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Thursday, June 2, 2011

6/2/2011 - Leaving tomorrow

If nothing goes wrong, we should be heading out with the ebbing tide sometime after 12:30 tomorrow afternoon. Got all the repairs made and the victuals bought and stowed. Laundry's done and we both took real showers today. Tomorrow morning we'll get up whenever and then we have to stow the dinghy and outboard, secure the crap on deck, check the engine's vital fluids, stow the Honda generator, rig the windvane and secure stuff belowdecks. Then, as soon as the tide shifts at about 12:38 PM, we are outa here. Really looking forward to getting back to the cruising life.

Dave and Marj (and granddaughter, Claire) brought us our repair parts on Monday and I got everything installed on Tuesday.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about when I refer to the "mixing elbow" that crapped out, a brief explanation:

Not all diesel engines on boats are set up this way but most of the ones on sailboats are. The sea water we're floating in is used to cool the engine, either directly or indirectly. If cooled directly, the seawater just runs through the engine; cool water in, hot water out = cool engine. If indirectly (or "freshwater") cooled, the sea water runs through a heat exchanger, like your car's radiator, where it cools the fresh water or, more likely, antifreeze before being discharged. Okay, so far?

Okay. Using a standard automotive-type exhaust pipe solution wouldn't work too well on a sailboat. The exhaust, and therefore the exhaust pipe, get blazingly hot. As it passed through the deck or hull on it's way off the boat, the pipe would have to be carefully insulated to keep it from setting the boat on fire. Also, on a sailboat especially, where the heck would you run a hot exhaust pipe so that it wouldn't be a hazard?

So, now we have a hot exhaust pipe and a bunch of spent cooling water. Hmmm.... what to do, what to do? Well some brilliant marine engineer came up with the bright idea of mixing the spent cooling water with the hot exhaust to cool the exhaust and thus, cool the exhaust pipe. And, amazingly enough, this idea actually works. It works so well that we are able to use heavy rubber hose as an exhaust pipe. This makes engine installation in some of the unbelievably cramped engine areas much easier than it would be if we had to use rigid pipe.

So, there's the concept. Where the spent cooling water meets the hot exhaust is called the mixing elbow. These things are very prone to failure (the one on our old boat failed, too) due to the corrosive mixture of hot salt water and hot, sulfurous exhaust smoke. The elbows are heavily built but, let's face it, with that kind of brew to deal with, failure is only a matter of time. And, sure enough, that's what forced us back to La Paz a couple weeks ago.

As I blogged about before, here's a photo of my makeshift repair which stood us in good stead:

The elbow is the big thing on the right-hand side of the photo, the thing that the rubber hose is attached to. The elbow is fine. It's just that the flange that allows it to be clamped to the heat exchanger rotted off and I had to find a new way to connect them. Under the rubber jacket that was formed when the Rescue Tape self-amalgamated, is a collection of tin cans and hose clamps:

In the above photo, you can see how the Rescue Tape became a solid rubber jacket. The inner layer was the black tape that I used first. The red layer was added later and probably wasn't necessary but made me feel better. The tape was really easy to remove as it didn't stick to anything but itself. Just ran a blade along it and it burst open like the skin on a precision-cooked hot dog. It also came off in one piece.

Hooking the new elbow up was a job a few minutes and here it is all clamped up properly:

Dave & Marj also brought down our new Simrad TP-32 tillerpilot (autopilot). It's almost exactly the same size as the Autohelm 800 it's replacing. Almost. I did have to move the mounting plate to the opposite side of the boat to make it fit right. And wire in the new plug-in, but that was it.

We did a big provisioning (grocery shopping) trip yesterday. Wednesday is a really good day to go grocery shopping here as that's the day they get a bunch of fresh produce and they have really good prices on it on Wednesday. How does $0.12/lb. for cabbage, $0.16/lb. for cucumbers, $0.31/lb. for mangos, $0.13/lb for limones, or $0.04/bundle for spinach sound? After Lulu gets this bounty back to the boat she washes it all and then has to find somewhere to let it dry. In this case she used our bed:

Those little red things are potatoes. We also got some regular sized spuds. Potatoes cost more here, mostly because they're sold individually since spuds aren't a huge part of the diet. But the spuds they sell are really nice and keep extremely well.

So, we're all set to go. Running the generator tonight to bring the batteries up and running the watermaker at the same time. For the next week or so, we'll be out of internet range so blogs will be posted via Sailmail, hence, no pictures. Once we get to Puerto Escondido, we'll put some photos up. Go the to the "Find us" blog of a few days ago to get the links so you can follow our progress. I'll update our position every day, if I can.

And, with that, hasta luego.


Anonymous said...

Have a good trip kids, and do keep in touch. Love, mom

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Steve & Lulu: Good luck and good sailing. Have a nice trip. Love to you both - Nancy

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve and LuLu- Bon Voyage-can't wait to read your updates.....have fun....take care...