(Special thanks to my friend Robin for the headline.)
I had a little problem on Wednesday evening when I was doing a bit of maintenance on Prudence…
These days I’m a little more stressed than normal, and I like to refer to my forgetfulness as having 55 year old “menopause brain”.
Wednesday night, on David’s way out to see a client, he tells me we are out of water and to put a minimal amount in the starboard tank.
I hear “15 gallons in the port tank”.
So I go fill the port tank, and after a couple minutes I button everything back up and go back downstairs to turn the pump on to see if the water is working again. It’s not working the way I expect, so I go back outside to put more water in only to realize that I have put 2 minutes of water into the diesel tank.
I immediately call David and he reminds me to turn off the diesel heater. I’m freaking out that I have caused a major problem because water and diesel is NO BUENO.
But I have to wash dishes!! So, I put another minute of water into the port tank (this time the correct hole), and the water fills up and flows onto the deck. I can’t imagine how this is the case, otherwise the water would have been working in the boat.
I come back downstairs after putting the hose away for the 2nd time, and open the port tank gasket. Sure enough the tank is full, and water blows up all over the place – on me and the floor.
Now I’m more irritated and have water all over the floor.
I turn the water pump on and still… Not working. I look at the valves, and David has the port tank off and starboard tank on. I think to myself, “WHY did he ask me to fill the port tank when the starboard tank was obviously the one to fill?”
That’s when I realized he told me starboard.
I get back off the boat, unravel the hose for the 6th time, and proceed to fill the starboard tank. I come back down to turn the pump back on, but I’m so annoyed now that I forget to run the faucet to get the air out of the system.
I decide to stop and call my friend Kim, but first I pour myself a full glass of red wine. I need to chill out. On my way into the cockpit, I set the wine down and it topples over, spilling an entire glass of red wine into the cockpit.
Now I’m pissed. And I have to grab the hose again for the 23rd time tonight to hose down the cabernet cockpit.
Finally, Kim convinced me that I should just abandon ship and go get a hotel room for the evening. I quickly check the Claremont, and am able to secure a cheap yet elegant luxury room there. David calls home and I tell him to go check into the Claremont and I’ll meet him there.
I arrive 20 minutes later, meet him in the bar, and he’s already got a full glass of Alexander Valley Pinot ready for me. And it’s not all over the place. We enjoy a nice sized bed, beautiful shower (inside the bedroom even), heat and running water.
The next day the issues were resolved fairly quickly. Within 10 minutes of getting on the boat, I remember to run the water faucets to empty the air in the system, and voila… we have running water again.
The fuel is a bigger issue. However, David McGuyvered a water pump together, and we’ve gotten all the water out of the fuel tank. We have diesel heat again.
And the moral of the story is…
Don’t put something in a hole when it doesn’t belong in there… and whatever you do, save the wine.
For those of you interested in the McGuyver pump and getting the water out of the fuel tank:
We bought a drill powered pump from Harbor Freight for $14.95, and attached a clear hose to the outgoing port and a PVC pipe to the incoming port. Then, he opened the top of the tank where the sending unit is connected, and put the pipe all the way to the bottom of the tank. I held the clear hose into a 5 gallon bucket and David ran the pump using a drill.
The water goes to the bottom of the tank under diesel, so what you get when you are pumping out is water first then light pink then solid red showing through the clear hose (this is the point of the clear hose).
We filled 4 buckets (or 3 minutes worth if you are counting in minutes)!
After that, we poured some treatment into the tank to emulsify the water.
We ran the diesel heat first as it was the one running when I put water in there. We had some steam, but then it proceeded beautifully with no problems. By the time we started the engine the next day and let it run for a while, all the water had either been through the diesel heater filter or emulsified.
The photo at the top of the page is the McGuyver pump system. We will probably be “donating” it to the yacht club, as it’s a very good water pump and could be used to quickly empty someone’s bilge also.
(And as usual, Sabre build is so amazing it’s super easy to get into the fuel tank and get the sending unit off… not like Pru 1, where the fuel tank was under the cockpit and the builders assumed nobody would ever need to get into there.)