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 45: CA's Day Job

Beyond boat jobs, CA has a day job.

She's working at the marina part-time. Up early to work in the office, handle retail sales, pumping gas, fixing broken things, cleaning things, answering the phone and radio. Whew. I'm tired just thinking about it.

With Inspiration gone, the screen porch doesn't seem quite as busy at might. Greg and Jo, Ann and Rob are still there. CA and Ann are both creating culinary surprises with all of the old stuff from down in the bilge. Ann had some kind of soufflé with a can of chicken, some stale bread and eggs. CA made some couscous with a can of Bahamas Pigeon Peas and fresh okra from the farmer's market.

To balance off the left-overing, we went to Deltaville Crab Feast on Saturday night.

While CA's working at her day job, I need to finish a bunch of jobs we started.

  • Bilge plumbing.

  • Water heater anode.

  • Outboard engine anode.

  • Solar Panel Wiring.

  • Port Gaskets.

Crab Feast



All the crabs you can eat. Corn on the cob. Burger and dogs for those who aren't crabs. One price for all the food you can pack into your pie-hole.

Beer was extra.

Everyone was there. Everyone from Deltaville and miles around.

A bunch of the marina folks went: Blue Line, Serenade and Red Ranger all shared a huge pile of crabs, corn, crabs, beer, conversation, crabs and crabs.


Did we mention that it was all-you-can eat crabs?

That's a lot of cracking and picking at crabs.

I'm slowly getting a little better at getting all the good bits out without getting too much shell all over everything.

The locals can crack open a crab with a certain flourish and get the claws apart as a single lump of meat.

I was happy to have crabs and beer, even if I was graceless and inelegant.

And yes, there's a woman in a crab custom leading the dancing.

The Bilge Manifold

We had four hoses through various "T" and "Y" connections going through a single through hull fitting. It worked. But. I wanted to remove one of the four (the no-longer relevant fridge compressor output.) But it was on a copper "T" fitting; the only way to remove it cleanly is to rebuild the entire thing.

Here's the setup.



The big connection in the middle, covered with old paint and plumber's putty is the existing 1¼″ connection.

It's flanked by the two new ¾″ connections.

Here's the pile of connecting stuff which I removed.



You may notice that the "T" fitting on the bottom right is in two pieces.

When I tried to pull the hose off the "T" fitting, the copper parted company, leaving a piece in the hose and a piece threaded into the "T".

Glad I found that piece of copper now rather than when the pump was just pumping wanter into the lazarette instead of pumping it overboard.

Here's the closeup of the connection which pulled apart.


It didn't pull apart easily. I had to really put some back into it. I thought that yanking the hose off was better than wrestling a sharp knife around in the confined space occupied by these hoses.

The idea of not wrestling a knife around was an Epic Fail. The two old rubber hoses had to be cut. But, mercifully, I didn't cut myself doing that. I did cut myself on the wire core of a hose and a hose clamp, but not the knife.

Now we have three separate, somewhat more trustworthy bilge fittings.


Each hose is independent; failure in one doesn't have any impact on the other two. There's no possibility of backwash from one pump into another.

I've decided not to double hose-clamp everything because it's so far above the waterline. I may, someday, add a second set of hose clamps when I don't have anything more pressing to do.


The bilge was so dry [How dry was it? It was so dry the cacti were wilted.]

The bilge was so dry [How dry was it? It was so dry the NASA sent a Mars rover to look for signs of life.]

The bilge was so dry CA had to run a hose down there to get enough water that we could run the pumps on for testing. A bilge that dry is a good thing.

Now I can put all the stuff back in the lazarette and get it out from underfoot in the cockpit.

Possible Bonus Bonus.

Now that the "T" connectors are gone, there appears to be smoother, more direct flows. Which, I think, might mean less dribble down the side of the boat. It's hard to be sure, since we're fortunate to have little bilge pump action on Red Ranger. And I hope to keep it that way.

Water Heater Anode

Total defeat.

Don't want to talk about it.

I cannot get a wrench on the old anode fitting at all. It's just too far inside the insulation to get a grip on it.

As near as I can tell, the only way to get it out is to put a wrench on the threads and shred the living daylights out of the fitting. That's one of those "burn the bridges", "destroy everything", "hope nothing goes wrong" moves that I just can't conscience attempting.

I need a fallback plan and stripping the threads off the old fitting with a pipe wrench doesn't seem to provide the needed escape route when something else goes wrong.

Outboard Engine Anode

Outboard anode? Done. Piece of cake.



Our dentist gave us an old, no-longer-acceptable-for-healthcare dental probe. Just the thing for picking the barnacles out of the socket so the zinc could drop out.

Solar Panel Wiring

The controller wants to be mounted into a 3 ¾″ by 6″ hole so that it comes out flush with other instruments and electronics.

A hole? Flush mount? In the engine room? I think not.


Step 1, then, is to build a little box or frame that will screw onto the engine room wall and then I can put this controller onto the little box.

I have screws, glue and scrap wood. I'm a lousy woodworker, but, it's in the engine room. Sturdy matters more than finish carpentry looks.

Anyway, that's my excuse for lousy carpentry.

Once the box is on the little frame, it's a small matter to connect up all the MC-4 on-deck connectors to each other. This forms a cascading series of "Y" fittings among the on-deck panel array. The MC-4 "Y" fittings have little eye holes so they can be cable-tied down solidly. The final connection is made by cutting a 20′ wire in half, putting ring terminals on each half, and connecting the positive and negative to the panel array.


Once the controller was attached to the battery, then the magic started to happen.

You can barely see it this photo, but the two panels are producing 8.3A, about 125W, which is about 30% of the 300W rated capacity of the two panels.

This is about 4× more than we got from our random collection of 78W of little panels scattered around on deck. 78×4=312. Getting 4× output from 4× wattage seems to fit .

By the time I turned back to the main electrical panel, the clouds had moved and the panels were producing 9.2A, about 140W. That's pretty nice considering that one panel's in the sun and the other is in the shade of the mains'l.

Friday morning, under a bright sun, we were seeing 11-12A charging current. The voltage is way above the 13.8V our voltage-sensitive relay needs to see; there's no "chattering" on and off. All the batteries are being happily charged. We could consider switching our shore power to running the air conditioner instead of the battery charger.

V-Berth Upgrade


I added two outlets in the V-berth. 12V DC and USB chargers.

This allows guests to charge their phones, Kindles and iPads in the comfort of their own cabin.

We're also going to add a "clip-on" fan that can be plugged into the 12V outlet and moved around the cabin to optimize the breeze.

This Week

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

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


Attribute Value
Engine 0. h
Diesel 0. gal
Distance 0. nm