BR: I gotta have my chin up on top of the v-berth. I can't get my head in there and do it.
VO: In this episode, I try to replace my thru-hull valves without breaking them...
BR: arrgh! Okay.
VO: Meet more colorful people...
John: people that want a sailboat get sailboats and leave them at my dock. I don't know what makes this dock...
VO: And discover something that puts in jeopardy my return home.
BR: We have got a lot of smoke. I hope it is, uh, not something I need to see about.
VO: There could be a lot of bleeps in this one.
How Not To Sail, sponsored by our awesome Patreon patrons. Shout out to Carey and Tad this week...
By Latitudes and Attitudes, America's number one, boating lifestyle magazine...
By the fine books at Bob Bitchin dot com...
And of course, if you haven't seen it, by my book How Not To Sail. Available at How Not To Sail dot com.
If you're just joining us for the first time, and since this is likely the last episode in season two, I highly recommend you go back and binge listen from episode one. Or at least episode 38. But who am I to tell you what to do?
Irregardless, as my friend Bill would say, I finally got my boat from the marina in St. Pete up to a boatyard in Tarpon Springs where they'll let me work on her.
I need to replace some thru-hull valves, which I didn't wanna do in the water because breaking off a fitting that allows water into your boat is a bad thing.
I'm also gonna have the bottom painted, because it's time and the price was right.
And I plan to let Mar Marina drill a hole in my hull and install a steel stud, so we can have a removable zinc anode to prevent an electrical problem I've been having for a year.
BR: Hey, what's up, Shane.
Shane: What's going on?
BR: Not much.
VO: Shane, the owner's son and yard manager, isn't convinced that I need an anode.
Shane: I don't know why you wanna put that anode on there. It's probably not gonna help anything.
BR: Honestly, my basic thought is just, I can't freaking, it's taken me six months to find a place to haul out. And so I figure if, you know, if it's not gonna harm it or anything,
BR: I'd rather have it in there. And if it's like a dog with five legs, then I guess it is what it is, but..
Shane: All right.
VO: So the bottom painting and anode installing is now in the hands of the marina. I just need to try and replace those five thru-hull valves.
BR: Yep. Climbing back up the ladder and the swim ladder into the boat.
VO: The boat's now sitting on some flimsy looking jackstands in the middle of a very hot boatyard.
BR: Okay. Let's see what we can do with these valves.
VO: I need to get after it. It's already Tuesday and they're supposed to splash the boat again Friday. If I should happen to break any of these thru-hulls, it's gonna be a challenge to be done by then.
BR: I'm sweating already and I haven't done anything.
VO: I start with the first thru-hull in the companionway, the engine raw water intake, and begin unscrewing the hose clamps.
BR: Come on there.
VO: The hose doesn't want to come off.
BR: Wow. That is quite tight there.
VO: So it's time to break out the heat gun.
My buddy Blowtorch Mike loaned me the heat gun as well as a blowtorch rig, which hopefully we don't have to use.
Turns out heat is a pretty good thing for helping get hoses on and off of fittings on a boat. Just obviously not so much heat that things catch fire or anything.
BR: Lefty loose-y...
VO: The hose comes off fine with a little heat, but the thru-hull valve needs a little more help.
BR: That's where we get the pipe wrenches.
VO: Blowtorch Mike has left me some almost comically big wrenches, couple of which I might actually use.
I decide I'll go ahead and get the hoses off the raw water intake for the head and the holding tank overboard discharge, and then try and deal with the brass fittings.
As you can imagine, I try to be ginger with the holding tank discharge hose.
John: Oh, there we go. Hello! No, Ahoy, Ahoy.
VO: Now that's a wonderful aroma.
BR: Squirted out just a bubble of black goop. Let's get that shop vac ready.
VO: But having gotten the hoses off, it's time for the main event: trying to get the bronze valves and 90 degree elbows off the bronze thru-hulls without breaking anything.
The problem with working inside a boat is well, everything's a problem. Perhaps if I were five foot two and not 200 pounds, might go a little better.
BR: I gotta have my chin up on top of the v-berth. I can't get my head in there. And.
VO: The holding tank discharge turns out to be one of the hardest.
BR: Maybe this heat gun will do something.
VO: The heat gun is effective at loosening the bronze parts. Loosening being a relative term.
BR: Okay, guess we've done almost a revolution.
VO: I'm losing my patience along with what feels like about a gallon of sweat. But finally, I've got three valves off.
BR: Oh, I can see the outdoors now.
VO: I think that's about where I'm gonna stop. The air conditioning and sink thru-hulls seem to be in good shape. And it's three o'clock and I'm very dehydrated,
BR: I feel like I'd just like to go onto the crib and have a cold beer and work on some audio.
VO: Which I do.
I've rented an Airbnb unit in a mobile home park on the water.
John: Yeah, I'm John and I manage and operate, uh, the facility here in Tarpon Springs.
VO: The place is clean and quiet, the owner's cool, and he's got some good stories to tell.
John: I had a guy that came in here with his RV and he decided to, uh, get into Sail boating.
