"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders
Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret do cuments the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.
November 30, 2012
Position: Fish Camp – Big Pine Key – Florida Keys
Hello mis amigos, long time, no writie. There hasn’t been much going on because other than more work on Egret before leaving for the winter and we haven’t done much else nautical. We won’t bore with you any more Egret techno like the last super techno post other than to say the engine room hoses are now changed and we bled a little more. Vic from Naiad Southeast (Ft Lauderdale) stopped by with his foreman and we showed them the access points to change Egret’s Naiad hydraulic hoses. The hoses are 11 years old and even though they appear perfect we believe Its Time so they will be changed sometime during the winter along with replacing the suction hose from the bottom of the cooling tower to the main as well as all the fluid and filter.
The reason we are in the Florida Keys at a friend’s Fish Camp is because the Bubba Truck has serious engine problems. It’s a long sad story but we have replaced the head with a rebuilt head and now the engine is getting new rod and main bearings. The only reason I am mentioning this dirty laundry is to pass along a lesson.
So here’s the deal in a nutshell. While driving around town I noticed the oil pressure and water temperature gauges moving in unison from their normal operating position to the off position then back to normal. So I figured it was an electrical issue. Under the hood we went to check the fuses to begin with and saw oil Everywhere. The oil dip stick was Dry. I started the engine and oil was pumping out in a pressurized stream. So to make a sad story short, off Bubba went for a new head to replace the cracked one. At no time did the idle change or was there any indication of the engine trying to seize. (In another life I had more than enough experience with this.)
Bubba came back from the shop and off we went to the dealership where we bought Bubba in mid state (Florida) before going up to Scott Jr’s for Thanksgiving then heading west for the winter. During the ride north, at first the oil pressure was normal, rising on cold oil then falling on hot oil. After a while the oil pressure started climbing somewhat with no change in rpm. Oil pressure rising on a hot engine is Not Normal and why we are passing this along. Oil pressure rising on a hot engine is Not Normal and why we are passing this on twice to help folks remember. While at the car dealer I asked the service manager if they would pull the oil filter and cut it in half, just in case there was a problem. They did and it was my (our) worst nightmare. The pleated filter medium was Full of silver metal bearing material. The only good news was there was no steel from the engine or copper from the balance of the bearings. (Bearings have an outer soft sacrificial material called babbet to absorb small metal bits from harming the bearing surfaces and beneath the babbet coating the balance of the bearing is copper.) So Bubba is getting a crank polish and new bearings. Hopefully it will be done sooner than later and we be gone. The camper portion (http://www.fourwheelcampers.com/) – Keystone model) has been completed and paid for since early October. Fortunately the factory has enough space to store it until we make it out west.
Lugger engines and I’m sure this Cummins engine have full flow filters. This means every drop of oil that gets distributed throughout the engine oil galleries by the oil pump is filtered first. So when disasters like this happen at least the entire engine isn’t full of metal shavings. After this sad tale is complete, we’ll pass along what we learned.
On the boating front we have a couple new items. The first is an oil filter techno from Lugger Bob (Bob Senter) N/L-Lugger, written on the Nordhavn Owners Site we’ll pass along. This is Very Sage Advise.
You're correct that the ZF transmission filter is pricey; unfortunately,
Northern Lights just buys the transmission and filters from ZF. There is a
reason the filter is very heavy and very expensive. Its operating pressure is at
least 350 PSI and it sometimes spikes. If you research the Owners site on this
issue, you'll find that a few owners had unfortunate experiences using non ZF
filters that were (apparently) not rated for the pressure. With the best of
intentions, PAE furnished spare Baldwin transmission filters for a time, until a
few failed. Baldwin builds excellent filters, but in this case, the interchange
shown was close but not equivalent in pressure rating.
If you're lucky when the filter blows, the boat just stops moving and there
is a really big mess of oil in the bilge under the transmission. If luck isn't
with you that day, the seal could spray gear oil onto the hot dry exhaust elbow
and saturate the lagging, causing a fire. One owner I talked with had the
misfortune of a slow leak that caused his transmission to begin slipping, came
home on the wing and had to overhaul the transmission...out of the boat.
