Mystery Solved

February 8, 2020

This is our February home in St. Petersburg at Harborage Marina.  A great slip in a quiet corner of the marina.  The ramp goes up to a seawall with fantastic views of St. Pete and also leads to a shower area and laundry.

Great trip up from Venice — 46 miles including a somewhat rough crossing of Tampa Bay.  Sunny, but 15-20 knots NW and three-footers on the port quarter.  Handled it fine for the hour or so that we had no lee.

Anyway, what’s this mystery?  During last year’s trip I noticed that the forward bilge pump was running a bit about three times per day.  I didn’t think much of it since the decks can’t be sealed due to all the engine and steering controls so spray and rain still get in.

But why did the water always collect forward in one area?  Why after 10 days in Maine with absolutely no rain was it still happening?  We have two water tanks. Why did the small (15-gallon) water tank have to be refilled after three dishwashes and two flushes?

I finally got the nerve up to stick my finger down into the muck and give it a taste — fresh water.  There had to be a leak in the system somewhere.

So over the fall, I let the boat totally, totally, dry out, put about 5 gallons in the tanks, turned on the pump, tore up the floorboards, and looked at every connection I could see.  Not a drop.  So I took off the shelf behind the head, turned off everything in the shop, and listened.  One drop every 5 seconds, but that will build up a lot of water over a couple days.  The culprit had to be the fresh water hose coming into the head, which meant tearing out the paneling, tipping the head forward and tightening the fitting with a ratchet, two extensions and a mirror, trying to figure out what is right-tighty-lefty-loosy upside-downy-backwards.

That has cured everything, but I hope pumping fresh water for probably a year into a wooden boat was a great idea, although I probably spilled enough epoxy in the bilge to prevent any rot.

Forgot to post my favorite picture of Cayo Costa beach. Is that Robinson Crusoe out there at the end?

Harborage — 374 boats that never leave

Downtown St. Pete from the Marina — about a 10-minute walk.

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