Saturday, December 19, 2015

Stuart noise

Stuart, FL. Many people have told us good things about Stuart FL. We have been here four nights now, and one thing not mentioned is how loud it is. There is a train track that runs right past the marina off of which Kintala in anchored, a very busy train track. A train track that is as busy at night as it is in the day. There is a lifting bridge that the trains use. Every time the bridge is about to close for the passing of a train, day or night, a loud horn sounds to warn boaters that the bridge is closing. It sounds three times for three times. Then the train comes.

The Stuart anchorage, complete with derelict boat.

There are a couple of roads that cross the train track right around the marina. Roads that require all trains to blast their horns as they approach, day or night. Trains have very loud horns. There is also an airport near by, though the passing aircraft are not nearly as loud as the passing trains.

The anchorage itself is much better protected that it appears upon arrival. There is a long fetch of water off to the WSW, but it doesn't appear to be deep enough to support any serious wave action. Artificial waves are pretty much the only kind that rock Kintala, complements of the large fleet of deep-v-hulled sport-fishing boats that pass through these waters on the way to the ocean.

Living on a boat goes a long way to fostering a live-and-let-live attitude, except when it comes to deep-v-hulled sport-fishing boats. There is something about the way they assault the water that lingers, with short-period, steep-sided wakes rocking our world whenever they pass. Someone suggested there is a turn in the river that is just right for focusing the passing wakes; don't know if that is true. What I do know is that even the bigger boats in the marina where our friends on Kokopelli are getting some rigging work done, dance like mad several times a day. From where I live it appears that deep-v-hulled sport-fishing boat drivers suffer from a genetic disorder that prevents them from either slowing down or looking behind them to see what havoc they wreak.

I was on Kokopelli the other day, helping to install a transmission after a seal leak lead to an overhaul. One of those wakes hit while I was below. Access doors got to banking back and forth, drawers slammed in and out, and round handled tools went rolling. I was glad the tranny was already bolted in place. For a while, during its install, it had hung precariously over fingers and toes as Brian and I worked out the 3-D Chinese puzzle that always seems a part of getting drive train parts in or out of boats. And Kokopelli is tied securely to a dock. My guess is getting fingers bashed by wake-tossed transmissions isn't something they mention in marine mechanic's school.

Speaking of which, I'm just assuming there is such a thing as a marine mechanic's school somewhere in the world. There isn't much evidence of it where marine mechanics have been. Take, for example, Kintala's old oven. It has been around long enough to have experienced the laying on of many pairs of repairman's hands. LPG stoves use brass flare nut fittings to keep the gas from leaking into places no one wants the gas to go. Brass isn't all that stout so a special kind of wrench is best used, appropriately called a “flare nut wrench”. I know about flare nut wrenches. Mechanics who work on cars know about flare nut wrenches. (Often used in brake systems.) Crane mechanics know about flare nut wrenches. The service reps for our brand of stove even know about flare nut wrenches. They specifically asked if we had some on board when they heard we were working on the stove.

Marine mechanics, on the other hand, don't seem to know about flare nut wrenches. More than half of the fittings needing undone to replace our defective mercury switch wouldn't take the proper sized flare nut wrench. They had been distorted by the use of common open end wrenches or (more likely) the misuse of adjustable wrenches. (Maladjusted adjustable wrenches will mangle even hardened steal nuts and bolts, and have rightly earned the nick-name “bugger wrench”. Brass fittings don't stand a chance.) Eventually I managed to get all of the fittings off, on, and tight enough to keep the gas from leaking into places no one wants gas to go. But it took three tries. And the next time the fitting on the mercury switch needs undone, I suspect it will be the last. I am a pretty fair hand with a wrench, but that poor little fitting has been bugger-wrenched nigh unto death.

(Yes, I am assuming work done to Kintala's stove was done by marine professionals. Most of the boat owners I know are shy of working on anything having to do with LPG. Deb gets nervous when I work with it. The stuff does have a bad habit of going “boom” if things are not done properly. Getting a “pro” to work on LPG systems isn't, on its face, a bad idea at all.)

For now Kintala sits quietly in Stuart, stove and oven fully functional, some other small items fixed. We are taking a bit of a break from moving nearly every day, and Stuart seems a good place to rest and catch up on some broken boat bits.

Even with the noise.

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