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Never take things for granted

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  • Mike
    As always when starting out for out summer vacation on our sailboat, the first thing on the lengthy list of musts to check is the motor oil (even though the
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 11, 2010
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      As always when starting out for out summer vacation on our sailboat, the first thing on the lengthy list of musts to check is the motor oil (even though the motor only had 72 hours on it and I had just changed the oil at 50 hours). Understandably it checked out just fine. Next on the lengthy list was to check all the through hull fittings. Engine intake - okay, intake for head - okay, BUT as I was checking the outlet for the head it snapped and broke as I turned it to the open position. Fortunately there was no water coming in and we were able to pump any waste out and as everyone knows - this is one ugly situation! So a quick call to my repair marina and I was able to get it hauled out the next day. The following day (tides rule) I ran her over to the haul out so that the ball valve could be changed and four hours later we were back in the water and getting prepared to begin our vacation in the Gulf Islands. After the work was done it was noted by the mechanic that these fittings had not been grounded and was important to get this done. So now it was my turn to accomplish this by simply connecting the existing wires from the galley and the head sinks and carry them through to the in and out fittings for the head. Done. It had been noted that the new through hull fitting just installed had a small leak coming in. I phoned the marina and reported same and was told "don't worry about it - it will stop once the wood washer swells - it will go away. Just head out on your trip and enjoy yourself". So with that in mind we decided to get ready to go but checking for drips every hour just to make sure. The next morning we were prepared to let the fun begin. I was just about to start the motor when my wife yelled to me - did I open the water on the engine yet - quick thinking I jumped down and turned it on! We started over to the gas pumps to fill up with diesel and then all was done. We were off! Just as we were leaving the harbour all the alarms went off on the engine telling us we were overheating. Needless to say - in my hurry I had actually SHUT THE WATER OFF to the motor since it had been left on from the day before. Sooooo we had to turn back into the harbour and back to our berth. Thank heavens we didn't get any farther. The salt water pump (impeller) was totally destroyed and so off to another marina to pick up a replacement part (plus an extra) While repairing the pump we were continuing to keep a close eye on the through hull fitting and it was not getting any better but a heck of a lot worse! By now we were getting about two to three cups a day and it was Sunday so the marina was closed. First thing on the Monday we called and said you really have to do something because it is getting really bad and my wife now noticed that the water intake was leaking as well. Again over we went to have her hauled out to find out why it was leaking and also why the other fitting had started as well. Four hours later we got the call telling us to come and get her because she was back in the water ready to go but he was anxious to show me what had happened. Apparently when I had extended the sinks grounding wire to the other through hull fittings it was realized that the sinks were not grounded at all and had been connected to the positive not the negative. NEVER TAKE THINGS FOR GRANTED. When I connected the sinks it had made a complete electrical circuit and had eroded the outer rims of the through hull fitting completely off so that there was nothing to hold them in place. The sink was above the water line so it had not affected them only when it hit the below water line did it have an affect. Thank heavens I had shut the water off or we would have been in the middle of the Strait when they let go and the water would have come gushing in. Although I have plugs at all the through hulls it could have been disastrous to even try to plug two at the same time. It was a $40.00 mistake that saved us from a possible sinking and a $600.00 mistake that almost sunk us.

      Still had an good summer though its only money and we do have our health. The SEAHAVEN is in better shape now as well.
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