Hurry up and Wait

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.

North

West

South

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:

3 thoughts on “Hurry up and Wait

  1. Greg J Snell November 10, 2020 / 12:45 pm

    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.

  2. Debbie Black November 10, 2020 / 1:58 pm

    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!

    Stay well!

  3. Anonymous November 15, 2020 / 11:25 pm

    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.

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