Surprise – Leak

Howdy Folks,

Since our last update, we’ve been busy both with Vela and at home.   On the Home front, we’ve begun the process of moving back into the condo (now that our renters have moved out) in preparation for the sale of the lake house.  We still don’t have an offer, but we have a couple that seems very interested and is trying to make the financials work.  So we’re hoping something will come of that soon.  Since it would be nice to check that one HUGE item off the list.

Meanwhile, we’ve spent 4 of the last 6 weekends aboard working our butts off to get Vela ready to take us on our voyage.  We’re still waiting on the arch…don’t even get me started on that one, but we’re told it will be back on the boat this week.  Of course, we’ve heard that before, so we’re hopeful it will happen this time.  We also have our mast back in place, which is nice.  As part of that process, we have new backstays, a new SSB antenna, new radar, new whisker pole on a mast mounted track, new masthead tri-color, new windex, new steaming light, new foredeck light, and new spreader lights.  We also replaced all the original wiring in the mast while it was down, just to be safe.

Our plan this weekend was to get down early Friday afternoon and get the sails back on.  We’re planning to sail a race with our sail makers next weekend and needed to get Vela ready to strut her stuff.   We also had plans to complete the wiring of all the lights on the mast and reconnect the new VHF antenna cable.

Wet cabin sole, it looks bad here but once everything dried out, it’s very hard to notice.  We’ll likely refinish 1 small spot but most of what you see here is not visible after thoroughly drying.

So, I got to the the boat and started getting things ready for the weekend.  During the process I noticed that our carpet in the Saloon was a bit…moist.  So I pulled it up and realized the pad underneath it was soaking wet and had been for some time…yep stained cabin sole.  So after a few choice words I got the carpets pulled out and drying in the sun on deck.  Since we had just replaced the mast and the deck seal, I KNEW it had to be the mast. Particularly when I looked up and was able to see daylight between the deck and mast.  So of course that’s where I focused my efforts.  After a bit more cleanup, I noticed water at the base of the starboard settee and traced it back to…yep the AC.  The “daylight” I saw between the deck and mast was just light filtering through the new mast boot.  We’ve since covered it with a Sunbrella boot to keep the UV off it.

Light filtering through the boot.  We dumped a ton of water on the boot using a hose and it definitely is not leaking.  We’ve since covered the boot with Sunbrella to protect it from UV.

When we’re gone, we set our AC unit to de-humidification mode to keep the interior from developing any mold.  This has been great and typically all that water drains down into our shower sump where it gets pumped out.  Much like you may have seen at home, this AC unit has an integrated drain pan and it looked like that had stopped draining and, since it’s in the starboard settee…overflowed from there onto the floor.  Where it sat for the only 2 week period we’ve been off the boat for the last month and a half…Murphy’s anyone?

Some of the zipties we removed pulling the new antenna cable and the real reason for our drain overflowing.

Oddly enough, we had just purchased a wet-vac model that fits a standard 5 gallon bucket for the boat as part of another project (cleaning the bilge) that we’ve yet to tackle.  At the last minute, I threw it in my truck, just in case we had some spare time this weekend.  Glad that we had it, I opened the bilge and used the wet-vac to drain the condensation pan via the hose to ensure it was free of clogs.  By then Kara had made it down and joined in the festivities.  We did our best to clean everything up and locate all the areas the water had run into.  Since we have quit a large amount of storage under that settee, the water was able to run along the settee and get into several of them from above.  So we cleaned them out and decided to leave everything open to allow it to dry.

Kara cleaning a section of the bilge.

Then we went ahead and tackled the re-installation of our nice new (heavy) mainsail.  This took us a while since it was our first time installing it.  Not a complicated process but we took it nice and slow to ensure we got everything clean, lubed and ready to go.  By the time we had it up and furled, we where both hot and frustrated over the AC thing…so we bailed to the marina pool and ordered a few Pina Coladas…which helped our perspective a bit.

After relaxing in the pool and cooling down, we wanted to hit the dock happy hour and chat with some of our neighbors, so headed back for some dry clothes to find…yep a wet boat.  Same problem, pan overflowed, so it wasn’t a clog.  We traced the drain tube and found that unfortunately, we caused the issue.  A couple weeks ago, when we where prepping to replace the mast, we pulled the old VHF antenna cable out so we could replace it with a larger (lower loss) cable.  In the process we had to remove the 8 billion zip ties that bundled it to every surface in the entire boat.  I didn’t notice it at the time, but the hose for that drain was in one of those bundles and the process of removing those zip ties left it hanging lower in the middle and ramping up before dropping into the shower sump.  As a result of the (now) poor routing it wasn’t draining efficiently and backed-up and overflowed again.  Since we didn’t have the parts we needed for a permanent fix we duct taped it in the right spot to get us through the night.  Then we went to happy hour to commiserate with our boat buddies.

After a late night of BS-ing, we got up early the next morning and completed the wiring for all the new lights on the mast, re-routed and terminated the VHF antenna cable (including soldering the connectors) and of course remounted the AC drain hose with a permanent (we hope) fix using a few mounted D-rings.  So all in all it was a pretty productive weekend and we know our Vela even better as a result of another couple days crawling through the bilge and lockers tracing and routing cables.

And hey, we now have pretty new lights on the mast, and this coming weekend…we’re sailing! (weather permitting)

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