Monday, February 16, 2015

A difficult end to a very "cool" weekend

Despite the crazy cold forecast this past weekend (and the Captain's concern about leaving the boat given that forecast) we headed to Williamsburg, VA for a long weekend of history!  We missed a pretty stormy night Saturday, but with both our electric and diesel heat on the boat, we felt ok leaving.  With a decent snowstorm forecast for Monday night we cut our visit to Yorktown short and headed home.

We returned just as the snow started.  I opened the hatch and immediately knew something wasn't right.  It was too dark, too quiet. The electric heater wasn't on, and the diesel wasn't working either.  Clocks and displays that ran on batteries were dark.  Icicles trailed from the faucets.  And it was COLD.  In the words (or rather, word) of Robert Redfearn's character in "All is Lost," "FFFFF$$$$$$&&&&&&&KKKKK!!!!!"  

Ok, so we had lost power, probably Saturday night.  A breaker had tripped so that was an easy fix.  The diesel heater wasn't cycling on, but why?  Quick inspection revealed a big pool of the antifreeze mixture in the bilge.  Grrrr!  We found a likely source of the leak, tightened a screw, and added more fluid to the system.  That's the abridged version!

What else?  Opened the engine obvious sings of rupture or damage, but we decided to very slowly warm everything up and monitor it.  Oh!  While tracing heater issues we discovered that the filter cover on the freshwater pump had frozen/shattered, freshwater, even if the lines weren't frozen solid!  West Marine?  Closed due to weather.  Hardware store?  Ha, no Jabsco parts there!  But guess what?  I'm a whip with superglue!  Need to use the head?  Too bad!  Frozen solid, and the aft one had some leaking of odoriferous fluid so we weren't sure if there was serious damage.

It all amounted to a realization of all of Frank's worst fears about leaving the boat this weekend.  Would the engine be okay?  Had any lines/fixtures/connections been seriously damaged?  Time will tell.  By 6:30 the boat was warming nicely and the crew was hungry.  We were ready for $6 half-pound burgers at the marina bar!

By bedtime things were beginning to thaw out.  We had to use a pot of water from the marina heads to brush our teeth, but the boat was afloat, we had power, and we had heat.  I'm thankful for it all!  Oh, and we have a snowstorm tonight that just caused OPM to close federal offices in the DC area tomorrow!  Woo hoo! 

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