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Old 06-12-2019, 15:50   #1
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A Hero's Tale of Woe

A lesson learned

We are always learning when we sail and mostly it is an enjoyable process. Sometimes not. The following is a tale of frustration, anxiety and deliverance. Those of you that are true old sea dogs or café Captains, naturally need read no further since you already know all there is to know about everything.
For the rest, I dare say there may be a lesson or two in this tale of woe, perhaps even a few nuggets of wisdom. Who can say?
The saga (for a saga of tears it is indeed) has, as all sagas, a beginning, a middle and an ending. This one also has a villain (or perhaps several) and a Hero. All sagas need a true Hero (for those sharp of mind, you can probably begin to guess who the Hero of this tale is).
We shall start at the middle, since that will increase the mystery and perhaps add a little excitement.
WHAM! BANG! Capri stopped dead in her tracks. Someone had planted a coral head here, where no coral head was supposed to be. I mean, in the middle of the marked channel on Bora Bora? Ok, we have a seven-foot draft –but seriously, we’re in the middle of the channel. A quick dive under the boat revealed that our lead keel now had a deep gash. Checking the keel bolts they all rang true when tapped with a hammer. There was no leakage around the keel bolts.

Ok, we got off easy. He said, not aware of the pain that was soon to be inflicted. Some hours later, the bilge pump started up. Salt water in the bilge. No immediate sources of entry. Is the keel somehow loose and water seeping in? Nothing to be done but sail immediately to Raiatea and get hauled. The boatyard claimed that there was no way a mere tap at 3 knots could cause our keel to leak. We checked everything and finally had to agree that wherever the water came from, it wasn’t the keel.
The Damsel
Two days later, after splashing, the bilge pump started up again. Oh woe! Oh pain! The damsel in distress in this story (my wife), was now demanding that the HERO (that’s me if you haven’t figured it out yet) DO SOMETHING. Like fix it.
Enter the Hero.
Lots of looking and finally the Hero (moi, I say in all modesty) realizes that the leak is at the shaft seal.
Enter the Villain (blackguard, ruffian, ****, take you pick or add a name yourself)
The villain of this story, a boatyard worker on Tahiti, who had changed the black jack – had simply shoved the robber cone over the lip of fiberglass but had not tightened the clamps. So it worked itself a little loose, probably helped by the bump of hitting a coral head and now – leak.
While tightening the clamps, I made many remarks about this boatyard worker, his parentage, his ancestors on both sides) going clear back to whenever some fish crawled out of the primoral soup and declared he/she was going to become a person. I also made mention of his personality and personal habits and most everything else I could think of (as you, dear reader can see from the aforewritten words, I have a generous and forgiving nature about me).
So now you have the beginning and the middle of this tale – but what about the end?
Ah well, yes – the ending and all those nuggets of wisdom. A couple of months later, the intrepid duo double-handing Capri sets off from the Marquesas for Hawaii. 2200nm and not a downhill ride. Sometime out there, say around mile number 900 or so – the bilge pump starts up.
Of course, this is truly the middle of nowhere. Our intrepid Hero decides that he’ll wait and see how long before the pump runs again. Not long – only a couple of hours. After that, it starts up with only a hour between starts.
This ceases to be a laughing matter and the Hero starts tearing the boat apart (you realize of course, that when on a passage every nook and cranny on the boat is filled with – well, whatever you put in nooks and crannies). The black jack is first naturally – bone dry – only a couple of dust bunnies chasing each other around.
Our bilge has four (4) hoses running into it – so the water must be coming through one of the four. The first one, the main drain from most of the boat is dry. A paper towel stuffed inside of it comes out dry after some minutes. Hmmmm. Probably not there. The second hose is from the relief valve on the hot water heater – that is fresh water so it can’t be from there. The third hose is the hose leading to the manual bilge pump and that is water going out not in. The last hose is leads from the sump to the bilge pump about 4 meters away.
Our Hero spends a few minutes looking at all this before the proverbial light bulb is lit over his head. The bilge pump starts and pumps out the water until the level is below the sensor. That cuts off the bilge pump, leaving 4 meters of water in the hose. Eventually the vacuum holding the water in the hose weakens and the water seeps back into the sump bringing the level up to where the sensor starts the pump. But, the water never makes it out, because it only fills the hose before the sensor shuts down the pump.
Problem solved and our Hero is redeemed. Our Damsel lays her unbelievably beautiful head on his shoulder and murmurs “My Hero”

