Dream Away Update 17-Oct-2004
We are in Houston at the Watergate Yachting Center, which used to be our home. We did not go back to our old slip. I decided that we needed to be at a floating dock so that I could do the necessary repairs and fix leaks.
First, let me bring you up to date on how we got to Houston, as even that was a bit of an adventure. The engine running problem that we had, was fixed. Initially, I was suspecting the main engine injector pump. But it turned out that was not the problem because I was able to get the engine running. The problem eventually revealed itself to be the port fuel tank vent. This had never been an issue before, but became an issue because of a fix I did on the fuel tank inspection ports. Previously, when the fuel tanks were topped off, and we were in rough weather, the inspection ports had always leaked a tiny bit of fuel. Being the thorough person that I am, I decided that I would put rubber gaskets on the inspection ports, and seal those leaks. What I did not know was that, on the port fuel tank, the 'leak' was actually the vent, and I had just shut it off. When I figured out that venting was the problem, I took off the stanchion into which the vent hose ran, and sure enough, the hose was bent back over itself several times. I have no idea when this happened, or how long it had been that way. Needless to say that problem is fixed, and we now have a running engine.
Our orginal plans changed for leaving South Texas. In the month of June, the weather was so bad in Corpus Christi and Houston that we could see no good reason for leaving Port Isabel, Texas. We did attempt to leave near the end of June, but I started having the engine overheat problem and we lost all of our instruments crossing the Laguna Madre. Going up the GIWW (Gulf Intercoastal Water Way) without a depth sounder was something that I did not want to do, so we turned around and went back to Port Isabel. We decided to stay in Port Isabel until after the fourth of July.
I was able to trace down the instrument problem to a broken solder joint in the wiring of the Sea Talk bus from the autopilot to the instruments on the boom gallows. The over heating problem turned out to be a “new” impeller on the main engine raw water pump. The impeller only had 85 hours on it, but seven of the eight blades on the impeller were cracked. It turns out rubber has a shelf life! I have also discoverd that the PAR/Jabsco Nitrile (black) impellers are not really very good either. I have replaced all of the raw water pump impellers with Globe Rubber Co. Impellers (blue)
After the July Fourth celebration in Port Isabel, we got under way on July 5th, heading north to continue our journey to Florida, via Houston. We made several stops along the way, and generally had a good trip. We stopped for one night at the marina in Port Mansfield, and for two nights at an anchorage called Spinnaker Cove, just south of Corpus Christi Bay. We next stopped in Rockport for two nights at the Navigation District Marina. Then on to Greens Bayou in Matagorda Bay for one night, and one night in the San Bernard River. We were under a bit of schedule pressure, as we had to drive to Tampa to attend to family business and be there by the 15th of July. We arrived into Watergate Yachting Center the night of July 13th.
The next two days were spent getting the boat ready to be left. Since we did not know how long we would be in Tampa, we had to prepare the boat as if a storm were coming. We removed all of the sails, the roller furling Genoa, the main sail and the mizzen sail. We removed the Magma grill, the man overboard pole, and the Lifesling. Anything that had windage and could be removed was taken off of the boat.
As it turned out the, trip to Tampa was not necessary. We did not have to drive to Tampa, so we really got into the project list. Because of the up-coming hurricane season, it was decided to leave all of the sails off of the boat, just in case, and it would make the projects and repairs easier.
I am going to have the Admiral (Kitty) type up the maintenance and repair log that I have been keeping since we arrived in Port Isabel the first of June. If you want to get into all of the details of the projects, you can read those log entries.
Over all, the summer has been spent fixing the items that were broken or that needed upgrading; finding and repairing leaks; and, finishing projects that would have been done if we had kept to the original plan.
It is now October, and we are very glad that we had the problems back in June that kept us in Houston over the summer. Othewise, we would have been in Florida during all of the hurricane activity so far. Also, I have had some medical issues that have come up (skin cancer) that are delaying our departure. The weather has made us a bit skittish about crossing the Gulf of Mexico while there is still a chance of a hurriane (November - remember), so our plans are changing again. I will, hopefully, get my release from the doctor around the 3rd to 5th of November. We will be looking for a weather window to leave Houston around the 8th to 10th of November. We will not be sailing to Tampa, but will sail to the Dry Tortugas, then Marathon, and on to Miami for Thanksgiving. We are still planning to be in the Bahamas for the winter, but we will be changing our plans for next summer. Instead of going up the east coast of the U.S. next summer, we will probably come back to the Gulf coast. Because of the weather this year, we did not get to cruise the Florida Panhandle or visit with family in Tampa. We would still like to do that, thus the new 'guidelines'.