Herrington Harbor North [Update]

What’s important is that nothing seriously failed. Stuff broke. We worked around it. Here’s the overview. Details follow.

Friday 

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1600 - Move to fuel dock. Take on 54 gallons. 

1710 - Anchored in Piakatank River at 37°32.132N 076°19.318W

This is a move of about a mile. We left Jackson creek on a pretty high tide. To get the difficult part of the trip out of the way. Now we can start at first light and be underway without anything more complex than raising anchor.

Saturday

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0650 - Engine on. The deck wash down pump is effectively dead. This is also the main bilge pump. No anchor wash down is annoying. No primary bilge pump means we down to our three fall-back pumps.

0702 - Under way. About 1900 RPM gets about 4.9 kt. We're plowing straight into the wind. 1-2ʹ seas (sometimes larger) and wind in the 10g15 NE. It’s supposed to clock E, but didn’t. Barnacles on the prop are probably eating half a knot, maybe more.

1213 - Smith Point Light. Wind slacking. Sea state mellowing. It’s cold (12°-13°C) and gray. But the air is dry and we can see forever. We can make out Point Lookout from Smith Point. 

1801 - Anchor in Mill Creek at 38°19.787N 076°27.036W. Flat calm. Sprinkles.

The fuel filter alarm sounded. This often means crud in the fuel. This time it was water in the fuel. A lot of water. 

Net. 11 hrs. 59 nm. Average 5.3 kt.

Sunday

0700 - Engine on. Wash down pump still dead. 

Wind 10g15 from S. What a difference! 1-2ʹ seas from astern are nothing like 1-2ʹ seas ahead. Once we got out of the Patuxent, we turned N, pulled out the staysail and rolled along at 7+ kt with the engine at 1900 RPM.  CA saw bursts of 8.

It’s cold (12° to 13°C). And raining. A lot. We were driving in and out of bands of showers. We’d watch the wall of rain coming. The good news is that it didn’t involve thunderstorms. Just a lot of rain.

1310 - Slip 29B Herrington Harbor North. 38°46.268N 076°33.843W.

Docking was a colossal mess. I’ve never navigated into a tiny slipway before in a boat this big. I didn’t properly know where I was going. I barely got Big Red to pivot in the slipway so we could go out and come back and try again. 

The second time, I pivoted a full 90° before trying to enter the slip. This isn’t really necessary because  the wind will blow the stern down and lead to an unpleasant pivot.

Net. 6 hrs. 34 nm. Average 5.7 kt. 

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TL;DR

What went wrong.

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  • The wash down pump is on my dirt list. When we got to Herrington, I walked to West Marine. Bought a new pump. Back on Red Ranger, the old pump had decided to start working again. Flawlessly. The Commodore said keep the one in the box as a spare. When it fails utterly, we’ll replace it. My theory is that I kept testing the pump, overheating the thermal breaker again and again.
  • Water in the fuel. The scupper drains fill with debris in the winter; there is standing water over the fuel filler. I guess it drips into the fuel. There was about a ½ cup of water in the filter. It’s out of the tank, which is good.
  • [Update:] The water filter jammed so solid, the pump couldn’t move any water. We have plenty of spares. This means that tanks are filled with a kind of organic horror that has no name.
  • The switch on the instruments broke completely. This is the second Sensata Airpax breaker to fail. It was a T11-2-1.0A breaker. I have a drawer of color-coded T11-2-15A and 20A breakers to replace the main breaker panel. But no 1A. Sigh.
  • West Marine binocular lens fell out. Seriously. An interior lens on the left side dropped out of its socket. I screwed it back in. But now there’s finger-prints and it’s blurry. No amount of focus changes seems to fix it. 

What went right. 

  • Crew! Yay Linh! She gutted out some long cold days to help us move the cars, and move the boat. This isn’t her first trip on Red Ranger, so she already knew the head and galley. And, she know some of the cockpit routine, sail-handling, and anchoring. It was her first overnight, so she had to learn the V-berth and the dawn-to-dusk schedule.
  • Two old 1 liter nalgene bottles in the engine room. One bottle has clean diesel. The other bottle is empty. I could easily drain the water from the filter, refill with clean fuel. Ready to go again.
  • The Racor two-filter system with a simple lever to switch filters.
  • Alligator clip jumper wires to short around the failed switch. 
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Next Steps.

Clean. Clean. Clean. After a long winter, we need to clean a lot of things. 

Figure out why the main hatch is dripping. Current theory is the adhesive we use on the gasket material. It sets up super hard. And it was “standing proud” — higher than the gasket in a few places. This means that the gasket isn’t really making solid contact. Plus there’s a small void where the gasket isn’t properly in the little slot. I’m thinking that I might want to call the manufacturer and get another length of gasket and adhesive and try again.

Order a replacement switch for the instruments. This is an interim solution. I really want the B&G instruments. Until then, a jumper isn’t a proper solution.

I can live with the binocular for now. But I need to either take them apart again (scary), or replace them.

Updated: Added the water filter problem.

  © Steven Lott 2020