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What other boat refitting blogs won't tell you

There's actual snow in that sunset.
In case one is completely delusional and thinks "hey, this sailing around the world ambition is a bit of a doddle: all I have to do is fix up some old boat and push off", I would like to, by example, provide a small reality check.

I have alternated in the last two weeks between my paying work, the usual household stuff, and hauling out and winterizing two boats. While these are arguably the problems of someone, in worldwide terms, of relative affluence, it does not diminish in any sense the time and labour involved.

Let's take today, for illustrative purposes: Having finished by noonish my duties to one of my clients,  I determined to go down to Alchemy to get a start on the fuel system. Let's face it: a jug of diesel with a fuel and a return line clamped awkwardly in place is no way to run a freshly instaleld diesel, even if said diesel has run quite cheerfully for 2.1 hours (as per the hour meter) on said half-arsed provision.

But what the other refit blog won't disclose is that in order to do anything constructive, one must undone the previous efforts. Add to that a fair bit of stowage, followed by unstowage to get at the things you've forgotten are beneath the things you've just stowed, and the time alloted can be eaten quicker than an unzinced hull moored off a nuclear plant.

I wanted to set up the "proper" fuel system, which involves installing the FilterBoss dual Racor device in a place both easy of access and not so high up that it would tax the various fuel pump. So first I had to undo the diesel jerrycan. Then I decided, it being both cloudy and wintry, I should rig a second 15 amp power cord. I also hauled up to the deck level the roughly 25 kilos of docking lines (there are chains and shackles and general beefiness in play), because we are not permitted, nor is it a particularly bright idea, to leave them loose on the slips, given the possiblities of ice and storm.

More power is required if I wish to run heaters, which I really should, because it's already bloody cold.

Then I needed a light, which I found in the aft cabin. Then I heard the ripped and worn tarp overhead flapping in the breeze, and concluded "well, it's no use having rain coming in because I put the gasket repair of the pilothouse hatches down the list" (which I have), and so I thought "clever you, to have several 9 x 12 tarps and hundreds of cable ties to hand". But alas, unclever me, I had buried them in the paint locker, which was topped by various boxes of cable, which was jammed into the pilot berth.

One can see where this is going.

So, to the sounds of Beethoven's symphonies, which, blasting away inside a partially uninsulated metal boat, can be appreciated at some distance in the boat yard, I set myself to the tasks at hand. One issue was immediately apparent: in order to safely transit from dock to slings, and hence from slings to cradle, I had put most of the boxes of fasteners, hooks, sailing bits and random tools atop the locker in which I keep the sort of tools one requires to install FilterBOSSes.

Anyway, I had to move an excessively large amount of gear to merely reach the tarp stores, after which I removed the old raggy one, installed the new, replaced the boat hooks, froze a bit in the wind and snow (yes, there was snow, unseasonably, I suppose), and vacuum the dirt in the boat from the haulout-related footprints.

And then the sun went down (see Figure 1).

And I haven't yet got to the reason I was ostensibly present, because I needed to rearrange so much stuff.

And that what other boat blogs won't tell you: a significant amount of time spent refitting is actually spent rearranging, cleaning and sorting. With a touch of labelling.

Please don't tell anyone.


John C said...

I'm impressed by this system. And also by the cost.

Having said that, West Marine's dual racor system is also expensive, almost $2000, but it has none of the extremely useful additional features this one has.

I look forward to finding out if you're happy with it.

Rhys said...

Mine cost me about $900. I bought it from Ray of Ray's Marine at the boat show. I was persuaded that (as with watermakers) it was possible to assemble the various pieces more cheaply myself, this was a one-stop solution that would serve me well for the sort of three-tank (two keel and one daytank) setup I wanted to have. And the ability to polish my own fuel I considered important for distant anchorages with dubious service. The only thing is that I bought it far too early: if I didn't have it already, I now possess the acumen to assemble it myself. But it wouldn't be as pretty. I'll let you know how it comes together, John.

Ken @ Silverheels III said...

Recommend that you install those dual filters in series (not in parellel) with a 10 micron and then a 2 micron filter. Triple filtering (10 + 2 + 2 on the engine) your diesel fuel will get you a long way down the road to reliable motoring. Add inspection ports to your tanks so that you can scrub the bottoms clean regularly. IMHO the duality of two parallel filters and the not inconsiderble expense of the changeover valves is meant for large power boat diesels with voracious diesel flow; something a sailboat does not have. This advice given to me from the Racor dealer at the 2007 Toronto boat show when I was salivating over the $$ dual filter boss rig. You don't need it he said. Save your $$ with a double series filter. Top loading Racor 500 filters are easily replaced in 5 minutes with no mess at all. A vacuum gauge tells us when to change filters.

Rhys said...

Yes, that was the general idea, not just because "staged" filters are a good idea, but because it's a good size difference for polishing.

Both keel tanks have big inspection ports.

I have the vacuum gauge on the FilterBoss unit.

Is it overkill? Not if it saves my ass or allows me to polish my own fuel in places where it might be problematic. It also ties in to my plans to put in a day tank with nothing but polished fuel in it, even if I take on suspect stuff or suffer other bugs,goo or water in the fuel. Besides, it was bought and paid for some time ago! I will use about 0.8 U.S gallons at 1,900 RPM/5.2 knots in a calm sea, but I will carry 140 gallons, or about a week of motoring range.