DREAM AWAY Update 10-12-2014


As mentioned in the quick update of 10-02-2014, we arrived safely and we are presently docked at the Clearwater Municipal Marina, in Clearwater, Florida. The passage update has been completed. I know you will see way too many photos of sunrises, sunsets, and dolphins, but what can I say.

The original plan called for us to stay here for two days, and then move on south. Our plan changed twice is as many days! The day before we were ready to depart, I was checking the weather and realized a strong front was coming through, and that we would have strong north winds for the next two or three days. This presented a bit of a problem for us as there were not any really good anchorages with protection from north winds between Clearwater and the mooring field in Saint Petersburg. Because of the weather, we decided to stay at the Clearwater Municipal Marina for a week. That would also give me time to get a couple of small projects done. This was Thursday October 02, 2014.

Since we decided to stay, it was time to get busy with those projects. I spent a good part of the day straightening up DREAM AWAY, and washing the exterior of the boat. As you can guess, after an offshore passage, salt seems to be everywhere. I put sail covers on the mizzen sail and the main sail.

The fun project for the day was to rebuild the holding tank pump. When we were coming into Clearwater, but were still offshore, I had attempted to pump out the holding tank, but the pump would not start. It is a manual self-priming pump, but would not prime!

Fortunately, I had a kit for the pump. I took the pump out of the system, and rebuilt it. As mentioned, the pump would not prime and wasn't full of effluent, so the job was not as bad as it could have been. Now the pump is rebuilt, back in system, and it is working properly.

Friday dawned bright and beautiful. I spent a large chunk of time getting caught up on my email. I also investigated a problem with the wooden hatch in the aft cabin. We had had a leak during the passage. It was not actually the hatch that was leaking, but it seemed to be coming from the base of the hatch. I took the hinges off of the hatch and rebedded them. As I was cleaning up from the project, I noticed a hole in the hatch base where a long screw was going all the way through the hatch base. It was late, so I just put a piece of tape over the hole. I will get into that project later this week.

During the day, I noticed the refrigeration was running all of the time, but the temperature in the refrigerator and the freezer was slowly going up. This would be looked into Saturday morning.

Our niece, Terri, had spent the night with us on Friday night. We had a great visit and after a late breakfast on Saturday, she headed off to her home in Tampa. Now I was able to get to the refrigeration system. When connecting the gauges to the system, I noticed there was no refrigerant in the system. This was not good, as this meant there was a leak somewhere in the system.

I dug out the vacuum pump I have to use on the refrigeration, and connected it to the system. I let it run to pull down the system to 30” of mercury. I closed the valves, and the system held the vacuum for well over an hour. Very strange!

While I was doing all of this, my second niece, Lyn, and her boyfriend, Paul, came to visit. They live in Spring Hill, Florida, which is a bit of a drive. We had a nice lunch, and it was great to catch up on all of the family doings.

When Lyn and Paul left, I decided that I would attempt to charge the refrigeration system with the R-409A refrigerant. I tried to charge the system, but something was just not right. When I disconnected the high pressure hose from the gauges to the high pressure side of the compressor, water came out! That could only mean I had a leak in the water-cooled condenser. I shut off the water to the refrigeration cooling system, and then removed the condenser.

I got out some hose and connectors, and tested the condenser. Sure enough, the condenser was leaking. So, I had to find a new one, or a good used one. We started checking around, and there was nothing that could be done on a Saturday afternoon or on Sunday. Everything was closed. We made arrangements for our great nephew, Aaron, to come out to DREAM AWAY on Sunday to pick up most of our frozen food, and take it to his home and store it in a big chest freezer he has.

To make a long story about the refrigeration system much shorter, all I can say is I am still working on the system today, a week later, and it needs more work. The bottom line is we have extended our stay from one week to one month at the Clearwater Municipal Marina.

On Monday October 6th, we rented a car to get all of the necessary parts to repair the refrigeration system. However, the system will need several flushings to get rid of debrie in the system, and to dry it out. We hope to have a professional, who has the equipment needed, come do that tomorrow, Monday, October 13th. We are getting by using ice, but it will be nice to get the refrigeration system back to normal.

In the meantime, we are enjoying our time here. Today we got together with most of my family that lives in the area for a picnic in the park. That was very nice, and great fun, too.

I hope to get more information out while we are here in Clearwater, Florida. I also hope to be getting a lot of small projects that need to be done completed.



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