Sunday, December 15, 2013

A New Temporary Home

After getting stuff we think we need and doing some cleaning, it was time to move our Leopard 38 from the back yard dock that was its home to the marina that will be its new home for a couple months as we refit and supply, and I continue to learn. We get up early and drive up to St. Augustine to pick up the captain/ASA instructor and bring him back to Daytona for our trip.

We go through the boat and do some safety checks and start the engines...well...try to anyway. The starboard engine won't start. Actually, it shows absolutely no signs of life whatsoever. Funny...worked just fine during the survey and sea trial. The instrument panel shows no voltage at the battery...I mean ZERO, and the alarm isn't sounding either. Out comes the multi-tester (thankfully the prior owner left it behind, and with some exercising of the selector, it started working) and it shows the battery is good. Huh. I wiggle a connector that looks like it may be coming from the instrument panel and voila, we hear the buzzer at the helm. Guess I'll need to look at that connector when I have a little time. We fire up the engine and finish our checks and everything looks good.

While the engines are idling, we do a refresher talk on maneuvering a catamaran. As we are talking the port engine alarm goes off. Doh! We look over and it is overheating so we quickly shut it down and go inspect. Check the sea strainer again and look around and find nothing amiss. So we start the engine back up and the temp drops to 180°F (where it is supposed to be) and holds steady. Best guess is that something floated or swam by and plugged the cooling water intake and it was freed as soon as we shut down the engine...but we keep a watchful eye on it for a little bit. It has been an interesting day so far, and we haven't even left the dock yet.

We do finally leave the dock. We make our way "through the ditch" (the intercoastal waterway or ICW) for this trip, no real sailing to be done today as the winds are light and our destination is on the ICW. My wife gets a refresher on the basics of navigation and markers, and we otherwise have a pretty uneventful trip swapping time at the helm. The only thing of note is that the starbord engine temperature is running just a bit high. Guess I'll need to add checking the heat exchanger to "the list". By the time we get to our marina, the long days with little sleep have caught up with my wife and she nods off on the settee. I practice docking with the instructor. We make several "touch and goes", and I seem to be getting the hang of it. The instructor thinks the stiffness in the controls might be hampering my efforts and suggests we get the cables replaced. Guess I'll add that to "the list" as well. Yep, boat ownership is already looking exactly as others have described...the art of fixing your boat in exotic locations...we just seem to be lacking the exotic locations thus far.

We get our boat (yeah, I like saying that) into the slip (ok, two is over 21 foot wide) and tied off. This will become her new home for a little while. It is a pretty nice place to be holed up for some repairs. It is in a fairly protected location, the facilities are nice, and the price is even better. The only real drawback is that it is a pretty long distance from an inlet so I won't be getting much sailing in...but we are here more for maintenance and docking practice so that will be OK for now.

Of course I quickly learn why people joke that boat stands for Bring Out Another Thousand, our slip has 50A electrical service, but our boat only has a 30A cord. We try to locate an adapter, and the only one we could find was at the West Marine in Daytona. We get the adapter and get the boat plugged in (we really want to get solar added, but for now any electrical will be nice...and is included in our dock rate). Our first night aboard was good although I think my wife was less happy since we didn't yet have a blanket and she was cold. The next day we grab a throw at the local Big Lots and that did the trick for her. It did seem a bit more like camping or a hotel room though, as we didn't have any propane or a pot to cook in. But that is OK -- we were busy enough without having to worry about making dinner.

We got to spend a couple nights on our boat before heading back to Denver to get our affairs in order there. And we did get to have drinks with our broker and his wife before we left. I really need to stop calling him our broker as he has really become our friend Pete.


  1. First trip on your own! Great. What kind of engines do you have? Mine are Volvo MD2030. I had high temps as well. This is what I found 1) exhaust elbows were carboned up so much that almost no cooling water was flowing 2) rubber impellers on raw water pumps were missing one or more blades, 3) the water intakes on the saildrives were clogged a bit with barnacles. I suspect the clogged elbows were the prime culprit. One and a half boat bucks to replace them.
    Again, if these are Volvos, I had stiff controls as well. I found the control cables, on the engine end, were routed up and over their mounting bracket, leading to a kink in the cable. I removed the brackets, ground out some clearance for the cables, painted it and voila!
    Welcome to boat ownership.

    1. Hi Dave,

      The engines in my boat are Westerbekes. The water was flowing out of the exhaust...and didn't feel overly warm to the touch and appeared to be the same amount as the other engine...but I will definitely check what I can. I don't have saildrives, this boat has straight shafts (one of the things I liked about this boat). When hauled the bottom was pretty clean so I don't think the intake is blocked...but may dive and check sometime.

      Will definitely check the impellers, I plan on doing a full service of the engines anyway so I have a baseline for timing maintenance tasks.

      I figured the cables were probably just old enough that corrosion could be an issue...but I will definitely check the routing before going the replacement route.

      Thanks for the tips, they are appreciated. And it is pretty much what I expected of ownership. :-)


  2. Wow, first trip on your new boat. Congratulations! So what's all on "the list" for now? Also, how long before you figure you'll actually be living on your NEW BOAT (woohoo!) full time?

    1. Hi Stacey,

      Thanks. There are a number of things on the list. Many are from the survey like rebedding a couple stantions, replacing a couple port seals, cleaning water tanks, rerigging the roller furler, and the list goes on. Recent additions since we took possession of the boat include intermittent electrical to the lights in the port berth and head, finding out why the propane leaked out of the bottle that was hooked up, the engine electrical/connector issue, and the warm running engine. It is a reasonably long list, but it is not all high priority. So, we prioritize and will tackle them as time and necessity permits.

      As for when we will be living on the boat full time, I plan to very soon so I can get the boat ready to go. But we also have things to deal with in Colorado, so we will have to split the time between the two for the short term.