To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Week 44: Back in the Saddle

Back to boat jobs. And waiting for parts for pending boat jobs. We're not working at a blistering pace. During the years of refit, we had only the weekends, so we hustled to get jobs done and checked off in our 48 hours of boat time. Now, we're just easing into the jobs, taking longish breaks, and generally enjoying marina life.

The marina life means trying to have dinner on the screen porch as often as we can. And when dinner isn't transportable, we take our after dinner beers to the porch to hang around with whomever else is there.

Propane Pressure Gauge

The gauge on our propane regulator, for example, had failed.



You can see that the gauge is stuck at 100 psi. Even fully disconnected from everything. That's not so useful.

The actual regulator, however, seemed to be still working. It's just the gauge that had failed. It looks like water finally did it in.

I worry about this kind of installation. First, there's the explosion and fire factor. Then there's a long run of copper pipe from the tank to the cooker. I hate to apply too much force to the connector at the end of that pipe and crack it.

But. It all came apart smoothly. And the new regulator went on smoothly. When I opened the valve, the pressure slowly climbed. After 5 minutes it had steadied at 100 PSI and stayed there for another 5 minutes.

Pressure Test Complete. New regulator installed. Job done. ☑

The Hatch Knob

A hatch knob failed. Unsurprisingly, the plastic failed, leaving the screw in place.


The screw inside the knob will work with a basic ¼" hex key.

We left the hex key in as our hillbilly hatch knob.

It worked great. But looked kind of shabby.

We ordered three new knobs from Hoyt Atkins.

Job done. ☑


Our headsail sheets had started to look a bit skanky. Especially considering that the sail was newly made by Baxter Sailmakers last year.


The lines were showing ridges; presumably from being stretched. Tufts of fibre were pulling out in places. And they'd started to go green in places from mold and mildew.

Worst, of course, is the fact that we leave the sheets rigged: they get soaked by rain and salt water and beat to death by the sun.

We opted for New England Ropes white ½″ (12 mm) stays'l sheets and ⁹⁄₁₆″ (14 mm) yankee sheets. Double braid nylon. No fancy-shmancy fibers for us. Previously, both sets of sheets were ⁹⁄₁₆″ which seemed excessive for the stays'l. While the stays'l is a storm sail, and more heavily built, it's rather small and the heavy sheets didn't seem helpful.

Stays'l: Job done. ☑

Yankee: Almost done. It's an awkward operation to unfurl the yankee, climb the mast and bend on the sheets.

The Bilge Manifold

One of earlier jobs on Red Ranger was adding a third bilge pump.

See "A Manifold of Bilge Pumps" for that story.


We added a pump, a float switch, a batch of wiring, and a hose.

In order to fold the hose into the existing system, we had to add a three-way "Y" connector, in addition to the existing pair of "T" connectors.

At this point, we have room for five separate hoses leading to the through-hull in the side of the boat. One of the five was simply a short run of hose and a cap to fill up a space on the "Y" connector. We can discount this one.

Three of the four working hoses are bilge water. One of the working hoses is not actually being used anymore; it was originally for the refrigerator we removed. See "A Painful Fridge-ectomy" for that story. I'd like to remove it from the boat and throw it away.

What I will have to do is to replace this manifold with three separate through-hull fittings. That clears up the tangle of hoses. And it eliminates the possibility of one pump's output sloshing back through another hose and winding up in the bilge instead of going overboard.

However. (Isn't there always a however.)

One hose appears to be 1½″. One hose is definitely 1¹⁄₈″ (30 mm). The third hose is probably ¾″; it appears to be jammed over a piece of ½″ copper pipe. [½″ pipe should measure about 0.84″ across the threads.]

The existing through-hull is 1¼″. I think it will be easy to find a hose barb fitting for 1½″ hose at Hurd's Hardware. Except the hose will be 6″ too short after we take all the plumbing nonsense away. Either I run a new hose, or I have to splice in 6″ of hose. Which means I need a 1½″ hose barb "splice" fitting or coupler. Still. It's likely to be available at Hurd's.

The other two hoses are somewhat easier to work with. They're a sensible length. The sizes are goofy, but they're at least a manageable goofy. I want to use ¾″ bronze through-hull fittings because I have tools and parts for handling that size. I think I'll need to special order a ¾″ pipe to 1¹⁄₈″ (30 mm) hose barb fitting. I hope the ¾″ pipe to ¾″ hose barb is a commodity item at Hurd's Hardware.

It also means drilling two holes through the hull. But it reduces the number of bits and pieces and hose clamps that are related to bilge pumps.

This is not a job to hurry through. I need to measure several times and avoid the urge to force-fit parts that I didn't measure properly.

Solar Panels

Mounted. Job done. ☑

Wiring is waiting on the 30A controller. So, the entire job is not really done.

Once the new controller shows up, though, it should be the work of an hour or so to connect the various wires, install the new controller and see if any of my expectations will be met.