Needless to say, there was no warranty from ZF owing to the aftermarket filter.
This is one place NEVER to attempt to save money on your boat.
Saving money on filters is often false economy. For example, the OEM fuel
filter on your engine has locating notches in the head that mechanically prevent
you from accidentally installing a primary filter element in the secondary
position, ruining thousands of dollars worth of injectors and your injector
pump. The two filters appear identical and a parts person could easily make an
innocent mistake, just like an owner might. You can buy an aftermarket filter
for half the price that has no safety features built in. Is it worth it? I don't
know - you might get lucky. Or not.
Admittedly, all oil filters look alike, but Deere (and Lugger) actually
incorporate a sacrificial anode in some of their Tier II oil filters that
neutralizes acid formation in the oil, ensuring that it will protect the engine
all the way to the next change, even if you encounter some high sulfur fuel.
Northern Lights/Lugger sometimes uses a different oil filter than the OEM if a
better quality filter is available. In fact, the one that fits your engine was
an upgrade to a more robust unit with a better bypass valve that is more
resistant to leaking and pressure spikes during warmup - that keeps dirty,
unfiltered oil from bypassing the element and wearing the bearings.
The air filter on your engine is more expensive than it needs to be because
it's a premium quality part that also includes acoustic damping features to
reduce induction noise. Want to know why? Take it off, start the engine and run
it up to cruise RPM; you'll be shocked at the additional noise. If you'd like to
save some money and are willing to service it regularly yourself, Walker and
Racor both make a version that will interchange and has a reusable filter
element you just wash and re-oil. It's not cheap either. Some owners have
purchased a similar model from K & N in California, who actually holds the
patents on this type of serviceable air filter.
I, too, have been owned by boats for a long time. Buying two of everything
for my engines does give me heartburn sometimes. But, it just cruised 1300 miles
down the rough Pacific coast without even a hiccup, so maybe shopping for
quality rather than low price has some benefits, too.
Northern Lights/Lugger Service Training
The second item, recently m/y Dirona became the first N52 to make a major offshore passage running from the California coast to Hawaii. Dirona’s crossing blog and beyond is listed here. This is worth your while and help keep the cruising fires lit while the Egret crew is land cruising.
“The couple has cruised almost nonstop since they took delivery of their boat in 2010, mainly around their homebase in the Pacific Northwest as well as extensively throughout Alaska . They have been featured in Passagemaker magazine and have a popular and very comprehensive blog http://blog.mvdirona.com/.”
So I suppose we should explain what this land cruising is all about. This is not a direct change to the Egret crew’s cruising venue in a sense but the coming land cruising is keeping new horizons and adventure coming as fast as we can (Living Life) for one simple reason. During the past 11 years, Mary and I have lived aboard during the winter no matter what location*. Every winter was spent in an interesting local and the weather was not extreme……..well, at least not super cold. Starting in 2013 this will change. If all goes as planned, the next few years will be spent cruising Northern Cold Countries during the cruising season. We plan to live aboard until mid December or so then return to the U.S. until early spring. During those months we plan to live in the Bubba Camper and see what we can, starting with the American West.
If the West proves too cold or difficult to land cruise during the winter, another option is to ship the Bubba Camper in a container to wherever the following year. We chose the particular camper we did because of its quality build as well as being low profile – low enough to fit into a 20 foot container. The reason to buy a 2006 Bubba Truck vs new is because prior to 2007 there is a simple catalytic converter and none of the 2007 or newer diesel engine particulate filters and extra sensors to deal with. This means a 2006 or earlier diesel engine can run on anyone’s fuel, not just North America or Europe’s ultra low sulphur diesel like a 2007 or newer. It costs 3k to ship a container to Arika, Chile for example. Arika is Chile’s northernmost port. Just a few k’s away are the borders of Peru and Bolivia. This is close to the Atacama Desert, the world’s second driest desert. (Antarctica is the driest.) Argentina is just a few easy days drive away as well. There is a Lot to see so the Bubba Camper could spend a couple/few years in southern South America then could be shipped to Namibia for example, another of our favorite stops aboard Egret. Let’s also not forget that during the northern hemisphere’s winter it is spring and summer in the southern. You get the picture.
