Cleaning and polishing the diesel - (aborted)
Well, I hate to admit it because you might think I'm a total moron for buying this boat. But.. on the way to survey and haulout the engine died. The Racor filter was totally clogged with some crap I've never seen before.
We ended up sailing the boat into the boatyard, and trust me you never want to be trying to *sail* a 38 foot boat you aren't familiar with through a boatyard. Boatyard landing strips are always full of hazards -- like 40 foot boats in 30 foot slips (with wind vane hardware sticking out a few extra feet), and power boats with stern drives sticking out under the water, and pilings that have no fenders -- all mashed in together in front of the little space where you need to go. Now imagine negotiating that under sail with nothing to stop you and no second chance to get it right, and only one remedy if you fail (checkbook).
In situations like that my left leg tends to begin to shake uncontrollably. I'm working on it. It's weird, though, to have to deal with a high stress situation while balanced on the right leg.
Fortunately, I already had an exit strategy. Since I didn't yet own the boat, and most importantly I didn't yet have insurance, I certainly was not going to be at the helm when the boat rammed somebody else's boat.
The broker bailed, too, that chicken! But one of the guys
he worked with, who I must admit was a darn good sailor, was on board to help
me move the boat over to haulout. I talked with him on the way over, and he
predicted (based upon the pitch) when the engine was going to die. So I gave
him a little credit, and figured this was my time to be Good Crew. I took
orders and helped -- all the while thinking that I wasn't committed and somebody
else had insurance, and it wasn't my problem. and if we rammed into something
or somebody I could get in my truck and start looking for another boat. (That
was actually starting to look like a good idea!)
However, he sailed the boat through the boatyard masterfully -- told me to drop the sails at the perfect moment based upon winds and tide -- and somehow we drifted in and tied up behind three other boats,
perpendicular to the finger and eight feet from the rocks.
(BTW, a heartfelt"Thank You" to the guy who said "I DON'T WORK HERE"
when we asked him to grab a line and help us stop.
Oh, did I say "Thank You"? I meant to say...)
Well, that was a memorable moment, but now I own the boat and need to get the fuel system cleaned up because that is *never* going to happen to me again. The mechanic spent an hour cleaning the Racor, and told me that somehow I had solidified SALT in the fuel lines. Great. I added that to my "clue" list and proceeded to the next step -- cleaning the existing tank and "polishing" the diesel.
Bob over at "marine diesel cleaning" told me to find him access into the tank. If I didn't have an inspection port (that was a given) I should try and pull the fuel gauge and see if we could fit a hose into the hole...
Well, here's the top of the tank. There's the fuel guage... It's the thing with the five relatively shiny screws around the edge.
The first thing I did was clean the crud away from around where I wanted to work, so I wouldn't accidentally drop crud into the tank.
Then, feeling grateful for having every possible type of 3" screwdriver available at Home Depot (I own stock, by the way, so please shop there) I tested each screw to make sure I wouldn't do something incredibly stupid like strip the heads or threads on an irreplaceable part.
I've done that before, you know..
Above, you'll see a picture from the port side of the boat. By the way, I'm now doing YOGA to get this picture.
Somebody is calling me. I can hear him. (It's definitely
a HIM.) He says -- "Wally. . Wally. HEY.
Wally! Waaaalleeeeey! No! Wally, STOP. No! Wally! Where are you! Wally!
Hey, Wally! Waaaaleeey! Get up here! Wally! "
I slither backwards and do a reverse Nadia Comaneci kind of maneuver, and scramble out of the boat wearing nothing but my Hanes and my $10 disposable coveralls (hey, it's HOT in here) and see some guy at the bow.
"What!," I say, "Am I sinking?". I'm genuinely
concerned, mind you.
People (other than my sisters) don't normally speak to me like that.
I don't recognize the guy on the dock, but I'm used to that.
It turns out the folks who are about three boats down have a DOG named "Holly". Well, that's just friggin' fine and dandy when I'm ass deep in the engine room. Here's to you, Holly.
That whole episode gave me a chance to stop, crack a pepsi, and think.
Okay, so look at the next picture. I'll tell you what I think, and feel free to tell me if you think differently.
Update February 2002 --
I'm feeling pretty good about the fuel situation. I've run
the tank dry, added fuel and run it dry again, then pumped out the residue,
then added a gallon of fuel and sloshed it around by standing two dock fingers
over and pulling on the spinnaker halyard over and over, rocking the boat
about 5 degrees back and forth, then pumping everything out. Then I filled
the tank to the top and have been pumping it out, through the Racor, and back
in. At this point the Racor bowl is pretty clean.
Full details are on the 2002 maintenance log..
Update September 2003 --
Not a hiccup in the fuel system for the last 1 1/2 years, so I guess I cleaned it out good enough!
First off, it looks like water has run down from the top of the rudder post (which extends up into the cockpit sole) and left a trail of crusty something across the radial steering. You can see how the water runs down onto the tank, then rolls forward and runs off the front edge of the tank. Great. The tank sits in a *box* (a rather annoying design) with a clogged up limber hole. You know what that means! The fuel tank is sitting in wet. I don't think I want to crack the seal and mess with the gasket around the fuel gauge right now -- not when water runs over it. I'm going to stop and think about this situation..