Sunday, November 11, 2012

Windy weekend

When we sat in Kintala in Chicago trying to decide if she was The.Boat, one of the things we discussed was whether we could get her on Carlyle Lake safely so that we could work on her while we still had jobs and learn to sail her where we knew how to sail. For the most part this has worked well for us. With the exception of the mast raising debacle and the occasional low water levels on the lake, this plan has worked for us. The only time we really can't sail safely is when the wind is howling like this weekend - 35 sustained gusting to 45 - because the space we're on at the dock doesn't allow enough engine speed to get steerage before one hits another finger pier or other people's boats, making it impossible to get off the dock. Once out we would have no problem, but a 42ft boat in a 30ft marina makes for some tricky departures. We've had a lot of success with using various dock lines to maneuver the boat into position with dock cleats, but depending on the wind direction and speed, this process can sometimes take 2-4 people on the dock to help with lines and this weekend everyone was too busy taking advantage of the warm temps to do their winterization, so we decided to follow suit.

Saturday we spent doing the engine degreasing project that Tim has wanted to finish so he could chase down a couple oil leaks, a more involved project than one would think because of having to dispose of the wastewater up the hill (good) rather than pumping it through the bilge pump into the water (bad). Many trips later the engine is as clean as old paint can possibly look, and the major oil leak is located as spewing from under the valve cover, the gasket of which will need to be changed soon. The pan underneath as well as the bilge in general were all cleaned out and new oilsorb mats installed under the engine.

Today, after a lazy morning of coffee and conversation with The Assembled at the clubhouse we tackled the winterizing. Three water tanks, one holding tank, one air conditioner and one engine later, we finished dousing our Beloved with the Dreaded Pink Stuff. Have I ever said before how much I really hate this stuff? We finished just in time for the cold front to move through, bringing with it a healthy drop in temps and the promise of snow after midnight. Yesterday we were lounging in the cockpit in 73° and tonight we have snow. You gotta love the Midwest...

We did also manage to cross another item off Tim's list. Ever since we bought the boat he's been hitting his head on the oil lamp that someone with a twisted sense of humor thought to hang directly over the engine compartment access panel in the aft cabin. After the 100th time of hitting it again, down it came today prior to winterizing the engine. It's a beautiful oil lamp but we just couldn't find a place to put it so it's going to start a new life on a friend's boat.

All in all it was a good weekend. Projects crossed off the list, some good time spent with friends, some lounging in the cockpit and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. And as clich├ęs often go, this one is too true - any day on the boat is better than a day at work.


Latitude 43 said...

You guys are always busy. I'm stuck in NY feeling guilty about boat neglect. So I'm making a list of projects for the winter.
What did you clean your engine with? I plan on a degrease job when I get back, but not sure what to use. Please don't say a toothbrush and a spray bottle.


Deb said...

OK I won't say a toothbrush and a spray about a bottle brush and a pump-up garden sprayer?

We used Gunk gel engine degreaser, sprayed it on and brushed the really dirty spots and then rinsed it off with the cheapo $8.99 pump-up garden sprayer that holds a gallon. It worked great because it was enough pressure to get the dirt off but not enough to hurt electrical connections. We used the hottest tap water available. After we were done we used a shop vac to suck up the bilge so we could properly dispose of the waste water. The really discouraging thing was that we only ran the engine 15 seconds to draw in the antifreeze into the raw water inlet and in 15 seconds we had a big ooze of oil out of the valve cover. You know how it goes - one project ALWAYS leads to multiple others on a boat lol.

Robert Salnick said...

I will bet that you guys are looking forward to keeping Kintala in a climate where "winterizing" is an unknown word.

Valve cover gaskets always seem to leak. To minimize this, always clean and degrease the sealing surfaces on the underside of the valve cover, and on the head. If you have clean, dry surfaces, the valve cover gasket will bond so tenaciously that you'll curse it while you work with a scraper the next time you tear down the engine.

s/v Eolian

Deb said...


My guess is that no matter how you install it, a valve cover gasket will leak after 31 years and since we all know how well this boat was maintained I'm sure it's the original gasket. More fun :)

Robert Salnick said...

Hmmm... after 31 years, no doubt indeed. And while you have the valve cover off, you might as well do the valves... after 31 years they probably need it.


TJ said...

...and that's how easy it is to add to the To-Do list. You're right Bob, setting the valves has been added along with fixing the oil leak...and painting the bare spots on the engine...and replacing the engine control cables...