BR: I see we got a, some kind of sailboat over here. It doesn't look too happy.
John: No, he left me with a sailboat and a hot dog cart. He wind up leaving a bicycle, a hamper of clothing, uh, a gas can and a barbecue...
BR: And a wife.
John: And a wife.
Yes. He left me with everything.
BR: Usually they even...
VO: I enjoy my chillaxing time at the trailer park and moseying over to Captain Jack's for dinner, pretty much every day. I even invite a couple of buddies, who happen to be patrons, as well.
BR: Hi, uh, I'm here with Bob Regent.
Mark: Yeah. How you doing?
BR: And, uh, Fred Baxter.
Mike: How you doing?
BR: Good. Good.
VO: Okay. So that's Mike and Mark.
My work replacing the valves on the boat goes fairly smoothly.
BR: Woohoo. There's one in.
VO: I make sure to clean any old pipe dope off the parts that are gonna remain, add a little Teflon tape, and screw the new valves on.
BR: I don't know that the lever is exactly at the angle. I wanted it, but, uh, this ought to do.
VO: So that's three thru-hull valves replaced.
BR: I think... Yeehah!
VO: By Wednesday, my work is done.
BR: Well it's hump day, 4:30.
I'm outta here.
VO: Unfortunately, the boatyard hasn't started sanding yet for my bottom paint. And I'm due to splash again in two days.
BR: Yeah, I think I may need to circle back with them on that. I was thinking Friday, first thing in the morning...
VO: As I chat with Blowtorch Mike Wednesday evening, I'm starting to wonder if I need to extend my stay.
BR: They haven't started sanding yet or anything.
VO: Mike also reminds me about another item on the punch list that we might need to work on, if and when I make it back to my home slip.
Mike: You want maybe the two of us to run the engine and see if we can figure out if you got a leak or not?
VO: I forgot to mention I've been smelling what I take to be diesel exhaust for some time. Now, I can't swear that it's anything abnormal since this is my first sailboat.
Either way, it's just gonna have to wait. The next morning, I talk to Shane and Gene, who agree that Saturday is a more realistic splash day. Then I talk to John at the trailer park and offer him a little extra cash to let me stay over.
And then I talk with the guy who really makes things happen in the boatyard. He's not in charge of the schedule, but he's the one that does most of the stuff that needs doing.
BR: What's up José?
José: What's up.
VO: José explains where the anode's going to go and how it's gonna be mounted.
BR: So this, is that the anode, or is that a washer?
José: That's the anode. Yeah.
BR: So I will replace this...
José: it's gonna, yeah...
BR: it eats up...?
BR: Oh, okay. So you got two washers. One inside, ah, one inside, one pressure.
VO: I have to admit José's English is better than my Spanish. I tip him 40 bucks in advance and let him get on with his work.
BR: I very much appreciate it.
VO: So the yard gets on with sanding painting and anode drilling, Blowtorch Mike helps me shuttle my truck back to my home arena so it will be there if and when I arrive, and by midday Friday, owner Gene says we're just about done.
Gene: after lunch, we're gonna lift the boat. Paint where the blocks and stands are.
BR: All right.
Gene: And, uh, then, uh, we'll be ready to rock and roll.
BR: Cool, uh...
Gene: About 10 o'clock in the morning.
VO: Looks like I'll be able to get out in the morning and God willing. Be back at my home slip by the end of the day,
BR: All right, man. Cool, man. I appreciate I'll see you about 10 tomorrow.
Gene: Sounds good.
VO: What could possibly go wrong?
Phone Voice: Hi Brett. Thanks for calling Seven Sevens Taxi. I see you're calling back. To call your driver, press one. To get a wait time, press two. To cancel this ride, press three.
BR: Oh, I pressed two and it disconnected me.
VO: Saturday morning and the taxi is cutting it a little bit closer than I would like to get back to the marina.
BR: We are 21 minutes 'til splash.
VO: I would assume they're going to wait for me to put the boat back in the water...
Taxi Driver: How are you?
VO: ...but you know what they say about assuming
Taxi Driver: Good luck.
BR: Yeah. Thank you.
Taxi Driver: Enjoy.
BR: Yeah, we'll see.
VO: The travel lift is parked above my boat and they've already hoisted her off the jack stands.
BR: All right. We're already in the straps.
Just gonna put my shit aboard so we'll have less in the way.
VO: Shane carefully hauls my 18,000 pound boat down to the basin and gently lowers her in. I go settle up with Gene...
Gene: Thank you. We appreciate it.
BR: Yeah. Thank you, José.
José: You're welcome.
VO: ...and José points out something I might want to attend to. It seems I've still got the swim ladder down. Not exactly a hazard, but it'd be kind of embarrassing to drive around that way.
I go below make sure none of my replaced valves are leaking, and peak in the engine compartment. I'm not sure if José had to move the exhaust hose to put in the anode.
And that's when I make a disturbing discovery.