*Egret’s wintering locations have been: Bahamas twice, Barcelona (Spain), Marmaris (Turkey) Ushuaia (Argentina ) Nelson, South Island, (New Zealand). Fremantle, SW Australia, and Ft Lauderdale. Why the balance of the winters seems missing is because of swapping hemispheres. If we went from Christmas to Christmas the list would be quite different.
The Fish Camp is in Big Pine Key (Florida Keys). The first photo is the Fish Camp entrance and the second is the back yard. The tarpon over the front door was caught by his wife, measured and a replica mount made. Real fishermen don’t kill game fish for a mount. One thing unique about the Big Pine area is the proliferation of small Key Deer, a sub species of whitetail deer. They are protected and in this particular neighborhood there are Key Deereverywhere. This doe came up and licked the salt from Mary’s hand while another doe thought it was cool. Wink, wink. Most homes have fences to keep the shrubbery eating deer out of the yards. Mary snapped this green monster crossing the road and the ubiquitous brown pelicans are everywhere in the Keys as are monster Tarpon – called the Silver King.
We played tourist in Key West for a day. It is tradition to eat at Jimmie Buffet’s Margaritaville and have a Cheeseburger in Paradise. Of course we went to the waterfront as soon as we could after.Near the cruise ship dock there was a tourist trying his best to cast but it was hopeless so I went over and gave him a quick lesson. Cruise ships are the bane of Key West Harbor. It is good for business of course but devastating for the environment. There is a lot of current in Key West Harbor and the cruise ships use their bow and stern thrusters to dock. (There are no tugs.) The silt from docking has taken its toll on the offshore reefs. Sad.
Mary and I had a weekend home in Islamorada, Florida Keys for 13 years prior to Egret. This was a wonderful time in our lives. We worked hard with long hours during the week but the weekends were our carrot. However, these days we don’t want the Keys house back or any house anywhere for that matter. We have written about this before but after full time cruising for a number of years, we and other long term cruisers can’t be content with being stagnant, tied to a single place that obligates our time. Of course Time is irreplaceable as you know. Freedom* and Adventure are the carrot that keeps us going like we are kids (well perhaps older kids) and still full of wonder. This may seem corny or unrealistic to some or perhaps most but it is very real to ourselves. Put yourself in a different position and think about this scenario. Let’s say your doctor called you to his office after the latest check up (and follow up and second and third opinions) and said you had 3 years (we’re being kind here). What would you do? That’s what we and other long distance folks, power and sail are trying to do PRIOR to getting The Word. Because eventually we ALL get The Word and the chances for 3 years are el slimo.
*Freedom we talk about isn’t political freedom. If you are reading this drivel it means you are politically free. Freedom is the lack of obligation and distractions that consumes normal working lives and even most dirt dwelling retirement lives.
So we’ll leave you with that happy note and hopefully the next posting will come from somewhere west and the Bubba Truck will have a new heart that will beat forever.
November 9, 2012
Position: Marina Queen, Ft Lauderdale, Florida
Hello mis amigos, the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show is over and the Egret crew is back to boat chores. So let’s talk about the show and a couple other items. Hurricane Sandy passed offshore and generally made a mess the first two days of the show but in spite of gusty and rainy weather quite a few folks showed up. Mary and I went to the show 2 days with a list of folks to see.
One was the Northern Lights/Lugger folks with an oil filter issue. I won’t bother you with the details but several things came out of it. One thing that was impressive was during my fine whine about the filters, N/L/Lugger president (Valley Power Systems) Sam Hill got involved and personally looked into it. Today we received an e-mail from Sam with his engineers input addressing the filters. What is important you know that when the main filters’ gasket comes loose in the box it is important to oil both sides of the gasket before spinning on the filter. This is super service from a company where you can talk to People who care and not someone in another country reading a list of answers to your questions.
