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Old 15-07-2013, 11:03   #1
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Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

Overall I've been pretty successful living aboard, cruising, being self-reliant....., but every now and then I do something totally stupid. I think there's some catharsis that comes with the confession, so I'm not holding back.

There was a time years ago when I owned a car with a slow brake fluid leak and I kept a bottle of brake fluid to top off my system before the repair. Once I grabbed the bottle from the trunk without reading the label and poured transmission fluid into the master brake cylinder. While driving the next day I attempted to brake and had nothing! Stupid usually strikes me when I'm too casual, quick or distracted.

Once I left the dock early while Nancie was still sleeping by untying all but one bow line and shoving off with that last line in my hand. I judged that I would have enough time to casually walk back to the helm in order to maneuver clear of the other boats, but when I looked up from the wheel I saw that the windscreen was still protected with an opaque Sunbrella cover. Nancie looked out the forward hatch to see why I was frantically stomping on the deck,.... stupid again!

Well, yesterday, casual, quick and distacted hit me again! With a pump out just before our current dock stay and close shore facilities; I chose this as a time to replace the aging and questionable macerator, switch and wiring at my forward head. This was a straight forward pull out and match with the same equipment, but new..... 'piece of cake. With it all done, I decided to make a quick test of things so I partially filled my tank from the deck pump out plate with some water from the dock. I sealed the deck plate tight and went below to run the macerator. It didn't sound right, but it was running. I thought I felt a flow within the effluent hose as I wrapped my hand around it. Then, I asked Nancie to look at the pump while I pressed the switch button in the head and she yelled out that there was water moving up the vent hoses. I looked and saw that the walls of my holding tank were swollen. Yes, stupid had struck me again. I had reversed the wires and I was pumping sea water into my holding tank. We rushed to the nearest pump out where the attendant at the dock looked at the sight glass and commented that he never seen such a clean looking load of sewage. I just accepted that with feigned pride for there was no way I was going to admit that I'd been sucking up the bay. So, there it is....... stupid again and I never saw it comming!

Help me feel better with your own confessions!
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Old 15-07-2013, 11:08   #2
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

As Bill Gates once said, "success teaches nothing."

Chalk another up to experience.
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Old 15-07-2013, 11:16   #3
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

As my mentor used to say: "the only person who never did anthing wrong , never did anything!"
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Old 15-07-2013, 11:18   #4
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

I posted "my stupid, but still around to tell it" story in the "What's your worst sailing moment" thread a few months back.

But your story was a "hoot". Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15-07-2013, 11:27   #5
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

Hiya Force! Maybe you need a vacation. When was the last time you sailed around exotic islands? I'm thinking somewhere with turquoise blue waters, swaying palm trees, pink/white sand beaches, and... a partridge on a mango tree.

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Old 15-07-2013, 11:46   #6
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

Good one.

Can top that but installing a fuel injection pump with improper timing and spraying diesel mixture into the intake and having it backfire so severely it burned out mixing chambers would be to embarrassing and expensive to mention.

kind regards,
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Old 15-07-2013, 11:56   #7
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

"Calm seas do not make skillful sailors" - - a cookie fortune I kept.

Lets see . . . in the past year:

Undid the boom and tidied up all the lines. Moved the boom into the boat for winter storage. Noticed a line extending up the companionway and out to the cockpit where it was snagged on a cleat. That was the #2 single reefing line that is threaded through a block inside the boom. WAS threaded through a block inside the boom. GRADDA FRANKIN MASSER FROGNAGLES!!! And other nautical terminology.

Took me three hours yesterday to finally rethread that line. Half that time was spent clearing the inner-boom of mud-dauber nests.

