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10/10/2005: "A few rainy days"

Tropical storm/depression Tammy paid us a visit. Thursday it started raining off and on. Friday it rained all day, and finally let up Saturday afternoon. Fortunately we were on the outer edge of the storm or it could have been worse. Altogether we got between six and nine inches of rain. Everything in the area is very saturated, the ditches are full and we had a washout several miles up the road. With a combination of wind and rain like we had, it provides an opportunity to find out if anything leaks. The good news is that we didn’t have as many leaks as we used to. On the other hand the biggest leak was one that I made. Between the mast and the hatch is a padeye bolted through the ceiling. As part of replacing the headliner I have this removed. The holes are covered with a piece of duct tape. Or, I should say, they “were” covered. I guess there is a limit to how long you can expect duct tape to seal. Thursday they started to leak. I don’t mean that they dripped; I mean there was a steady flow of water onto the salon table. The obvious solution was to seal them. Tape won’t work when the deck is wet. We put a container down to catch the water and a couple of towels to catch any splashing until I could find another solution. Friday we got our downpour, digging into the tools I found some screws big enough that if wrapped with electrical tape would fit the holes and stop most of the water. This actually worked and by putting them in from the inside I didn’t need to go out and get wet. We were back to a slow drip, a major improvement. There were a few other minor leaks that we were able to take care of by just putting down a towel or stuffing a rag to absorb the drips.

Friday night the storm hit in force with 40+ mph winds and driving rain. I was woken up when the bilge alarm went off. I have it installed to go off if I get about eight inches of water in the bilge. The bilge is about three feet deep and has a 3700 gph pump with an automatic float switch. If the water gets above an inch deep the pump comes on automatically. For some reason the pump did not come on and the alarm sounded. There is a back up pump in case of a failure and it quickly had the water pumped out. Now I needed to find where that water was coming from. It turned out that the cockpit scuppers were not draining fast enough and we had about four inches of water in the cockpit. This water found a path and was draining into the bilge. A few minutes with a hand pump had the cockpit emptied and that solved that problem for now. I still need to find out what is blocking the drains.

Saturday morning I went to work on the bilge pumps. With the help of a neighbor to make sure it was wired right we found that the pump had an intermittent “flat spot”. Simply stated, this means that sometimes it would run and other times it wouldn’t. We replaced it with the backup pump and everything is working properly again. We now need to replace the backup pump.

Sunday started out nice but evolved into scattered showers again. There were a lot of threatening clouds but we made it through the day with just one short shower. When we started to move aboard the sailbags were in the way and were moved to the cockpit. We still had the sails off from the hurricane. All this rain had gotten the sails wet and they needed to be dried out. Now was as good of a time to put them back on as any. If you read about how we got ready for the hurricane you know that we had a problem getting the mainsail off. We ended up grinding off the screw at the bottom of the sailtrack. This was how the sail was removed on my previous boats. As I got ready to slide the slugs onto the track I noticed that about two feet up from the bottom of the track was a hinged gate that with the removal of a cotter pin would swing out of the way and make room for the slugs to be slid into the track. Talk about feeling like a dummy. I guess it is all part of learning a new boat. The sails are back on and she looks like a sailboat again