Mary and I gave a talk at the Passagemaker Trawler Port tent, or sort of a tent because the tent wasn’t erected because Sandy’s wind was puffing so we sat in an enclosure getting misted from time to time by passing showers and those who didn’t have a seat in the enclosure had to stand outside or behind us and get wet as well but no one left and we had a good time during the 2 hours presentation. Ok so it’s a run on sentence but so what? You get the picture. Mary and I talked about it later and felt a couple of points we should have made clearer. We opened by saying 12, 13 and 14 years ago we were sitting in the same seats listening to every word the presenter was saying trying to learn. I think most missed that point and think we are something special when it comes to cruising. The only thing special is we have a head start and stuck to it, nothing more. So let’s pass along a long ago story to make the point. Pre 32’ Grand Banks, Proud Mary, precursor to Egret, we chartered a 36’ Grand Banks from what is today NW Explorations in Bellingham, Washington. We spent a magic week cruising the nearby San Juan Islands. We followed their suggested itinerary of anchoring one night then marina queen the next night. Well it went ok for a while then the wind picked up a bit and my single engine docking expertise was somewhat sparse so by the time we returned the GB to the marina we went Straight to the dock and paid extra to have Someone Else run the boat thru a tight marina to the fuel dock and back. Those robbers charged us $.77 U.S.P. per gallon instead of $.62 U.S.P. Imagine that? So that’s how we started. But we learned, just as you will or have.
The other thing was, Mary felt the ladies were holding back with their concerns. They shouldn’t have because this was a session to address everything and not worry about saying something silly because Nothing is silly when it comes to your worries or fears. So why don’t you do this? Go to N.com, Voyage of Egret. At the bottom of the left side of menu choices is the Forum request box. Click on Forum and ask any question you may have, even if you think it is silly. Use a name like Boy name Sue or whatever if you wish to remain anonymous. Not only will you get your question answered by Mary or I, the lurkers will benefit as well.
The boat show crowds seemed strong so I imagine with all the pent up demand, boats should have been selling. I know we did our share to help the locals. Egret is getting a refinished salon table with a trick design or perhaps even new – we’ll see – and we replaced the 12” x 72” Aere inflatable fender that went missing. After picking up the new fender and back aboard, a day worker from the boat behind Egret saw our fenders and said he found the same type floating last spring when Egret was here last. He will return it the next time he goes to his warehouse. So that’s good. You can’t have too many fenders.
The first boat chore of Egret’s leave no stone unturned get ready for 2013 was to go thru the anchor locker. Everything came out including the chain, polypro attached to the chain as well as the wood grid both sit on. Every surface was cleaned including cleaning the accumulated goo from under the wood grid. Before we continue, let’s talk about the grid and polypro. We’ve talked about it before but by now there will be some new VofErs so we’ll condense the story a bit but still make the point.
During a major dumb attack I managed to loose the anchor and ALL the chain when trying to anchor in Turkey during a big blow in deep water. After the blow we returned with a diver and managed to retrieve the anchor and chain. If you loose an anchor and chain in your home waters/country it is a costly inconvenience but if you loose 3/8” high test chain that only works with a windlass chain wheel* that only fits 3/8” high test (*that is made in New Zealand) in Europe – land of metric chain and chain wheels – it is a Big Deal. We were lucky to find the chain but here is why it won’t happen again.
Today we have a simple 2” x 2” (which is actually 1 ½” x 1 ½”) wood grid we mentioned above to keep the chain and polypro off the anchor locker floor. Attached to the chain is 100’ of 5/8” polypropylene which in turn is attached to a pad eye in the chain locker. If we were to lose the chain by accident or dump it by intent ever again the polypro would follow the chain out. When it comes tight I would cut (if we were intentionally dumping the chain) the polypro with the knife we keep ty wrapped to a forward stanchion. Polypro floats so we could come back later, pick up the floating line, take a few wraps on the windlass and up it all comes. The grid keeps the chain and line from lying in salty goo keeping both cleaner longer. It seems no matter how well Mary cleans the chain, every couple years we dump it all and clean the locker. No biggie.