Also, must have been distracted or hurried when winterizing her. I replaced the primary and secondary fuel filters and thought I had bled the air out. When launching I started right up ("Nice" said the yard foreman), made sure the stuffing box was dripping a bit (vs. dry or gushing) and then backed out of the lift sling to meet THE ADMIRAL at the mast lift station. Or would have if the engine hadn't died. Luckily I was pointed well and had a tail wind . . . and can throw a line 50 feet. Sure nuff - a whole lot of air had to be bled out and the engine reprimed. Fine since.

Two years ago I spent the full season with the arms of the masthead fly pointing forward. D'oh!
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Old 15-07-2013, 12:35   #8
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

"Two years ago I spent the full season with the arms of the masthead fly pointing forward. D'oh!"

Now that is funny! How many other sailors do you think noticed that and chuckled?
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Old 15-07-2013, 12:54   #9
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
I had reversed the wires and I was pumping sea water into my holding tank. ................ no way I was going to admit that I'd been sucking up the bay. So, there it is....... stupid again and I never saw it comming!

Help me feel better with your own confessions!

I don't know if it was really stupid. If you stop to think about it you just found a way to flush the bttom of your holding tank. And if you used push together wire connectors it is a fast easy method to switch back and forth.
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Old 15-07-2013, 15:26   #10
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

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I don't know if it was really stupid. If you stop to think about it you just found a way to flush the bttom of your holding tank. And if you used push together wire connectors it is a fast easy method to switch back and forth.
Hmmm,.... 'maybe if I didn't pump so much in to swell my tank. I know there's another current topic under "Plumbing Systems & Fixtures" titled, "Adding Ice to the Holding Tank", where there's a discussion of tank cleaning methods. Your idaea could have merit if running the macerator in reverrse won't damage the impeller. Mine is taht most common Jabsco Model 18590 macerator pump. Maybe someone knows if the pump's life is shortened by running it in reverse occasionally. Actually, this might allow the pump a longer life. I wonder if the sewage mix left in the pump may be more corrosive than than the sea water. Any ideas?
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Old 15-07-2013, 15:31   #11
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

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Maybe someone knows if the pump's life is shortened by running it in reverse occasionally.
I'm sure it does because it has to0 bend the vanes back the other way, twice because you have to go back to normal.

But how offen you planning on doing it? Mine die from something else before the impeller dies anyway.
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Old 15-07-2013, 15:42   #12
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

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..................... Mine die from something else before the impeller dies anyway.
Yes, mine usually "die" from corrosion of the metal parts & bolts that hold the pump together.
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Old 15-07-2013, 16:24   #13
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

I topped off my water tanks last summer only to find I filled the holding tank instead... it was a humbling experience! Anyway the holding tanks needed a good flushing I guess... no damage but my pride....LOL
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Old 15-07-2013, 17:49   #14
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
Maybe someone knows if the pump's life is shortened by running it in reverse occasionally. Actually, this might allow the pump a longer life. I wonder if the sewage mix left in the pump may be more corrosive than than the sea water. Any ideas?
I hope not because then you would rig up a reversing switch and another fuse and breaker. Then one day when you (or she - Egad?) flush(s) the toilet it will go the other way too.

Plus you would have to add that to your schematic of the boats wiring if you were to be able to sell it to .........

Best leave it stock. There might be a reason the engineers designed it that way.

Just sayin'
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Old 15-07-2013, 18:00   #15
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Re: Stupid Sneaks up on me when Least Expected

Early in my life, as far as wires were concerned I was on a little cruise in "the doc's" boat and one morning the diesel would not start. Push button = nothing at all. I was head down looking at the Westerbeke and everything is painted red. I found a big fat wire that was hanging loose. I found a long bolt end that looked like it could take another wire or two and tried to put it on. Yep - big spark. Stuck together, sparking and glowing like the sun. I managed to pull them apart. Concerned voices above coming to my ears. Well. That is not how to find where it goes. So, how to tell........hmmm.

So I decided that slapping things with the wire made fewer sparks. I found one that looked right and didn't spark. So the motor started.

I see people do (what I now consider) dumb things and realize I am lucky to be alive.
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