lectured me firmly after he installed it that it had to be turned off at the switch after being used. He patiently explained that since it was bringing salt water into the boat, and pumping it all the way through the boat from behind the engine to the very front of the boat, you can imagine that if a hose split and the pump was on, it would fill the boat with water. I listened carefully.
Four days later I woke up about 7 and swung my feet over the side of the berth. It took me a minute to figure out what I was seeing. What? What? Why does the floor look so funny? Yup, the floor is covered with 4″ of water, that’s why it’s kind of green and wavery.
“Jon, we’re sinking!” I yelled, not-entirely-inaccurately. “The floor is covered in water!”
He leaped out of bed and ran to turn off the Salt Water Pressure Pump. Later we determined that he had washed down the foredeck the previous afternoon, and had forgotten to turn off the circuit breaker. Then of course a hose HAD split. What can happen, will happen. But let me tell you, that man can move water. Between the bilge pumps which I held in the on position and Jon with a bucket, that water didn’t have a chance. Two hours later we were mostly dry and riding a great deal higher.
It’s interesting that we always thought we’d hear any pump that kept running. But this is a quiet pump, but also since we sleep with 12v fans blowing on us (have I mentioned how hot it is down here?) we couldn’t hear a thing. Don’t depend on your hearing. It can also be very noisy at sea and we wouldn’t have heard them then either.
Bilge Pumps and Bilge Alarms
Well, that little emergency led to an overhaul of the bilge pumps and the addition of a new and extremely loud bilge alarm. And the replacement of an engine starter solenoid that was mounted low enough in the engine room to be the only thing ruined by the salt water during the Big Flood.
He continued with more routine maintenance – cleaned out and repainted the transmission cooler and the engine cooler, replaced the fuel filters and the transmission fluid, adjust the transmission so that shifting gears is easy again. These things are all done in the sweltering engine room while holding cramped positions. Thank you, Jon.
Salt Water Faucet
Our last boat had fresh and salt water foot pumps for the galley sink, and a fresh water foot pump for the head sink as well. Eurybia was more upscale. She came with pressure fresh water in the galley as well as a salt water foot pump. However the foot pump had seized up and we never got it working.
The 1000 mile trip we are contemplating may provide opportunities for refilling our drinking water, but we don’t want to count on that. We have 180 gallons of water in two tanks, plus some jerry jugs for emergencies. Since we can swim frequently we are hoping our showers will be very brief – just to rinse the salt off. We can use our bio-safe soaps in the salt water, then rinse using the sun shower and very little water. We hope.
But a really important way to save our drinking water is to wash our dishes in salt water. The easy way to do this is to have a foot pump for salt water in the galley sink. The luxurious way to do this is to have a pressure salt water faucet in the galley. And that is what my dear partner put in! Doesn’t it look fancy!! Truly a boat improvement!
Have you connected the dots? Yes, this is another shunt off the same Salt Water Pressure Pump that nearly sank our boat. At least we have Bilge alarms now…
As we plan to spend most of the summer at anchor, we wanted a better ladder. Our dock ladder is great – it takes you the two steps between the height of the boat deck down to the dock. However the water is another foot or so below that. And if you ever tried to climb out of the water you know that you need something UNDER the water to start your first step from, otherwise you have to pull your entire huge body out of the water. Okay, your body is fine, but I guarantee it will feel huge if you are 63 and trying to lever it out of the water with one foot raised up to head level.
We found a collapsible metal ladder that would work nicely for underwater steps, but it was too wide to attach to the dock stairs we had. So Jon built a new, collapsible wooden ladder than had wide enough steps to attach the underwater steps to. When we are underway the entire thing can be broken down and stored in a reasonable amount of space.
A boat improvement that makes it easier to go swimming off the boat is a true improvement!
So that’s all that’s been happening lately in the Boat Improvement area. What are some of your favorite upgrades?