One other tip for chain. Before a long extended crossing where it could potentially be rough, it pays to dump the chain at the dock or on anchor then with a helper on the windlass button, load it back aboard while you flake the chain from side to side in the anchor locker so when the bouncing starts it doesn’t ‘castle’ and fall over itself from its usual inverted cone. When this happens it is nearly impossible to free drop the chain later and it can even overload the windlass trying to pull the chain from under chain piled on top.
Ok, so the anchor locker is clean and reorganized plus we got rid of a big piece ‘good idea at the time’ 2 person inflatable canoe we used once in Italy for a few hours. Divorce court was a viable option when we returned to Egret in the ^%$#@&* canoe so we carried it for years since never to see the light of day. (We are giving it to my cousin to test their marriage.) Next was the lazarette.
What a mess in the cockpit when All that stuff came to light. Mary couldn’t believe All That Stuff came out of the lazarette. I planned to change all the hoses in the lazarette but virtually every one was perfect, the hose clamps had zero rust and the hoses that were wire reinforced were as perfect as the day they were installed. I checked all the grounding wires to the seacox and they were perfect. We cleaned the stainless rudder assembly bracing and every other surface of the lazarette. The two largest space consumers are 3 fuel bladders we have carried for years and intend to keep and the three ¾” x 320’ (19mm x 100m) polypro shore lines in custom bags. Other than Patagonia where we used the shore lines most days for a year, we have used them only occasionally since. So they are going off to Sailorman* here in Ft Lauderdale (new and used) to find a new home and we will replace them with Spectra we special ordered from www.lewismarine.com. (More on the Spectra lines after they come in.) With the shore lines gone and other stuff sorted and some discarded, the lazarette is a thing of great beauty.
*Ok, the shorelines are at Sailorman on consignment. If you have any need for shorelines call and ask for Dave and make your deal. You would pay a small percentage of what we paid.
Storing items in a N46 lazarette is like storing something in a bowl. When the bouncing starts everything meets in the middle. So shortly after deliver we built two flat landings on either side giving us secure storage on top of and below the flat landings. Now the fuel bladders are stacked and tied neatly in place on the stbd side. The port side has a 5 gallon pail of 32 weight hydraulic fluid for the Naiad’s as well as a smaller pail of straight 30 weight oil for the transmission in cold country. Spare hose is kept under the port side landing as well as next to the bulkhead to the engine room. The 4th large anchor*, a large aluminum Fortress, is held against the back center of the lazarette. The area directly below the lazarette hatch is open.
*Egret carries 5 anchors. The main anchor - TK is a 50kg – 110lb Bugul type anchor, there is a 34kg – 75lb Bugul type in the anchor locker, a 40kg – 88lb Delta anchor on the foredeck in a custom holder (Egret’s original anchor), the Fortress we mentioned and a 10kg – 22lb Bugul type anchor used as a day stern anchor. Since adding TK in Turkey (2006) we have not used any other anchor except the small stern anchor a few times.
We’ll keep adding the redo techno as it comes to pass.
One item came up recently on an internet site when someone sent out a feeler to see if anyone was interested in organizing a group to go thru the North West Passage. This is something I feel strongly about so I’ll post my reply here as well. To be fair, I don’t know if this person is or is not qualified and they well may be. Organizing trips like this are usually made privately to keep out the unqualified.
What I wrote below is like yelling at the umpire. It isn’t for this play, it is for the next.
Hi all, the NW Passage is an adventure reserved for a very experienced few and
should not be taken lightly by anyone who has not at least crossed an ocean or
have tens of thousands of miles. Even today the Passage is super dangerous and
the actual window to make the short part thru the ice is mid August leaving
precious little time to make it around the corner to a safe area to complete the
trip by harbor hopping between systems.
