Wednesday, September 27, 2017

….And other maintenance issues that have been dealt with, as promised!

1.  Washer/dryer:
When we first moved aboard the Kittiwake, I ran a load of wash in the combo washer/dryer.  It will only take a small load, but it is such a blessing to not have to use the marina laundry facilities!  While the dryer portion of the cycle was running, we discovered that the vent to the outside of the boat was not connected.  This caused steam to stay inside the boat – never a good thing.  Like anything on a boat, the unit is a tight fit in a cabinet.  Fortunately, there is an access panel to the rear of the unit from the guest berth.   Since this was far down the list of things to be fixed, it took a few days for Dan to get to it.  He had to pull the unit out of the cabinet, then contort himself to get the dryer hose reconnected to the outside vent.  Now, I tend to run one load just about every day – it does take a while to go through both the wash cycle and then to dry the items.  But, again, what a wonderful asset to have on board!
2.  Shower:
The first time I took a shower on board, I didn’t know that the shower sump pump needed to be turned on at the electrical panel.  Oops.  The sump filled, then ran over, making a mop up mess in the hallway.  After that, I knew to have that pump on (actually, we keep it on now).  But, we still ended up with water in the hallway – not as much, but enough to be a  nuisance.  Dan took the sump and pump and hoses apart, to discover that the filter was clogged from use.  Yuck – it’s one thing to have to clean out our own hair, etc., but this was probably years in the accumulating.  Anyway, it’s all good now – no extra water in the hallway!!
3.  Lectra/sand sewage treatment system:
With this fairly sophisticated system, sewage is treated with salt and electrical pads that render the sewage perfectly clean and able to just be pumped overboard – Really!  Proven fact.  There is a panel with lights that confirms the successful treatment.  Unfortunately, the message we got was that the treatment was NOT successful. With Dan busy on other systems, I took it upon myself to read the manual and investigate.  The first possibility of a problem is that the electrical pads were dirty.  The solution is to use a solution of muriatic acid, let it sit in the system for an hour, then flush.  Still, it was not successfully treating the sewage.  Next, the suggestion is that the system isn’t injecting salt, or enough salt, to make the treatment work right. It was time for Dan to investigate, meaning he had to go into the compartment where the Lectra/Sand system resides.  In order to work on the engines, the Lectra/Sand system or the generator, Dan has to contort himself to lower into the appropriate chamber, tucking his head to avoid hitting on the floor above.  Getting out is a real trick, too.  Good thing he’s a thin and still fairly agile person!  When he examined this system, he didn’t like the look of one connection to the submersible pump.  The pump is in a vat that includes salt and water.  We have to periodically add salt to this system.  The connection was bad, but the pump was totally dead anyway.  We ordered a new one and it should be here today.  In the meantime, to determine if the lack of salt was the only problem in the system, we add a couple of cup or so of salt each time the toilets are flushed.  Yay!  The system is happy and is correctly treating the sewage now. 

I already described the extensive work done on the electrical system – took forever, but we are now in a much better position.  We have an inverter that will service us very well, while underway or anchored out.  We have a generator that works (after the mouse nest was removed and wires replaced!).  Dan has replaced many of the ceiling lights with more efficient LED bulbs.  He has replaced a hinge on the cock pit gate – it was broken and had been sort of fixed.  It looked bad.  Now, it’s good.  We have cleaned the outside of the boat, which takes scrubbing.  Dan polished the horn, something that the Coast Guard requires on the boat.  The air compressor that powers it works just fine.

All in all, we are feeling much better and much more ready to cruise!  The next few days, Dan plans to do a tune up on these big diesel engines, a cost of $500 to have it done.  My Dan has the skills and know-how to do it himself.  Fortunately, the previous owner had installed an oil change system, which makes changing the 3 gallons of oil for each engine much easier.  We are very fortunate that the Kittiwake had been very well maintained until the last two years.  But, the owner had been ill, and the boat had not moved much in that time.  Boats don’t like to sit still – thus, here we are bringing her back to being in good shape.  Sometimes, I think about other couples who buy a used boat.  If Dan wasn’t as talented as he is, we would really be in a fix – at the mercy of anyone who wanted to be hired to do all this work!  We are so lucky!

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