Friday, August 2, 2013
Posted by Sean
I am happy to report that Vector is back in the water, after more than eleven weeks on the hard. We were finally splashed this afternoon, after a mad scramble on the part of the yard and ourselves over the last week to get ready. I must say, I'm exhausted. The furious pace here has kept me away from the keyboard for all but essentials, and the blog has suffered.
While the boat is afloat, there is still a lot left to do. The propeller shaft is not connected to the engine, and the boat has a serious port list along with the stern being too low and the bow too high. (Update: the port list was solved by solving the fuel imbalance between the two wing tanks. Vector no longer leans like a drunk sailor. -Louise) They were hoping to do the engine alignment tomorrow, after floating for 24 hours to let the hull settle back into shape, but the decision has been made to postpone the alignment (and thus the connection of the prop shaft) until we can correct the trim.
We expected some trim issues, because we added a ton of ballast forward of the engine, and moved three tons of ballast lower in the anchor locker. But things are out of kilter more than we expected, and we need to figure out why and correct it. It's probably not helping that all the downstairs furniture is still dismantled and scattered all over the boat. The bigger issues, though, are likely the fuel tanks and ground tackle.
At the moment, the main, center fuel tank is still empty, with its manhole off. Last week they finished installing the new pickup tube and drilled a hole through the keelson so we can get to the lower ~200 gallons of fuel. But they still need to clean up some rust at the top of the tank, pressure test it, and put the lid back on. Also we need to test the pickup tube for leaks. In the meantime, all the fuel that was in the main tank is now in the port wing tank. That probably accounts for a good deal of the port list as well as some of the aft-down trim.
Our friend John, who sold us the boat, had reported that he needed to keep around 200 gallons in the starboard tank to trim the boat, and we probably have less than that in there now, so that might account for some of the list as well. Our next step will be to transfer the fuel from the port wing tank back to the main tank, just as soon as they are done in there, and then we will re-assess.
The bow roller is also still off the boat, and so we could not load the anchor and chain back aboard before we went in the water. That's nearly 1,200 pounds missing from the pointy end of the boat, which probably accounts for some of the stern squat as well. The guys stacked the chain on a pallet and moved it over to the dock so we can load it once we have the roller fixed and re-installed.
There's lots more to report, of course, more than I have time for here. But I will try to catch you up as best I can. When last I posted here, we were making a mad dash for Long Island in Odyssey, to catch up with friends visiting there. I'm happy to say that we had a very nice visit in Southold, but, of course, five days away from the boatyard put me in catch-up mode once again. We ended up spending a night in each direction at the Elks lodge in Marlton, New Jersey, which had 30-amp power for $25, a bargain in the heat wave. My folks drove out from Brick to meet us there for breakfast Tuesday morning, and by Tuesday evening we were back here at the yard.
The yard took last weekend off, but no such luck for me, as I really needed the time to catch up on projects that would otherwise be in their way. Among other things, I removed all the 1" galvanized pipe that carried water from the fresh water tank near the bow all the way to the pump at the aft end of the engine room. I also removed a 1/2" galvanized pipe that ran from the engine room to the top of the water tank, which I believe was pre-plumbing for a watermaker -- it was capped in the engine room. The yard that eventually installed the watermaker years later had no way to know it was there, and so ran a separate tube (thus creating yet another hole in what is supposed to be a water-tight engine room bulkhead). Even plugged at one end, the pipe had accumulated a bunch of water that was rusty and nasty, and still connected to the drinking water tank. Yuck.
The main supply line has now mostly been replaced with 1" PEX (I need to make final connections after paint touchup in the bilge), and I even put a spur of 1/2" PEX with a ball valve on the original watermaker fitting, so I can eventually use it for a hot-water recirculating system such as the one we have aboard Odyssey (described in the second half of this blog post). All of this work needed to be completed before the new waste tanks go into place, impeding access into those bilge areas.
While I am on the subject of removing galvanized pipe, I needed to remove the barbs, check valves, nipples, and tees that had connected the engine room and lazarette bilge pumps to their non-dedicated overboard discharges. The former discharged through the wet bar drain, and the latter through the air conditioning seawater outlet. When I removed the nipple over the check valve on the lazarette discharge, this is what I found. The nipple is occluded to perhaps a third of its intended cross-section by solidified crud, trapped there by the check valve each time the pump stopped.
I also finished replacing the front end of the fresh water system, in the engine room, with a new PEX manifold, and added a tempering valve to the water heater. The new PEX runs to the front of the engine room, where, for the time being, it tees into the old galvanized distribution lines. These will all be replaced in due time with PEX, but I wanted to get the front end done while we had all the water out of the tanks and pressure out of the system. Now I have actual shutoff valves that we never had before, so turning off either hot or cold to replace a section of line will be much easier -- previously we had to drain the entire system.
New fresh water manifold.
Hot water arrangement. Curved PEX flows better than right-angle elbows, which would look a bit neater.
In the middle of all this, the cheapo knock-off Chinese PEX crimper I bought for $30 on eBay broke, after fewer than two dozen crimps. I had to run to the local hardware store to buy the genuine Watts CinchTool for $90, and I was happy they had it in stock. The details of that episode will have to wait for another post.
I'm not the only one dealing with the galvanized pipe issues. The yard had to cut off a pair of galvanized nipples that had been welded to the hull by another yard as "through-hull" fittings, to carry the cooling water discharge from the stabilizers and the brine discharge from the watermaker. I'm not sure what they did wrong in the welding process (other than the terrible choice of galvanized steel in the first place), but the hull was severely corroded around them, to the point where the 1/4" plating is barely 1/8" thick in spots. We had them bead-blast it down to bare metal, repair it with epoxy, and replace the through-hulls with Marelon items with proper seacocks.
Now that we are back in the water we can at least run the air conditioning, so working conditions on the boat will improve. We are still a long way from moving back aboard -- both berths are still apart, and we can't have the cats in the way of the ongoing work (or even let them know there are secret spaces below the floors). With any luck we can have the engine running by early next week and be able to take her out for a sea trial.