We spent the past two summer seasons in Nova Scotia or Newfoundland and
beginning the end of August the systems moving up the east coast were constant
and severe. I don't know about the west coast but that would most likely be the
same and add the currents of the west coast near the Aleutians would make it
We looked carefully at the Passage and feel Egret could make it safely if we
wished but this is with a fair amount of experience and full knowing we would
turn back if there was the least bit of chance involved. The penalty for
turning around from an east to west passage is much reduced than a west to east
passage. On a turn around or even if completing the Passage the trip to
somewhere safe to winter is a trip in itself that could take two months or more
moving in reasonable weather to make it to Vancouver Island (for example) or the
upper U.S. east coast.
There are a lot of areas to cruise in an organized group with little risk and
plenty of adventure and scenery than to take the Passage risk. Nova
Scotia/Newfoundland/St Pierre comes to mind on the east coast and farther north
in Alaska for the west coast.
N43 owner Jim Fuller is trying to organize a 2013 loose N. group to travel from
Mystic, Conn up the east coast with stops along the way to Maine. This would be
a fun group to join and there would be zero risk. We would join it ourselves if
we didn't have other plans.
Safety is something we don’t take lightly. We constantly do our best to lead by example when we describe why we do or don’t make a particular passage at times. It is all about VofE’s trying to teach responsible cruising giving you as much information as possible. Remember where Mary and I started. Look at the chartered Grand Banks story. We developed the skills we have over quite a few years now and more than a few miles. It should be the same for everyone and no short cuts.
Later. To continue this a bit farther let’s give cruising a number system 1-10 based on Egret’s current experience looking back. Egret’s actual experience is shown by an *, the balance is an educated guess.
U.S. East Coast coastal cruising south of the Chesapeake, including the Chesapeake to the Florida Keys. 1*.
Crossing South Florida to the Bahamas and cruising the Bahamas. 1.5
Chesapeake north to and including Maine. 2*.
Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and St Pierre. 2.4*
Pacific North West within the inside passage before open water. 1.
Open water from the sheltered inside passage to S.E. Alaska. 2.
S.E. Alaska to Kodiak Island. 3.
Sushi Run (GSSR) to Japan via the Aleutians from the Pacific North West. 7.
The Sushi Run in reverse from Japan to Alaska via the Aleutians. 6.
Crossing the Atlantic to Gibraltar. 5.
Mediterranean. 1 – 2.4*
Crossing the Pacific from the U.S. West Coast, Mexico or Panama to New Zealand or Australia. 6**. **Sort of. Egret took the southern route via Easter Island, Pitcairn and Gambiers but caught up with the rest of the fleet in Tahiti. From there on it is the same.
Crossing the Atlantic to Brazil from the Canary Islands. 4*.
Brazil to Ushuaia, Argentina. 9*
Panama to Ushuaia, Argentina. 4 to Puerto Montt, Chile including the first 1/3d of the Chilean Channels. 7 after.
Ushuaia, Argentina to Antarctica and return. 9
Ushuaia to South Georgia Island via the Falklands and return. 10.
N.W. Passage to a safe harbor to winter. 10
All of these destinations are based on the optimum time of year. Other than coastal cruising, to attempt a passage during the off season is a Very Poor Choice. For the offshore portion in high latitudes or ocean crossings the best reference guide is Cruising Routes of the World by Jimmie Cornell.
Ok, back to techno. After ten years or so most boat headliners start to droop, particularly if the boat spent much time in the heat. One N46 we ran in to of Egret’s vintage was headliner droop city before it was changed. Egret’s headliner must have to known it was time so it wasn’t before long it started to droop in small area’s here and there. We were told by our long term canvas folks, General Fabrics here in Ft Lauderdale, that the most common material for boat headliners is made by Majalite (sp) and Egret’s headliner was indeed made by that company. The fabric comes as a single sheet and has to be sent out to have a foam backing sprayed on. This is an expensive process but it gives the padded look we want and have. So today the salon, galley and pilothouse overhead panels are at General Fabrics for new material. Because the staterooms are cooler year around there was zero drooping or staining so we left them for the time being.
