This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Great Day at the Boat

We spent all day on the Key of Sea today, most of it doing many necessary chores in preparation for the winter ahead. We headed down about 9:30 to meet with the Commodore of the local Coast Guard Auxiliary to have our boat inspected or rather have the inspection completed. We began the process back in August only to find out we couldn't be passed until we'd received our registration and purchased some new flares. Today was the day and we passed with flying colors and now proudly carry a new inspection sticker in our window. John, the commodore, also gave us some tips for winterizing our boat. He has an identical 32 foot Bayliner and so we thought his advice would be helpful.

Afterward we headed over to Redden Marine and purchased the winterizing material
s we needed to get the job done. 6 gallons of non-toxic anti-freeze, a low power heater to add to our other two and a de-humidifier device which collects excess humidity into a collection chamber. First, we drained all the fresh water out of our tank through the hot and cold faucets. Then we poured anti-freeze into the tank and turned on the faucets until the pink fluid ran through the pipes. Now our fresh water system is protected from any freezing weather. Next, we poured nearly a gallon of anti-freeze into the toilet and pumped it into the holding tank. A bit of the anti-freeze also went down the shower drain and was pumped through and out to protect that system.

We set up the two West Marine heaters to operate when the temperature dropped to about 45 degrees protecting the engine room, the forward part of the boat and the aft cabin area. The 3rd heater runs in the head. All the cabinet doors were left open so the heat could reach any interior pipes. We have also removed all clothing, bedding, food and documents in order to avoid them developing mildew.

Time was spen
t finishing the install of our new GPS system and integrating it into our vhf radio. The two components can now work together in an emergency. The new DSC system allows the MMSI number programmed into the radio to send an emergency message with a single button. In an instant authorities know the name of the boat, the owners, important phone numbers and a variety of other data which could help in the event of a rescue.

I also, quite by chance, came across new switches to replace the missing ones in the flybridge control panel at Hardware Sales. The new ones are still dead but at least two critical holes that allowed water to get into places it wasn't wanted are now plugged.

We still have a few things left to do before being prepared for winter and also have hopes for a few more short trips before the worst weather sets in late December and January and February. Ah, Spring!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Power Failure?

Out on a visit to The Key of Sea we noticed the AC panel light was yellowish in color indicating that there was no shore power into the boat. A boat tied to the dock can often be plugged into a shore power outlet, kind of like plugging something at home in using an extension cord. If the extension cord gets unplugged or its own power source fails, nothing works. And so it seemed with our boat. The tell tale was that our recently installed heaters designed to come on only when it got cold enough had a red indicator light which meant they were in that mode. Both indicator lights were off. We tried checking the shore power plug at the source and at the point it came into the boat. No problem. We clicked the circuit breakers on shore, off then on. No problem.

Circuit Breaker panels to the right and below the main helm.

We checked all the DC circuit breakers on board and those others on the AC panel. No problem.
So could it be the shore power unit itself? Hmmmmmmm. In the meantime, having run out of time and ideas, I decided to call my broker from whom we are subleasing the slip, ask him to contact the Port of Bellingham and request they come out and check the power hook up. I flipped off all the circuit breakers on board except the bilge pumps in case that would make any difference. I called our broker and left a message. Monday morning I had a call waiting from his office. He had gone aboard the boat (he has a key since he could have to move the boat to a different slip on a moments notice) and checked things out. All seemed fine to him. Hmmmmm. Monday afternoon I drove over to the boat to check things out. As I entered the boat I noticed the red light aglow on one of the heaters. I went to the circuit board and began to turn switches I had turned off the day before to the on position. Everything was working fine. Hmmmm. So, is the issue that a circuit breaker kicked off due an overload from these heaters? The jury is still out, but as left the boat all systems were go. I'll go back and check on things this weekend and see if one or more of the circuit breakers is tripped. Perhaps we just have a breaker that needs replacing. Hmmmmm. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++