I’ve come to the conclusion that most of sailing is sitting around waiting for the weather to get better. That and waiting for engine parts to arrive.
It’s been a frustrating couple weeks. It all started when I noticed a leak in my water pump several weeks ago. It wasn’t serious but it needed to be addressed. I figured it was a seal that fits in between the pump housing and the bearings. So I ordered one and also a couple bearings for good measure. This is where the waiting started. It took several days for the parts to show up. Then when I replaced the seal and started the engine, no water flowed through the pump. As I was troubleshooting this, I broke a piece off the raw water strainer, which filters the sea water before it enters the pump. So I ordered a new raw water strainer just before heading off to the Bahamas. I just bypassed the strainer and ran the seawater directly into the pump, which is not a great idea. If a piece of seaweed got sucked into the water intake it would flow into the pump and damage it. But I hardly ever saw any debris in the strainer, so I took a chance.
As I mentioned last post, just as I got to the Bahamas, the pump started to fail and it turned out the bearings were bad. I had them replaced in the Bahamas. But due to bad weather I had to sit around for a week before I could return to Florida. I was in a nice spot but with wind and rain, I got bored quickly in my little boat with no internet.
The return trip to Florida was not too bad. I left at 9 am with a nice wind, small waves, and blue skies. I hardly touched the sails until 2 am when I had to start the engine to charge my batteries. Then as I approached Ft Lauderdale, swells picked up to 4-5 feet. They just tossed the boat around for a couple hours. It was about a 90 mile crossing which took about 24 hours.
Once back, I got an anchorage in Hollywood just off the ICW. Then I finally got the new raw water strainer and tried to install it but it was the wrong size, so I had to order another one, while returning the original. With nothing to do, I just sat around again for a few days. When the new strainer came in, I installed it but still got no water flow. A friend suggested the pump cover may be worn and was not allowing the required suction to take place. So I ordered a new pump cover. Wait another 2 days. Then I got it and installed it. Still no water flow.
My plan was to visit the Florida Keys but I did not want to travel without the strainer because I read there is a lot of seaweed and it could be problematic. So now it has been 11 days that I’ve been at anchor in a small lake in Hollywood. I called a marine store to see if they have any water pumps, thinking that I will have to replace the whole thing. The guy listened to the symptoms and suggested that the pump just needs priming and he told me to try that before spending a couple hundred dollars on a new pump. Well darned if that was the problem all along. I felt so stupid. All I needed to do was prime the pump. Of course!
So now I am back in business but I am waiting yet again for the weather to clear. Tropical Storm Eta just passed and left big waves in the Atlantic so I have to wait until the sea calms down. Then I will head south for the Keys.
Eta was not as bad as I feared. I measured peak winds at about 37 knots with a lot of rain but I was in a fairly sheltered place with two anchors out so I got through without difficulty. Here’s a view of my surroundings.
East, the Intracoastal Waterway by Hollywood Beach Blvd.
Here I am waiting. This is how I’ve looked a lot over the past couple weeks.
My Biggest Fear
I wrote about capsizing a few posts ago. Well with all the time on my hands I started watching sailing videos. This one caught my attention because it shows a big wave capsizing a sailboat. The boat rolls and is dismasted, but appears to come upright again. This is my biggest fear:
Anything can happen on the sea. However, some people are able to protect themselves and reduce the risk of catastrophe to 5%. Then there are some who are learners like you and can reduce that to 1%. You will do fine. I love the story about the prime. You are learning well.
Hi Kev – Yeah, that would be my worst nightmare, too. Well, almost. Have you seen the movie “Adrift?” Watch that one the next time you’re bored. It’s a true story.
Glad you got to see the Bahamas! I’m sure there are worse places to sit out a hurricane.
Did you mail in your ballot? What state are you a resident of? How about turning your boat into a Biden/Harris float the next time you sail through southern waters. Maybe “escort” the Trump boats you saw previously aground. Just an idea. 🙂
I hope the boat gods keep your rig together and running so it’s smooth sailing through the Florida Keyes!
I dream of the Queen capsizing all the time. (well, not all the time,but it’s a recurring dream). Miss ya cuz! Stay safe out there! Enjoying your posts.