One thing we noticed with the boat deck underside uncovered were the bolts that hold the mast base in place. So I used a wrench to see if they were tight and every one was a bit loose from harmonics over time. There are 5 nuts accessible from the pilothouse overhead and one inside the dry stack trunk. I spun the nuts off one at a time, added a few drops of blue Loctite to the threads to keep them from loosening and tightened them from below with MS on the boat deck holding the bolt head with a wrench. Done deal.
Next was replacing the ¾” hoses inside the engine room. First was the generator. Ok, so you think a job like this will take 45 minutes or so but in reality it took half a day plus. The easy way to get the old hose off is to cut it off. Next is the zillion hose support clips that hold the hose in place. The on this particular installation the intake hose leads to the generator sea strainer that is behind the larger 2” hose for the emergency Edison hand operated bilge pump. So after messing with the strainer hoses a while and bleeding more than necessary, I found it was easier to simply remove the two screws that hold the strainer in place and move the strainer to the side to get at the hoses. That done, the strainer came out with 6’ or so of hose attached and around 3’ of hose that goes to the generator raw water pump. (seawater pump) So then with the strainer in the cockpit it was easy to remove the hose, take the strainer basket out for a cleaning and to clean the clear sight glass. This strainer was an original non U.S. made sea strainer and it showed. The sight glass base was cracked. It is captured by a bronze base but still, a sea strainer, hoses and hose clamps are what is between you and the bottom. We have had trouble in the past with these CJ – cheapie Joe – strainers and have replaced a few with good ol, workie every time Groco SA strainers. We had 3 Groco’s in stock so the original generator strainer went into the ‘last resort pile’ and the Groco was installed. In this photo you can see the Groco sea strainer with a single hose attached showing the 180 degree hose clamp placement. The white paste on the fittings is Loctite pipe thread sealant. (Yes the hose would be slid up farther for installation.)
So here’s the deal on sea strainer plumbing or any plumbing that matters. There are three ways to put a hose barb into the strainer for the hose. The first is simply a straight pipe to hose adapter (first on left in the photo) to use if the hose run is parallel to the strainer inlet or outlet. These work every time IF they are bronze and not brass. U.S. made Groco, Perko, and Combraco are all bronze. If the fittings are 90 degree – pointing down (the most common) or to the side, there are three ways to do this. The first is preferred, the second is acceptable and the third is forget it city. In the photo, the three are side by side. The first and best is a 90 degree sweep elbow. The second is a pipe nipple threaded into the sea strainer, a 90 degree elbow threaded into that and a pipe to hose adapter threaded into the 90 degree elbow. The disaster city combination is a street elbow with a pipe to hose adapter threaded into the female portion.
If there are any obstructions in a sea water flow, in time there is a crud build up as well as a salt buildup. Egret’s 90 degree sweep elbow on the Naiad cooling pump is as clear inside as the day it was installed over 12,000 engine hours ago. The second version leaves an edge where the two fittings thread into the 90’ elbow. In this photo you can see a fitting we used for a while until we were able to get a proper sweep elbow. This is a graphic example of what happens when there is a step or restriction in the fitting. The third version (street elbow) has a huge restriction inside the male thread end. In the photo I turned a second street elbow on its side so you can see the inside restriction between the street elbow and a sweep elbow. If this street elbow were on the outlet side of anything, like a sea strainer or water pump for example, you can easily see how this step would clog quickly and REALLY restrict the water flow. What is deceptive in the photograph is that the pipe threads on both fittings are ¾” IPS. Any of you in the land of metric, the size is the same. IPS is International Pipe Thread and is the same worldwide.