The moral of this saga? The lesson learned? Bad design on the part of the boat manufacturer (4 meters of bilge hose for water to accumulate in?) and that flaw caused no end to worries and heartache.
Second lesson (which both our Hero and Damsel have already learned to excess – but they must be forgiven for having trusted a boatyard worker – you can’t be suspicious of everyone all the time).
Here’s the lesson – NEVER, NEVER, EVER, trust a boatyard worker to do anything right. You need to micromanage them, look over their shoulder while they are doing the work and then check and recheck it after they are done.
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Old 06-12-2019, 16:00   #2
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A Hero's Tale of Woe

Or as I learned a long time ago if you want it done right, do it yourself.
Now admittedly I do farm out grunt work like bottom jobs, but I swear I’m jinxed because every few years I break down and let someone else do the mechanical work, like under warranty for instance, but without fail, I’m redoing the work before it’s over.

On the stuffing box hose. Yeah you cuss the, but I bet you were real relieved to find out that was all it was I know I would have been

But on the bilge pump issue, you have never had enough water in your bilge before to trip the pump?
It seems at least once a year I do something that trips the pump.
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Old 06-12-2019, 16:33   #3
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

Plumbing.
I just moved back to England and opened up the unused downstairs toilet in the back of my house, checked it out, flushed it several times, peed in it and flushed it away.. lovely.

Today... I looked and the toilet is full of #2s and paper.
Ive had a company in checking the sewer pipe and clearing the waste, and it appears that in the building of the house, cement debris from a pipe join is half blocking the flow and subsequent issues are present.

The contractor has told me that he can use a machine to crack the cement but It also might damage the pipe and then a side of house dig up and repiping could be the situation.

I said go ahead.

Tomorrow he will dig up the side of the house and replace pipe.

Im no hero to an adoring spouse but plumbing issues are a pain.....

Sad when you have to check everybody's work..

Nothing that £2500 wont fix.

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Old 06-12-2019, 16:57   #4
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

For once, I decided this August to let the yard paint the bottom, I've got sparse time, it needs doing and I can afford it, and it is easy work. The yard manager assures me in a condescending tone that they will do the centerboard well.

Do I need to continue?

I don't use the board when day sailing. Race in October. Board won't go down. I assume wet paint has it stuck in the slot.
Wrong! Dove on it last weekend. They only dropped the board a foot while on keel blocks, painted the lower part and did nothing to the trunk which now had vigorous hard fouling.
I am diving on it again this weekend with an underwater camera and going Monday to speak to the yard manager about completing the task.

I have difficulty lowering my expectations enough for these situations.
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Old 06-12-2019, 20:29   #5
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post

But on the bilge pump issue, you have never had enough water in your bilge before to trip the pump?
It seems at least once a year I do something that trips the pump.
not really very much - never had this issue before - but I can still curse that yard worker in at least 6 languages and run out of swearwords before I'm satisfied that I trashed him enough..........................
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Old 06-12-2019, 22:43   #6
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
But on the bilge pump issue, you have never had enough water in your bilge before to trip the pump?
It seems at least once a year I do something that trips the pump.
I was scratching my head for a minute before it clicked.... Living on an Amel, our bilge pump goes off about 10 times a day, but that's because all the gray water goes in there too
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Old 06-12-2019, 23:11   #7
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

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I was scratching my head for a minute before it clicked.... Living on an Amel, our bilge pump goes off about 10 times a day, but that's because all the gray water goes in there too
Really???? That's the first negative thing I've found about Amels. Nasty practice IMO. Time for a plumbing project, maybe?

