Battle of the Bilge

April 20, 2017  Hours spent building to date:  3,702

At this point in the project I am battling for every minute, every inch of ground, because my friend Chris Keenan of Essex Marine Services arrives at 10 am Tuesday to pull the Tardis out of the shop and in for her engine.

So looming large on the punch list was wiring of the bilge pumps, since as a wooden boat owner for decades, I will not have a boat in the water without top quality bilge pumps — the more the merrier (Memsahib had five).  I budgeted about two hours for this.  The pumps threw back their heads in one of those sneering, World War II movie, Nazi laughs.

It is meaningless these days, but somewhere down in the little box where I keep the cufflinks I never wear anymore, there is a Phi Beta Kappa key from Stanford University.  But show me a wiring diagram for a three-way bilge pump switch and I become light-headed and incapable of comprehension.  Due to space limitations, I had three different brands of switches and pumps and four different instruction sheets and wiring diagrams to deal with.  On top of that I was staring at three brown wires, two black wires, a yellow wire, a red wire, a white wire — and one of the manuals swore there was a brown wire with white stripes in there someplace, but it never did appear.

After hours of study, I finally reached a sort of consensus between the instructions and drove down to West Marine for a terminal strip and connectors.  This would at least enable me to sort out the wires that supplied power from the ones that go to ground.  Before I ran out of a specialty connector called a spade terminal (the box is labeled in French “clips female” which I think sounds a lot better) I had one pump going — about six hours into the project.  This morning after another run to West I tackled the reds and yellows and got the Whale pump running.  (There is no better name for a pump that is meant to pump so hard that it saves your boat than “Whale.”)

So altogether I lost about a day.  That means the cabin sole probably won’t make it in, and it will be cold Saturday, so no painting.  But if worst comes to worse, I can pump 1,400 gallons of sea water per hour out of the Tardis.

At this point, the wires are winning.

Counter-attacking with every weapon I have.

In other news, door and refrigerator trim meant my steering/water pumps access panel wouldn’t access anything, and I had to cut it in half to get it out.

Door trim glue-up




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