The next hose run techno is to use two hose clamps per hose barb if the barb is long enough. The clamps should be installed with the screw heads 180 degrees from each other as we showed above with a Groco sea strainer. The best clamps have a solid band with no screw thread perforations and are made from 316 stainless steel, not 304 stainless steel. We use Swedish hose clamps from AWAB or ABBA but today U.S. manufacturer Breeze makes an identical copy. Don’t even think about using automotive hose clamps. The weakness of the Swedish clamps is a shallow screw slot that is hard to get a slot screw driver purchase, however the hose clamp hex head is 7mm so we use a ¼” drive ratchet with a 7mm socket. The U.S. clamps use a 8mm socket. The solid band clamp doesn’t cut the hose like open screw slots so the hose is reusable after taking it off a number of times like changing the water pump impeller on the generator. In Egret’s case it is easier to remove the generator sea water pump than stand on your head to change the impeller and try to look inside. (We remove the pump’s bottom hose, loosen the top hose clamp and rotate the pump so you can see inside the pump body where the impeller and cam are.)
Ok, so today it was the wing engine and its three hoses. This wasn’t particularly difficult once we figured which direction the hose has to be pulled out and fed back thru. The wing already has a Groco sea strainer so we don’t have to change that. There wasn’t much blood at all today. Of course along with changing the hoses one thing always leads to another so the plastic boxes full of Racor main engine filters and boxes with wing and generator filter and belt spares came out of the space outboard of the wing and were cleaned. On a small full time cruising boat like Egret where we carry so many spares and items to fix things there has to be continual out of the box, or in this case – in the box, items stuck in dead space. From the N47 up there is so much free space it is disgusting. Dirtbags.
Mary has been working off and on getting her stainless perfect as well as getting her shopping done for the holidays.
So next was the wing hoses, not to much blood and the sea strainer had already been changed. Behind the wing are clear plastic boxes stored containing spare Racor filter elements and oil filter spares for the wing and generator. While we were in that section we also changed the generator foam air filter everyone forgets to change. After that came a most of the day job to remove and replace the generator hose from the 90 degree elbow up to the vented loop. Of course the vented loop was hidden behind a panel but like everything on Egret, after removing a few screws the panel was removed and we had access to the loop. Lotsa more blood.
When the headliner is down the boat bones are exposed. This is what separates the boy boats from the girl boats. Cute fluff and puff stuff doesn’t mean much at sea. It’s the guts that count. This was cool enough I took a picture of it. Pretty exciting, eh? Yup, it’s the hidden chain plates for the forward mast struts. Of course you can’t see it, but there is a second heavy stainless plate on the backside. Did you notice the grounding wires to the plates? It’s the real deal, not a cute cup holder.
Ok, if you are still with us here are a couple of not so boring photographs. The first is our late afternoon neighbor. In the whirlwind of getting to Ft Lauderdale and making the boat show we missed a few shots from the trip down the Florida coast. The first photo is an indignant osprey standing on a marker before heading offshore. The next photo are pelicans heading to their roost just before dark. And the last is a shot of the South Florida skyline closing on Ft Lauderdale. The colors are kinda cool.
The headliner is back and it is a thing of great beauty. We didn’t realize how the headliner had yellowed until we made the change. As a test we replaced three festoon 10 watt (pointy on each end) galley bulbs with three 10 watt – warm white LED’s from IMTRA. The IMTRA bulb number is 966. The brightness difference is amazing between the amp sucking, low light ol tyme bulbs and the LED’s. I checked the voltmeter on the electrical panel when Mary turned the lights on and off and the needle didn’t move. Ok, so we are replacing Egret’s other 28 fixtures with LED’s and have ordered those and a couple spares.
Ok, so that’s it for now. I know it was a boring posting, but for you squeaker do it yourselfers like someone we know or those who just want to do it themselves, there is a lot to learn here.
Mary heads north soon to visit her mother and shortly after she returns, the Bubba Truck will head west to the next adventure. We won’t be shaking salt but we will be shaking snow. That’s something we don’t get much of in South Florida so it will be a hoot. We might even take a few pictures along the way. In the big picture it is nothing more than living life’s adventures and before long the little white fiberglass lady will be back at sea.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.