Monday we went to our first birth class at Best Start Birth Center here in San Diego. It was informative learning about the way that a woman’s body changes during pregnancy, but the best part was getting more information about what the birth process was going to be like. It’s exciting watching and feeling Natalie’s belly grow and knowing that there’s a new life coming to be a part of our family. Boy, I hope he doesn’t get seasick!
I sanded the bilge and put down another coat of Interlux Bilgekote before beginning to plumb holding tank in to our waste water system. For my first coat of bilge paint I didn’t use a respirator (dumb rookie move), and afterward I had a wicked headache. For the second coat I used an organic vapor respirator made by 3M. It was like night and day. There was no paint smell when I was in the boat, and no headache after. The cartridges that provide vapor protection last for about a month or less after you open it depending on usage. Now that I have a respirator I won’t paint inside without it again.
After the paint was dry I ran the rest of the plumbing from the Y valve in the head closet to the tank and then out from the tank to the macerator. Eric from Coconutz came over to help me finish up the plumbing. I grabbed my heat gun to make the hose more pliable and he recommended putting the ends in boiling water to make it easier to put them on the connections. His advice worked the best because I could heat the hose up and not have to worry about melting. After the hose was ran and all the hose clamps were on we filled the tank with water to test its watertight integrity and there weren’t any leaks. There are 2 hose clamps on every wet fitting for the black (waste) water part of the system so we shouldn’t have any problems in the future.
After the tank was full and there weren’t any leaks I planned to run the macerator to empty the holding tank. A macerator is a specially designed pump that takes whatever is in a holding tank and chew it up and spits it overboard. I turned the macerator on and it just tripped its circuit breaker. I got in the locker by the macerator and listened to it when it turns on and you can hear it want to turn, but something is blocking it. I’ll see if there is a rebuild kit available so I don’t have to pay another $200 for a poop pump.
On Friday Eric, Natalie and I went to the San Diego Marine Exchange and bought the rest of the plumbing hardware for the holding tank and some paint for topsides. The portlights and dorade vents I took to El Dorado Sandblasting will be ready for pickup on Monday, but first I want to make the topsides look nice. I asked Chuck from Wind Watcher if he’d like to come along for a boat ride and give me some pointers on driving in reverse because he backs his boat in. We took Astraea out to the pump out dock, sucked out the water from my holding tank and I spent about a half hour trying to figure out how to back our boat in to its slip. The secret is lots of speed, about 3 knots, in reverse and ease the rudder from midships over to full rudder while in neutral.
I finished plumbing the holding tank vent line and covered up the master berth. Once my tools are cleared out we’ll have a place we can sleep aboard Astraea. I switched the valve from overboard discharge and zip tied it in place. Natalie and I both gave the new system our own ceremonious first flushes, completing the holding tank project!
The next part of the project of the portlight project is removing all the old varnish from the wood trim pieces. This afternoon we took all the varnish off the trim for the window in the master cabin and by the navigation station. It took about 2 hours each with both Natalie and I working for a total of 8 manhours. We’ll continue on the last 7 portlight trim pieces, but it should take less time now that we know what we’re doing and they’re smaller. I estimate it will be Tuesday when we’re done scraping varnish off the wood trim. That’s OK because we can do painting prep work in the meantime.
The good news is that work continues and if the weather cooperates we’ll have windows installed before out friends arrive in two weeks.