We’ve been back aboard a week, and what a difference a week makes! The boat is ready to sail, one day soon we’ll just be gone … for a daysail … or a few nights anchored out … even we don’t know. One of the most fun things about being retired and living on a sailboat! We don’t have a clue where we’ll be next month… let alone next year or more!
But in the meantime, there was work to be done. A floating home requires MUCH more love and attention than our cottage ashore. It seems something is always needing to be done. But luckily, over the past 12 years, we’ve gone from complete novices to most things we can accomplish ourselves. And that feels great!
If you want to skip all my chatter below, click here to download the free PDF Return To The Boat Checklist. If you want a bit of clarification on a few points, keep reading. Keep in mind, all of these things on this comprehensive list aren’t done yet, but enough are done that we can leave the dock and go sailing, or anchoring, or whatever.
There are other things that aren’t on the annual checklist — things like our windlass needs an overhaul, it’s been leaking oil – luckily it’s a self contained unit so the leak is inside. And it still works fine, so the overhaul can happen whenever, just probably sooner rather than later! Don’t want to take any chances with an expensive electric windlass! And my teak needs two additional maintenance coats … and that darn hot water heater still doesn’t work… but it’s not critical to enjoying life in the tropics, or subtropics, so se la vie….
Back to the past few days and the fall maintenance …
1. David changed the impeller … we change it annually whether it needs it or not. We figure it’s cheap insurance to keep our trusty almost 30 year old diesel purring along. There are arguments that impellers “go flat” or get deformed on one side when they’re not used for awhile, there are also arguments that you don’t need to change it. Why take the risk when it’s only a few curse words and voila it’s done! Click here for my “Impellers For Dummies Like Me” post for the most useful tool you can imagine when you’re thinking about changing impellers!
2. David changed out the fuel filters – again we replace them annually no matter what the gauge indicates. Cheap insurance.
3. We changed the diesel oil & oil filter – that’s another annual event, whether or not we have the recommended 100 hours on the diesel. We usually opt to do this in the spring when we return, but there are arguments for not leaving dirty oil sit in the diesel for the six months we’re gone. You’ll have to decide which is right for you. If you’re still looking for an easy way to change the oil, our solution is the Jabsco Little Pal Utility Pump …. David uses the Little Pal Utility pump for oil changes and messy stuff. It’s a great pump and as a utility pump, if you didn’t choose to use it for oil right away, it might do well for other projects!
Now it’s time for…. drum roll!!!!!
>>>>>>>>THE MOMENT OF TRUTH<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
We choose to fresh water flush our diesel every year when we put the boat away for six months. If you’re not familiar with the process, or just curious, click here for a post I did on “What To Do With The Diesel?”
So after all the fluids have been topped off, the oil changed, all the filters changed, the impeller changed, the diesel fuel tanks cleaned and checked for diesel levels …. there’s nothing left but to remove the blue tape from the ignition and try to start the diesel.
Every year we hold our breath as the little fuel pump clicks away pumping diesel to the engine, then continue to hold our breath as the glow plugs heat up and finally we get to turn the key. The first few tries, we get rumbles but no turning over. Then the diesel reluctantly wakes and turns over once before dying again. But finally it roars to life and we high five!
It’s ready for NEW ADVENTURES!!! Almost as ready as the captain & crew! WOOHOO!!!!!