I am very pleased to announce that I finished installing the seacocks late on April 23. The seacocks are valves next to the hull, below the waterline, where liquid comes in or out of the boat. Some boats have many, but we felt the fewer holes in the bottom the better off we were and we have five.
There is one that lets in water for anything that needs water. Flushing the toilet. We have salt water plumbed to faucets at both sinks. Of course, we use salt water for cooling the engine.
There is one that is the outlet for the toilet. There is one that is the outlet for the kitchen (galley) sink. And there are two that are outlets for the cockpit.
This is been a long, ongoing project and I will spare you most of the countless details. When we hauled the boat out of the water in April 2010, we notice that there was a heavy buildup of almost like varnish inside the valves where the sliding parts turn. It seemed to us that that was making the valves leak a little bit. No solvent that we could find would touch it.
We also noticed that several of the valves were weeping slightly where the sealant was not doing a proper job between the valve in the hull. We did not realize it at the time, but I recently found out that it was because we had not been aware that we needed to use a special primer when we put the sealant on. I think I mentioned that I bought sealant that we have used ever since we were building the boat, and it has worked very well. I went to some trouble to obtain it in the last days before my flight. Because if it is not fresh, it sometimes has turned into rubber in the tube. But, I did not know about the primer and the cost and time delay to have it shipped seems prohibitive. So, I went with a popular sealant, that I could obtain with the primer that is required, right here in Turkey. Although it took five days to arrive and is expensive, especially when they deliver twice as big a bottle as I need. Actually I just needed a few tablespoons, but I felt that I really did need it. So, I threw money at the project. Ask me in 20 years if I made a good choice.
They were all installed late on Tuesday. But, I have one more to finish connecting. I am waiting for the water inlet strainer. It had a great deal of coral or some sort of calcium like buildup inside that has been very hard to clean off. In the past I’ve used concentrated hydrochloric acid (HCL), which is very dangerous, but does a good job. However, we were almost out. So, I used what I had and then went off to the store to buy some more. Every grocery store in Mexico carries it. It is not at all hard to find in the United States, but here it seemed to be hard to find. However, they did have a sort of strong acid that they used for cleaning lime deposits off of teapots and bathroom fixtures that seems to work quite well. My compliments to the hardware store man, who first thought that I would need to go to the pharmacy to buy hydrochloric acid, but then he had an inspiration and asked me if this other products would work. I thought it looks like ‘Lime Away’ that my mom had in Houston and I did not think it would be anywhere near strong enough. However, he said, “No wait!” And poured some on his floor which caused an extremely vigorous bubbling and fizzing as it proceeded to eat into his tile.
That seem to me to be a rather extreme way to show me how powerful it was, at his expense. But, it looked like it would probably work. It does not seem to say what kind of acid it contains, but for this job I don’t really care. There were some more adventures in confusion while I found which grocery store had the product, but I came home with a bottle of it and a small amount did the job. Now, I’m waiting for it to dry, so that I can use an electric drill with a wire brush and it, to clean off the remaining residue.
I am also using a strong citric acid solution to passivate a variety of stainless parts. It removes rust from the surface of the stainless, and also dramatically increases the thickness of the protective film on the surface of the stainless, that is what makes stainless stainless. I find that stainless parts remain shiny and on corroded much longer after doing this. But, I have to be careful because the fumes can be quite annoying at best. And, I have no desire to find out if they’re dangerous. They certainly smell dangerous.
I’m going to have the boat yard paint the bottom of the boat, and I told the foreman that he could start on Monday. The delay is to let the sealant cure properly. How fast things proceed after that depend on his schedule, and also how warm it is. It is definitely warming up. And if it is warm enough, you can put on two coats in the same day. I want to put on three coats, plus an extra coat around the waterline and leading edges. And then they have to move the fenceposts that hold the boat up, and then we put three coats on the places where the fenceposts were. So, if we do one coat per day, that could take eight or more days all by itself. I will keep you posted. I want to launch as soon as possible because my visa expires on the thirtieth of May.
As I finish installing each seacock, then connecting the hoses, which I feel requires taking off all the many hose clamps and carefully inspecting them under a magnifying glass. So far two have been defective and I have replaced those. Once I’m finished working in an area, I can put back the large amount of stuff that has been sitting in the main salon and galley for an eternity. The largest and most of noxious pile of stuff is waiting for me to finish the last seacock, but I have made quite a dent in the pile, and it feels better already.
I also recently did two days of laundry. It only takes a couple of hours, but I had to break it up into two days. I was running out of clothes to wear. On the few days when I did have time to fool with laundry, we were having scattered rain showers. So, it is been far too long since I was able to do laundry. I think I’ve mentioned that I do it in a bucket, but they have a very nice room with four large stainless steel sinks and lots of hot water, so it is pretty easy. But, I would prefer to have an inexpensive self-serve laundromat. So far, those are almost nonexistent in the Mediterranean. The Marina in Rome had the only one I’ve seen so far.
That’s all for now. I need to go see if my part is dry enough to wire brush.