Thursday night I had an unintentional adventure on Astraea. I got sent home from work early because I sounded really sick. It’s just a head cold and sore throat, but my voice is really hoarse and I’ve been coughing. Anyway, I took the opportunity to pump out Astraea and put the jib up on the roller furler. Later I took a nap on Airborne and it helped me feel better.
I went over to Astraea after my nap and put up the main sail and later Natalie helped put up the mizzen. I was cleaning up inside the boat when I heard an unusual sound of water in the bilge. It wasn’t the bilge pump running so I pulled up the floorboards to investigate. There’s a shower sump pump in the bilge that was leaking water. I poured some water down the shower drain to see if the pump worked, but the drain was clogged so I headed to Airborne to get our shop vac to clean the clogged hose.
When I came back I remembered a puddle in the starboard cockpit locker so I vacuumed the water up that was there. Then I saw some water in the next compartment forward so I sucked that up. Then I realized what I was sucking up wasn’t water, but effluent from the holding tank. I found the source of our foul smell! The weird thing is that it wasn’t really stinky like fresh sewage, but just really funky.
I pulled the hose connections off the tank and discovered that the input elbow to the tank was almost completely corroded away. The tank was installed in 2006, so it served a useful life, but now we’ll replace it with a plastic one that won’t corrode. When this tank was manufactured and installed it was first made too big to fit in the companionway, but then it was cut down to fit through. You can read about that on Rob’s Astraea blog (scroll down half way). I removed all the wood that was securing the tank in place and manhandled it out of the boat and up to Clay’s truck. I’ll take measurements later this weekend and find an appropriate replacement tank online or have another tank built to fit.
This weekend we’re visit family and taking a break from boat projects. It’s good to get away to a house for the weekend so we can spread out a bit. On the trip I’ve been reading manuals from the new boat and a book by Peggie Hall, “The Headmistress.” It’s titled Get Rid of Boat Odors and is the definitive guide to keeping your boat smelling nice and your marine head running properly. Its full of great how-to stuff and I’m ready to get back on Astraea to tackle this project. If I schedule everything right I can have all the things I need waiting for me at the marina when I’m back from Lizze’s wedding in about a week.
I found another interesting thing on Rob Moon’s Astraea blog, a sailing resume. He’s a much more experienced offshore sailor than me and he knows Astraea so it’ll be great to have him aboard to show me how to handle her better.