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Old 07-12-2019, 01:17   #8
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post

Problem solved and our Hero is redeemed. Our Damsel lays her unbelievably beautiful head on his shoulder and murmurs “My Hero”
Great telling and I think we all agree....
You deserve a sandwich
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:19   #9
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

Newer models have a gray water tank.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Really???? That's the first negative thing I've found about Amels. Nasty practice IMO. Time for a plumbing project, maybe?

Jim
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:33   #10
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

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Really???? That's the first negative thing I've found about Amels. Nasty practice IMO. Time for a plumbing project, maybe?

Jim
That does surprise me for Amels as I would imagine it stinks.

My bilges are bone dry unless I turn the air cons on and then the condensate drains there which is a pain because the bilge pumps never get it all out.

Solved that by rerouting our owners shower and sink drain plumbing from being pumped into a holding tank to direct discharge overboard with a Whaler Gulper diaphragm pump.

To that I added a T fitting with valves. So if I want to vacuum out the bilge I divert the suction to a bilge hose and pump it dry with the Gulper

Works great!
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:55   #11
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

Excuse my ignorance but what does this mean
What is a black jack. Assume robber is rubber but ...

who had changed the black jack – had simply shoved the robber cone over the lip of fiberglass but had not tightened the clamps. So it worked itself a little loose, probably helped by the bump of hitting a coral head and now – leak.
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Old 10-12-2019, 11:07   #12
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanibel sailor View Post
For once, I decided this August to let the yard paint the bottom, I've got sparse time, it needs doing and I can afford it, and it is easy work. The yard manager assures me in a condescending tone that they will do the centerboard well.

Do I need to continue?

I don't use the board when day sailing. Race in October. Board won't go down. I assume wet paint has it stuck in the slot.
Wrong! Dove on it last weekend. They only dropped the board a foot while on keel blocks, painted the lower part and did nothing to the trunk which now had vigorous hard fouling.
I am diving on it again this weekend with an underwater camera and going Monday to speak to the yard manager about completing the task.

I have difficulty lowering my expectations enough for these situations.
Well, I was mistaken. I thought this would become a problem/conflict. Went and talked to manager, showed the underwater pictures, he agreed it is substandard and said they would short haul and repaint at my convenience. Still a nuisance, but hope to have it resolved soon.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:19   #13
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ View Post
Excuse my ignorance but what does this mean
What is a black jack. Assume robber is rubber but ...

who had changed the black jack – had simply shoved the robber cone over the lip of fiberglass but had not tightened the clamps. So it worked itself a little loose, probably helped by the bump of hitting a coral head and now – leak.
I think many americans call it a stuffing box? it is the shaft seal on the drive shaft axle where it goes through the hull.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:28   #14
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Really???? That's the first negative thing I've found about Amels. Nasty practice IMO. Time for a plumbing project, maybe?

Jim
I do not see it as negative. It is the result of wanting to minimize thru holes and having watertight compartments.

Amel boats have a dry bilge. If there is water in the bilge, you have a problem. Also, each area's bilge is separated from the next. If you have a leak in one area, it stays isolated, as the areas are watertight. You can open few valves and the leak water goes to the grey water tank to be pumped out. The rest of the boat stays dry.

All water, that is to be pumped out, goes into the grey water tank. The grey water tank can be smelly when opened, but it is not bad. I've cleaned it few times. It is better than having a smelly & wet bilge.
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:48   #15
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Re: A Hero's Tale of Woe

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I do not see it as negative. It is the result of wanting to minimize thru holes and having watertight compartments.

Amel boats have a dry bilge. If there is water in the bilge, you have a problem. Also, each area's bilge is separated from the next. If you have a leak in one area, it stays isolated, as the areas are watertight. You can open few valves and the leak water goes to the grey water tank to be pumped out. The rest of the boat stays dry.

All water, that is to be pumped out, goes into the grey water tank. The grey water tank can be smelly when opened, but it is not bad. I've cleaned it few times. It is better than having a smelly & wet bilge.
Sorry, I don't understand this post. Sojourner said her shower drains into the bilge, so her bilge isn't dry... it is filled at times with grey water. My experience is that such water starts to smell pretty soon, and a bilge that has held it will smell after being pumped out. Hence my comment.

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