Friday, November 8, 2013

What was that sound? That was October whizzing by...

If you want to, you can find beauty anywhere. Even in a rainy rush hour drive home...

I knew months ago that October was going to be crazy. I just maybe did not appreciate how absolutely insane things could get.

My October has been chock full of me juggling. About 16 balls at once. There has been very little boat action on my part this month but there has been me being homeroom craft leader for Kitty's class, getting Maura to after school activities literally has taken up dance and sadly, can not yet drive. Maura is deeply involved in her singing and volunteer work and again, another non-driver so its up to me to get her where she needs to be. My vocal student load has doubled, I agreed to play photographer for a birth (for a professional photographer. Talk about pressure!) and I spent days feverishly editing away, had one wedding that I had on the books a year ago that was a solid week of crazy. I'm hitting the gym in an attempt to up my strength so hoisting those sails is a bit easier. Keeping up the house and yard and planning my work schedule to get it ready to go on the market, getting rid of clutter and stuff to get ready to cruise, got sick for a dew days in there and oh, I got to be a single parent for a week while Mark was in France on business. Phew.

 Now you see why it's been quiet on the blog front. I really need about 2 hours of undisturbed time to myself to write and it just has not happened. I am committed to at least one blog post a month until the school year is out, but I'm not promising more. Come July when we are at the boat full time I will blather on more regularly about such exciting topics as deck hardware, refrigeration systems and anchors.

The kids and house are keeping me seriously busy. Its just insane right now and will be until July when we move away from the suburbs and to the boat for the last 6 month push to get ready to leave. In order to make this work for the kids, I agreed to let them soak up everything land based life in the US has to offer so that they do not feel they missed out on anything. It is exhausting, but we are trading time right now. Its their time now, when we finally leave they will still be my first priority but we are carving out  bit more time for Mark and I to accomplish our goals. They are going to love it and will be richly rewarded by the experiences, but the teen is a little reticent to leave what she knows. Reminding her when the time comes how we helped her accomplish her goals should go a long way towards allowing us to sail as a family with minimal grumbling.

While I have been juggling, Mark has been kicking butt. That week in France slowed his roll a bit but we FINALLY have a functioning generator. This has turned out to be the Mother Of All Projects but at long last, its done.

Mark being the meticulous, spread sheet loving man that he is of course writes everything down. When you look at the list, it looks so , so simple and easy.
Replumbed the seawater cooling plumbing to the common manifold with the main engine Mark designed.
Replumbed the fuel lines to the common manifold  with the main engine
Modified fresh water cooling circuit to include take off ports for connection to the hot water tank heating coil
Replaced impeller
Refurbished and installed injectors
Replaced glow plugs
Replaced fuel solenoid
Added cooling water bottle to take up excess expansion
Ran engine with Seafoam to reduce carbon build up.

Ok, that last item was simple and easy but that was the only part that went smoothly.

 Trying to source parts for an obsolete 30 year old generator is no small feat. Despite having the original part manual, the ordering and procuring of parts has been a bit like a scavenger hunt except instead of having a list of items you need, you have a list of items that have nothing what so ever to do with what you are actually looking for. You can either order the parts according to the number and pay a HUGE mark up (like 10 times) or you can try to find a part that is stocked absolutely no where in the world. So you get to try to find the manufacturers part numbers by hitting the online forums. This means you get to wade through page after page of posts that have nothing to do with the original question. Fast it is not but then again, we sail a monohull so speed had better not ever be a priority.

So it was a couple of months of utter pantomime. A comedy of errors if you will. Finding the parts, getting the parts, finding out the parts did not fit, removing the parts, sending them back and repeating the process. Worrying about the injectors being shot, ordering new injectors for spares and having the old ones refurbished. Installing the injectors and frying the control circuit fuses. Over and over.

Next we assume its the glow plugs, so replace those. No go. Have fun spending days trying to fault find an intermittent problem with the fuel solenoid. The trick here is to try not to cry when the fuel solenoid performs perfectly when the high pressure fuel lines are disconnected but fails when the fuel lines are hooked up in an attempt to start the engine.

And again with the crappy manual, which describes the solenoid as having 2 coils- a pull coil and a hold coil. Somewhere there is an evil technical writer laughing about this description since in reality the solenoid has a main coil and an auxiliary coil. (If you want to know why this is a problem, write Mark at Ceol underscore Mor at yahoo. Be warned, he says its very technical) and so on and so on.

So after dealing with this project for what seems like an eternity, we are pretty damned excited that we now have a functional generator and engine. I am also glad that despite what would be completely understandable circumstances, Mark did not become either completely insane or an alcoholic. It could have easily gone either way.
Also beautiful- a generator which works

Crossing an ocean sounds a heck of a lot easier and more enjoyable than the slog that was the generator refit. So, so glad that is over.


  1. Sounds beyond busy, Will november be less hectic for you?

    1. No weddings or births so should be much less stressful if not completely laid back. (These kids keep me hopping!) I am very much looking forward to slowing down a wee bit.

  2. "Crossing an ocean sounds a heck of a lot easier and more enjoyable than the slog that was the generator refit" It is, and don't forget it. Eye on the prize.

    1. I figure the suckiness of this last year of refit is the Universe's way of getting us ready. its kind of like the last 2 months of pregnancy. The Universe makes it so sucky that you will do anything to just be done with it - even go through labor gladly.

  3. With the "Fun/Suck meter" pegged down on the 'suck' side for so long, imagine all the fun you are due!!

  4. I love the trade off you have given Maura of letting her soak in all the things she can possibly do right now. VERY cool of you. I imagine it has you running ragged though. Eagerly awaiting the next blog post :)

    1. It would be easier if the girls had coordinating schedules. As it is, most of Kitty's stuff happens before 1 pm while Maura's stuff happens after 4. You were so smart to have those beautiful girls with a manageable age gap!

  5. Just like October, this blog post whizzed by me! How did I miss it? I am SO glad to hear the news about your generator. Having a diesel generator totally rocks and I am completely envious of you and your powers.

    It's really nice that you are taking the time to allow the girls to have a packed schedule :). They can remember that when they are out cruising and also perhaps will long for a break when you approach your departure (was this really the goal?), LOL. Smart. It's looking more and more like we will leave at the same time. The end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015. I hope we meet up in the Bahamas and drink margaritas on the beach, or better yet on Ceol Mor while enjoying diesel powered AC. Oh yeah, drinks at your place.

    1. If it gets too sticky out I am ABSOLUTELY turning on the ac. There has to be a pay off for the time sink that was the generator project. That was nuts.

      it is my fervent hope that we manage to slip the dock lines just a couple of weeks ahead of you and can spend a few days in NOLA. The girls haven't been there and they should know where their family is from. Plus- team Sundowner buddy boating to the Bahamas. :D

  6. Oh and SUCH pretty pictures on this post and the one above!!!!