Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cruisin' Plans

I think I mentioned I was having a little trouble with the heat exchanger on the engine.  I'd been cleaning up the cooling system, replacing the hoses and the impeller, and decided to remove the exchanger core so it could be soaked in a caustic solution to remove any deposits that might have built up.  The core is a bundle of copper tubes suspended inside a water-filled cast iron housing and functions just like the radiator in your car except that it uses water for cooling instead of air.  The fresh water engine coolant flows through the tube bundle and transfers heat to the brackish Bay water that is flowing through the housing.  The core sticks out both ends of the housing and is held in place with "O" rings and end-plates.

The end-plate at the back of the heat exchanger is the one I'm having trouble with.  When we first looked at the boat before we bought it I noticed a lot of corrosion where this plate bolts up.  I mentioned it to the broker and the next time we looked at the boat it had been cleaned up.  I was told they had "fixed" it.  What they did was clean away the obvious corrosion and putty up the end-plate with about 28 ounces of gasket sealer.  When I took it apart a year later I found the back of the housing had been eaten away by the corrosion, destroying the gasket surface.  I was unable to find the "O" ring back there and suspect this might be the original problem, that someone had forgotten to put in the "O" ring when they reassembled it, causing a water leak.  It's in a spot that's hard to see so it probably went unnoticed for quite a while, thus the extensive corrosion and damage.

I've been soaking this area with penetrating oil for five days now and still can't get the core out of the housing.  It's like it's welded in there.  Even if I could get it out I'd still hafta deal with the ruined gasket surface.  I talked to Brian at Conlyn Marine, the local Yanmar engine pro, and asked him about replacing the housing, which in my mind is the only real way to deal with this.  He didn't want to tell me what it would cost to replace the housing because I wasn't sitting down with a drink in my hand.  Uhm, that can't be good.  So I went home and decided to just goop up the end-plate as best I could and let it go for a few more years until it was time to rebuild the engine, something we'll need to do before we head out on our cruise.

The next day I called Brian and asked him again what it would cost, just being curious.  When he told me it came out to be less than the cost of the wind generator we were going to get.  I decided on the spot that getting the engine repaired correctly was a higher priority than the wind generator.  I just can't stand the idea of doing Mickey Mouse repairs.  The parts will be delivered tomorrow and hopefully we'll be back in business by the end of the weekend.  This works out really well.  We'll still have time to get the wind generator installed before we go on our trip in June.  That'll give us the whole month of May to make sure the engine is behaving nicely.

On May 13th (FRIDAY the 13th!!!) Cheri's nephew and his wife, Brian and Katie, and their 3 year old daughter, Kaitlyn, will be joining us for a sail up to Rock Hall.  We'll be staying at the Osprey Point marina and there's a really nice B+B and restaurant there.  Brian's Mom and Dad have made reservations at the B+B for Brian and Katie and Cheri and I will take care of Kaitlyn for the night.  It's a full day sail from Herring Bay to Rock Hall, 6 or 7 hours.  We have reservations for dinner at 1930 so we'll hafta get an early start.  Brian is an avid fisherman and is hoping to get some time out on the Bay.  Maybe trolling at 8 knots.

We're putting plans together for our vacation in June.  We're taking two weeks off, May 27th to June 12th.  We're planning to sail down to the Patuxent River (map) and stay in Cuckold Creek ( just past Solomans Island) the first night.  From there we'll sail up the Potomac River to St. Marys City for a night and maybe up to Breton Bay (map).  Our next destination is Mill Creek off The Great Wicomico River (map).  This is supposed to be a really beautiful spot and we may spend several days here.  Further up the river is Horn Harbor and we've heard that it's also a good spot, well protected, quiet.  From there we'll head south.  There are several good creeks but I think we'll go to Antipoisen Creek (map).  This is where Captain John Smith almost died from a sting ray barb wound.  History is interesting but doesn't need to repeat itself so we'll avoid the sting rays here.  We haven't decided if we'll explore the Rappahannock River to the south or head across the Bay and check out Tangier Island (map).  Once on the eastern side of the Bay we'll look into the Nanticoke and Honga Rivers (map).  I suspect we'll run out of time somewhere around here, especially if we find some good spots to explore with the dinghy.  We want to spend as much time at anchor as we can but will look for a marina every 5 or 6 days as a break.  I think the main attractions will be Mill Creek and the Nanticoke River.  These are both reported to be mostly undeveloped and much the same as they were 400 years ago when first seen by Europeans.

A few years ago my sister and brother-in-law, Ellen and Ed, gave us several books about Captain John Smith and the two voyages of discovery he made around the Chesapeake Bay (check this out).  Almost all of the places we're planning to go to on this vacation were on Smith's 1st voyage. I've been wanting to do this ever since we got those books.  I want to sit at anchor in Mill Creek and read about what they did there and try to imagine what it was like.  Of course most of the areas they went to are way different now with farmland and developments at the river's edge but there are still places that look very much the same.  I think this is gonna be cool.

1 comment:

Hayden said...

This trip plan sounds fantastic and weill explore some beautiful places, many of which we have not been! Make sure you spend a good day at St. Marys City a living history site.
Hayden n Radeen