The basic Z-brackets that are used to screw solar panels to the roofs of RV's and houses seem to work nicely. The wood screws bit into the HDPE of the dodger top and held tightly.

If we do get into trouble with a bracket pulling out or a screw coming loose, we still have the option to through-bolt and use a dab of polysulfide to prevent weeping.

Hot Water Heater Funk

Our Raritan 12 gallon hot water heater has—we think—developed the "dead anode funk."

I think it was Indefatigable that gave us the advice that a bad sulfurous funk in the water system was the anode on the hot water heater having lost its virtue.

It's on order. No one has them in stock. "The Anode should be checked at least once a year by removing it from the water heater," says the owner's manual. About that. We haven't touched it in four years. And the receipt dates from 2006; so we really confident it hasn't been touched in seven years.

We didn't bother taking the old one out to measure. "If the Anode diameter is less than 3/8" (9.5mm), it should be replaced."

We're going by Indy's advice backed up by this note from the owner's manual: "If discoloration, unusual smell or taste develop in the water, inspect or replace Anode." Emphasis on the smell or taste part.

Cushion Mildew

We have an on-again off-again problem with cockpit cushion mildew.


It might almost pass for leopard print.

We only have the problem when we have apocalyptic rain followed by an extended period of time away from the boat. This has happened a few times int the past. Not too frequently.

The last time was just before heading north (Week 39: Annapolis IV: "Done"): we passed through some epic rainstorms on our way into the Solomons. These were "mariners should seek shelter immediately" kind of weather warnings. Indeed, there were jokes about weather forecasters starting their warnings with "Holy $#!+" and "Oh. My. God." It was that bad.

Bonus. The warnings said the worst of it would be near the gas plant near Drum Point. Right. Where. We. Were.

The good news is that it was sudden, so the seas weren't whipped into horrifying Chesapeake Chop. The bad news is that everything got soaked. Everything.

When we left for New York, two days later, it hadn't really dried out. The cushions mostly felt dry, but vinyl is porous.

When we got back the cushions were covered with mildew. As was the cabin sole where we'd stacked them.

What to do?

Simply washing with boat soap did nothing. Scrubbing with Soft Scrub bathroom cleaner did nothing.




So. It's time to pull out the big guns. Off to West Marine. What do they have for solving the mildew in vinyl problem?

It was surprising to me that Star Brite offered a specific product specifically aimed at this specific problem. The preparation is just for mildew on vinyl. It might work on rubber or plastic or similar products. It won't work on wood or fabric since the active ingredient is the same active ingredient in household bleach.

Spray on. Wait about 5 minutes (some cushions took about 8 minutes.) Rinse thoroughly.

Avoid contact with eyes. It burns.

Avoid contact with wood. It bleaches.

For removing the mildew stains, it was amazing. Simply amazing. A little bit goes a long way, so buy the smallest possible container.

The various scuffs, marks and rust stains from years of use are still plainly there. But the mildew stains are gone.

Job done. ☑

Portlight Gaskets

We have 12 Beckson 512 opening ports on Red Ranger. We think the gaskets date from 1981 and are completely flat. Three of the ports weep a bit, so CA bought a dozen new gaskets.

She took all of the ports apart, cleaned the lenses and screens.

We started putting new gaskets in.



Getting the new gaskets into the ports is a brutal job. Brutal.

The new rubber is fat and soft and barely fits into the available slot. This is a good thing, but painful.

There's a ton of pushing and stretching and jamming and squeezing to get a gasket into a port frame.

We got about six done. I did three back to back with minimal trouble. The next three, however, were painful. Why?

Theory: during the heat of the day—1400 to 1600—it was relatively easy. After 1600, it's harder because the plastic frame has contracted ever so slightly.

We're going to address the next six at a pace of perhaps one each day at most. After my thumbs recover.


Our weekend was very busy. Saturday night we had dinner in the screen porch with Ivan, Michael, Jo and Greg. Then a Deltaville Deltas baseball game with Tony, Liza, Ron and Carline.

Tony and Liza of Inspiration are heading out for a month or so. Ron and Carline of Blue Line are only here for repairs, they want to get going ASAP. But everyone else seems to be staying put.

Most nights, it's simply dinner on the screen porch with whoever's there. There are three grills, but we don't have many grill-friendly meals, so CA cooks on Red Ranger and we schlep dinner up to the porch. Sometimes we'll eat dinner aboard and just take our after-dinner beers up to the porch to hang around with whoever else is there.

Sunday night it was Shrimp Fest at Oyster point to benefit the museum. We went there expecting to have dinner with Ron and Carline from Blue Line. We also ran into Greg and Jo from Serenade, and Ann and Rob of Baloo.

This Week

Engine Hours: 0. Diesel Gallons: 0. Miles Run: 0.

Read Aloud. The Wise Man's Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicles. Book 2.


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Diesel 0. gal
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