Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chasing water

Some home projects kept me from heading to the marina until just after lunch. But one of those projects was to go by the bank, get the last check for Nomad certified, and then stop by the Post Office to get said check on its way. By my lights that makes Nomad officially ours, so it was a good day to be on the boat even for just a little while.

It appears that chasing leaks is a full time job when it comes to boats. At the start of the afternoon I knew I had two. I thought I had them both stopped but as it turned out I was only half right. One is fixed. The other not. Working on those two I found two more. One of those I did get stopped but the second appears to be at the back of the engine; heat exchanger for the water heater maybe? I don’t know yet, but I am 2 for 4 in the leak department today. Which means I started the day thinking I had just two leaks, fixed two leaks, and ended the day thinking I have two leaks.

I also found a problem with the bilge pump system. The float switch that turns the pump on automatically should the water level rise had come loose, it would just rise right along with the water and never turn the pump on. That would be bad. It was an easy fix though and it gave me a chance to get friendly with the bilge pump and associated hoses. And I am here to say the bilge water really is some pretty disgusting stuff.

The day ended with a bit of a dilemma. I had walked around the marina to see how many boats were left on shore power. There were only a few, the rest were clearly unplugged from land. That made sense. Should the charging system go weird overheated batteries are as good a way to start a fire as any. (Boat fires are a real concern; there are fire extinguishers everywhere in a marina. Nomad has three and I am thinking of adding one in the cockpit.) But the bilge pump runs on the batteries. Should the boat develop a leak and the pump start running hard to keep the water down, those batteries would eventually fade away. Which would let the water rise, which would lead to that thing I mentioned before about getting to the dock to find only a mast sticking out of the water. Fire or water, which is the bigger risk? In the end I decided to risk flooding to fire. Nomad’s hull is solid and the thru-hulls closed. The only water in the boat is the 40 gallons or so in the tank, and it is already on the boat so it can’t be enough to make her sink. Even if the tank split and flooded the inside of the cabin the boat would still float.

Things one doesn’t think much about on land.

Deb made it to the boat after work and brought dinner. She is pretty comfortable with the alcohol stove, (think giant sterno cans) and dinner, sitting in the cockpit as the boat tugged at her lines, was fabulous. If there is a better way to spend an evening I haven’t found it yet.

I'm off to FL tomorrow and we have a trip to Indy this weekend. (The big news isn't the boat but that Kristin and Brian have a house!) For the next week or so Nomad will have to fend for herself.

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