Saturday, May 18, 2013

Let's get cruising.....

Enough of this talk about building new boats.  It's time to get the boat we have in the water and under way.  She's been snuggled away at Cape Ann Marina for the winter, and thanks to all the preparations for our trip south last fall (yes, the one that didn't happen), the boat requires very little this season.  It also helps that all our big projects are done.  Jobs like installing stabilizers, adding a water maker, redoing all the electronics, enclosing the fly bridge, and building decking and storage space in the lazarette.  This year all I have to deal with are the basic maintenance chores.   It's still a pretty long list, but it's part and parcel with boat ownership.  Here's what it looks like:

  • Replace all the zincs.  Between the hull, props, engines, stabilizers, and generator, there are probably 2 dozen zincs to replace.  Fortunately, this is one of the things I did in the fall, so I get to check it off the list without lifting a hand.
  • Replace all the water filters.   These get replaced every year, every 6 months, or as needed depending on the filter.  But we start the season with all new, and once again there are more of them than you might imagine.  Seagull filter for the sink drinking water, Aquapure for the flybridge (remnant from a water maker), strainer for the fresh water pump, charcoal filter that we fill the water tank through, strainer for the water maker, bulk filter for water maker, fine filter for water maker, strainer for salt water washdown.  I think that's all.
  • Fill the water tank and bleed all the air out of the system.  This alone takes quite a while since the pump needs to be primed and any back pressure in the system works against you and the pump.  You just need to leave faucets opened and wait for the water.  Then the hot water tank needs to be filled which is 20 gal so that takes a little time.  With all that done there was water again on board which is nice.
  • Fuel filters all get replaced in the spring, and there are 8 of them. 2 on-engine filters, one on each engine.  1 on-engine filter on the generator.  4 large Racors, 2 for each main engine, and 1 medium Racor for the generator.  The filters are a pain in the ass to change for two reasons.  First, there is always spillage, so lots of containers, diapers, and towels are involved.  Then once the filters are changed, all the air has to be bled out, and that's a giant nuisance too.
  • Impellers need to be changed on the main engines and generator.  These can and do last more than a year, but sitting out of service for 6 months is hard on them, and I think it's cheap insurance to just replace them.
  • Operate all the thruhulls.  They stiffen up if not operated and will become hopelessly seized if you don't work them.
  • Have the yard freshen up the bottom paint.
So far I've done everything except the on-engine filters on the main, and the impellers.  Once they are done and the bottom is painted, the boat can go back in the water.  Then it's time to go through and test all the systems to be sure everything still works, and fix the few things that surely won't.

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