Wednesday, March 21, 2012

List of Things To Do Gets Longer

  I thought that the closer we get to our planned departure the list of things that need to be done would get shorter but this doesn't seem to be the case.
  One of our boat neighbors strung together enough water hose over the weekend to run from the freeze proof faucet at the entrance to our dock all the way to the end where are boats are, so when I made a trip to the boat yesterday I had no excuse to not wash the boat for the first time this year. A "quickie" boat wash still takes close to two hours but drying was not a high priority with close to 30 M.P.H. wind gusts helping out with the blow drying.
  I began the de-winterizing process too by filling up the water tank and opening all the water outlets to chase the RV anti-freeze out of the lines. The proper way to "pickle" the water lines is to bypass the water tank altogether, but that method involves some equipment that I no longer own, so I used my older, less efficient technique which makes rinsing out the water tank more of a chore. During my rinse of the water lines I discovered that my #2 fresh water pump wouldn't run without tripping the breaker, and my primary pump would only run for a short time before it too would trip the breaker. That's the way I left things yesterday before I left the river to pick up Rosie from work, so I was able to tax my brainpan all last night as to the cause of my problem.
  Knowing that during the winterizing process last fall required running the water tank down to empty, my suspicion is that some debris in the bottom of the water tank has probably clogged up the strainers on the inlets of both pumps.
  Easy fix, right? Just clean out the strainers and I'm good to go. Well, yes and no. A few years ago my accumulator tank sprung a leak and needed to be replaced. The accumulator tank is an inline pressure tank that prevents the fresh water pumps from starting and stopping with every twist of the faucet handle. Think of it as a surge tank with a small volume. A quick hand rinse, or one toilet flush, usually won't make the pumps activate. The accumulator tank on our Sea Ray was installed at the factory on the starboard hull side, on the outboard side of the water heater, fuel filters, both water pumps and one battery. Think of this as a "remote location".
  A coincidental service appointment at the time prompted me to request that the tank be replaced since some nearby work on our trim tab pump had to be addressed. We got the boat back and I wasn't too thrilled to find that the accumulator tank had been relocated. The relocation resulted in a more accessible tank but put it in the way of some other equipment. I lived with this arrangement for a couple of years, but last year I relocated the tank again, but not to its original spot where a trained monkey would be needed to get to it, but still a better one.
  Now, this better spot put the tank in the way of a quick check of the inlets to the strainers on our fresh water pumps, something I knew when I did it, but I figured I could move the tank out of the way as needed. Yesterday I found first hand how one little mistake can snowball for you. I decided that a total revamp of this one area of the engine room was in order.
  I plan on installing our water maker next month when we move onto the boat and I can have all day to do the installation without interrupting my work to go home, or go drink beer. The watermaker installation will require some rerouting of water lines anyway, so I've decided to switch the accumulator tank and the water pump locations as the accumulator tank doesn't need the attention that the water pumps do. I'll have a report about this job as I go.
  Yesterday was not a complete bust though. I did get the boat washed as I said, and I completed the hookup of our Roku box. A Roku box is like an X-box, or other device that allows you to stream movies or T.V. shows from the Internet to your T.V. I hooked up the box last weekend, but was dead in the water when I went to try it out. I couldn't find the remote for it, and the remote is the only way to turn this device on and otherwise control it. I thought I had packed the remote with the rest of the Roku accessories when I unhooked it to take to the boat. I was ready to order another remote last night when I checked our video cabinet at home one more time to find it hiding way back in the corner of the cabinet, planning on an escape at a later time I guess.
  Once I got everything turned on and I entered the code to the local WiFi, I was able to access the Roku channels. Not only does Roku offer some free movies, we can watch Netflix instant movies too with a subscription. The key here is to be on a local WiFi network and not use the data transfer minutes on our MiFi device installed on Swing Set as two movies or so would eat up the 5 gigs of data transfer we get per month. AT&T brags about thousands of free WiFi hotspots all around the nation. We will see.
  Karl Kotraba came by and took inventory of some things I wanted him to replace when we get Swing Set back in the water from a new bottom painting we are getting done at Bloch Marine next week. We're getting a survey done for insurance purposes too, so we don't want the boat tore up for that.
  I also mounted a bracket to hold our new iPad on the bridge to use as a redundant chartplotter when we are in a 3G area, or WiFi for that matter. The bracket is made by RAM and is a solid mount with the ability to tilt and turn just about any way you'd want it too.
  Rosie had purchased some "hanging shelves" that I was able to stick into one of the lockers in the master stateroom. I'll find out next weekend if she likes my work.
  For now, I'm finishing up this blog post, gathering up Holly, dropping Rosie off at work, and heading to the boat to contemplate my next move to solve my water pump issues. We have to make ourselves scarce this afternoon so a real estate agent can show our condo again.
  It's getting to be crunch time.
  One last note, I don't know if one of our boating friends was being funny or trying to ruin my day last weekend when he reported diesel fuel at over $8 per gallon when he was down there recently, but I checked and price was still below $5. Our theory remains, the higher fuel gets, the more we sit at anchor between trips, hopefully at an AT&T hotspot.

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