Lest you think it’s all beaches and sunsets

7 Nov

Sailing in warm, clear waters and visiting sandy beaches with palm trees and cool drinks…that’s what everyone thinks when they think cruising in south Florida and the Caribbean. While there is some of that, there is lots more of the below.

Since we’re at dock near a West Marine, Andy decided that Wednesday should be a day of routine fuel filter replacements. The replacements on the starboard engine went fairly smoothly. Fairly means that the gummed up ring on the bowl only took an hour, some duct tape, two locking wrenches, four sets of hands, and some vice grips. No big deal for our old engines.

The expectation on the port side was the same, since when he checked the engine out a few days ago, everything was working perfectly. BUT, upon opening up the port engine, he discovered about two feet of water sloshing around the engine. NOT A GOOD THING AT ALL! According to Andy, the technical term for this is sinking. 🙂

We decided that one of the engine’s water hoses (really just heater hose) had developed a small split in the end near a hose clamp, allowing water to slowly trickle in while the engine was running. We decided to hacksaw off the bad end about an inch, and reconnect it. Since this hose hadn’t been disconnected in years, it of course took several sweaty hours and some creative engineering to get it off. In the process we managed to make a small hole in the fiberglass elbow, so in addition to everything else, we had to mix up some epoxy to fix that.


In reality, this is what a lot of the cruising life looks like

Finally, Andy got the cleaned up hose back on the newly epoxied joint. Did I mention that a few of our spare hose clamps also broke, unable to stand the pressure of being, well, a hose clamp? Anyway, all this ingenuity didn’t fix the original problem. Water continued to steadily drip into the engine compartment. Grrrr. Was there a pinhole in the actual metal engine piece, or was the hose just shot and worn out? It was really hard to tell as you had to hang upside down with a work light and a mirror on a wand to see it clearly. By this time Andy had been working steadily on the engines for seven hours.

We finally ended up walking to West Marine and buying a new length of heater hose (at $18 a foot), along with some new hose clamps. We tamped that new hose on as high up on the engine as we could get it, threw on several hose clamps, and magic! No more water pouring in. Phew! Just one more hour to put the boat back together, clean up all the stray greasy diesel from our various impromptu workstations, and we are back to beaches and sunsets…until the next unexpected repair.

One Response to “Lest you think it’s all beaches and sunsets”

  1. S/V Haanli November 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    The pic is priceless

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