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Monthly Archives: April 2014

The two old, leaking hot water heaters that needed to be removed.

The two old, leaking hot water heaters that needed to be removed.

Easter Weekend, I decided to tackle a large project that I had been putting off for nearly a month – replacing the hot water heater in the engine room. This had been in the back of my mind since the day I took Sea Eagle down to Olympia for bottom paint. I had arrived on the boat, only to find the floor of the engine room covered with engine coolant. Oops! That could only mean one of two things, either a leaky keel cooler (very bad) or the heat coil in the hot water heater was leaking. When I isolated the hot water heater, the overflowing coolant stopped, so I knew that was the problem.

I special ordered the replacement unit during Defenders annual sale and then looked around the engine room trying to figure out the best way to tackle the project. There were two hot water heaters in the engine room. A small, square Isotherm unit that worked off the Generator (decommissioned last year due to leakage) and the 20 gallon Raritan unit tucked way back in the corner behind the wing engine.

Victory is mine!  Both of the old hot water heaters were successfully extracted from the engine room!

Victory is mine! Both of the old hot water heaters were successfully extracted from the engine room!

The first task was to remove the Isotherm Unit, which proved a little tricky as the outside mounting bolts were very difficult to access. Perseverance paid off and once the coolant hoses were plugged and the spilled coolant was cleaned up, it was time to tackle the big unit.

The large heater had been in place for ten years, so many of the fittings were corroded and took a lot of persuasion to remove. Eventually, large pipe wrenches were able to persuade even the most stubborn fittings and I was able to just squeeze the old heater out by going over the top of the wing engine at an angle.

The new 20 gallon, 240 volt hot water heater, installed and working!

The new 20 gallon, 240 volt hot water heater, installed and working!

I hauled the new unit in, using the same serpentine and angled path, then made a quick trip to West Marine for some new fittings to replace the corroded hose adapters going to the main engine coolant. The heater was wired and plumbed up and filled with water. Of course there is always one leak (the pressure relief valve which I had torqued the piss out of), but bigger wrenches convinced even that to stop.

I turned the unit on and soon had toasty warm water again to wash my hands after cleaning up the giant mess that I had made! Hopefully, I’ll get another ten years out of the new unit before I have to tear it apart again! I’m thinking I’ll check the aluminum anode in the heater annually, just to be sure!

Ever wonder how the heck you get a large hot water heater out of the engine room?  Through the floor of the Saloon.

Ever wonder how the heck you get a large hot water heater out of the engine room? Through the floor of the Saloon.

Sea Eagle, Elliott Bay and Seattle.  What a great day.

Sea Eagle, Elliott Bay and Seattle. What a great day.

The weekend weather was stunning, so we cruised up to Seattle for the weekend. Running north against the flood tide can be an exercise in futility, so I took the slightly longer route around the west side of Vashon Island (Colvos Passage) and sure enough, we were pushed north against the flood. Most of Colvos Passage always flows North, even on a flood tide.

By the time we cleared Vashon Island, the North wind was blowing a good 25 knots, with 3-5′ seas. It gave the crew a taste of the boat actually pitching and rolling just a bit. It was fun and stunningly beautiful outside.

Maury Island Lighthouse was very popular

Robinson Point Lighthouse (Maury Island) was very popular

The wind kept a lot of the boat traffic down and we cruised on into Elliott Bay Marina. The office staff told me that my reserved slip was not available (I found out later it was in fact empty), so that gave me some odd end-tie assignment.

The very brisk north wind made approaching the end tie very challenging, but we figured it out, tied up and then discovered we were on the wrong dock. Damn It!!! 😉 I asked the new kid in the office to please go stand where he wanted me to tie up, so I didn’t have to move the boat a third time.

Mount Rainier was stunning.

Mount Rainier was stunning.

He walked out and arrived just as I made a very tight, squeeze between two giant boats, turn. My crew was holding their breath and watching with wide eyes. I asked the dock hand, “you want me to squeeze in there?” incredulously. He did and I did, walking the boat sideways, upwind for a good 50′ with no real room to maneuver.

When we secured Sea Eagle, the young kid said, “wow, that was pretty good!” At least that made my day.

We had a great evening, secured a slip for the summer months and the return cruise to Tacoma was perfect weather, calm with a slight tail wind to gently push us home. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Captain Boyd loving life underway on the Sea Eagle.

Captain Boyd loving life underway on the Sea Eagle.

Sea Eagle in the mirror calm waters of Gig Harbor.

Sea Eagle in the mirror calm waters of Gig Harbor.

The National Weather Service was predicting 10-20 knot winds, but the local weather was saying 70+ degrees for the first time this year (on a Monday, no less), so I took the day off from work and headed out with some friends for Gig Harbor. Wow, what a gorgeous day. It was flat, mirror calm on the water, the sun was out and it hit the mid-70’s.

For two of my crew, it was their very first time out on the water in a boat. They are now spoiled for life, cruising the Pacific Northwest on a glorious spring day on a Nordhavn. Life is good!

The Public Dock was nearly empty in Gig Harbor on a Spring Day.

The Public Dock was nearly empty in Gig Harbor on a Spring Day.

Fixing the d*mn toilet on a Nordhavn 47

Fixing the d*mn toilet on a Nordhavn 47

Yep, it’s a sh*tty job, but someone has to do it and the time has come to tackle the forward head on Sea Eagle. It has been problematic for the entire year that I have owned the boat, often backing up (and making a mess) if anything even resembling a solid object was flushed (like a small piece of TP). Grrrr!

This is definitely NOT my favorite job on the boat. Whoever installed the toilet last used LOTS of adhesive sealant that broke several utility knife blades. It was VERY tough stuff, so it took me three hours to get that d*mn toilet out!!!

Fortunately, it’s out, cleaned up, a new joker valve installed and appears to be working like a champ. We shall see!

Ever wonder what's inside your toilet?

Ever wonder what’s inside your toilet?