Speaking of discoveries though, I made a good discovery last episode when, after I actually remembered to mention the Patreon thing, we got two new patrons aboard: Carey and Tad. Thanks guys!
Don't forget, you can help keep How Not To Sail afloat for as little as $3 a month at How Not To Sail dot com slash Patreon. That's P A T R E O N.
And really this is the perfect time to join as we get to the end of Season Two and the potential party. Just saying.
You can find everything How Not To Sail at How Not To Sail dot com, including the book, the YouTube channel, and show notes for every show.
Meanwhile, we have a season finale to get to, and that disturbing discovery.
BR: Just making sure the exhaust is hooked up here. That José didn't have to undo it to get to anything. There's water here, though. That's not good. Maybe it's the stuffing box. No, we're not even in gear.
It's the exhaust elbow that's leaking. That's not good.
VO: So the punch list item I've been putting off has come back to bite me in the ass, but perhaps I know why I've been smelling diesel exhaust for a long time.
The question is, is it safe to motor seven hours today?
I ask Shane his opinion and he asks me how well my bilge pump is working. Funny guy.
BR: And we're off.
VO: in boating, and perhaps in life, you have to balance acceptable and unacceptable risks.
BR: I asked Shane at Mar Marina if they might happen to have an extra exhaust elbow I could buy. But they did not.
VO: I wasn't sure if Shane would be too happy about putting me back on the hard, and I wanted to get back to my marina anyway. So I decided to press on.
BR: Hopefully that exhaust elbow doesn't fail entirely on this run, uh, cuz that would be a lot of water for the bilge pump to pump out.
VO: As I come out the Anclote River into the ICW... Not 15 minutes into my trip. This happens.
BR: Black smoke coming out of my, uh, drain scupper on the port side. That is lovely.
VO: It's not just hot water that passes through the exhaust elbow. It's also combusted diesel fuel.
BR: Wow. That is a fair amount of smoke.
VO: When I decided to go ahead and launch, I was only seeing water coming out. Clearly things have changed.
BR: There's little blurps of exhaust coming through the, uh, portside cockpit scupper. Some greasy, powdery looking black blobs of exhaust smoke. Uh, I think I should probably check the engine compartment in a minute to make sure we are not doing too crazily bad.
VO: Shortly after that, when I get to a safe place I can go and have a look, I get another surprise.
BR: It's not smoking anymore. That's f------ weird. What the hell? Did it seal itself back up? Is the water pump not working?
No, I'm gonna close this bitch back up, make sure we have water running through.
VO: Back top sides, I lean over the lifelines and confirm that we do have water flowing out of the exhaust where it's supposed to be. And for some reason right now, it's not flowing out of the exhaust elbow where we don't want it to be.
BR: Strange. It's almost like the elbow sealed itself back up. It's not smoke billowing out and, uh, not water coming out. That's weird.
Now time for a pee.
VO: Everything seems stable enough. So I decide to start hitting the drawbridges.
BR: Duneden Causeway, Jacie Sails, southbound.
Indian Rocks Bridge. Jacie Sails, southbound.
Park Boulevard Bridge, Jacie Sails, southbound.
Welch Causeway Bridge. Jacie Sails, southbound.
BR: Yes, sir. Just looking for your next opening.
VO: Everything goes pretty smoothly until Welch Causeway Bridge.
Bridgetender: Captain. I don't believe it's going to be until the bottom of the hour.
BR: Uh, my timing is just off. All right. I'll uh, hang out and, uh, see you at 3:30.
VO: No big deal. I don't mind hanging out for a little bit.
Bridgetender: Captain, I'm raising the bridge now. Thank you for your patience, sir.
VO: The problem comes when I give it a little throttle to get under the bridge.
BR: We have got a lot of smoke. I hope it is, uh, not something I need to see about. Which I'm gonna see about in just a second.
VO: Apparently the exhaust elbow is not happy.
BR: Autohelm for a second, make sure we're not, like, on fire.
VO: We are not on fire as far as I can tell, but it is very smoky and nasty down below.
BR: I believe that elbow is leaking something good now. I mean, not good. It is leaking profusely. Exhaust was even coming out of the pedestal here at the helm, because I don't have a compass on it.
VO: At this point, I'm just crossing my fingers and treating the boat very gently.
BR: Once again, I think it would be fair to say that I am limping back in. Seems like that happens often when you use a boat. Or is it just me?
VO: Just two more drawbridges to go. I'm going to try and be careful about 'em.
BR: Treasure Island Bridge, Jacie Sails, southbound.
Bridgetender: Treasure Island Bridge, Captain.
VO: Treasure Island Bridge goes fairly smoothly.
Bridgetender: I'm gonna start your opening in just about two minutes. So you are gonna need to get closer to the bridge.
VO: I explain that I have a cranky exhaust elbow and I'll be right there.
BR: Treasure Island Bridge, Jacie Sails. Thank you much. Have a good one.
Bridgetender: You're welcome Captain. Enjoy your day.
VO: Okay. Just one more bridge to get through.
BR: Corey Causeway, Jacie Sails.
Bridgetender: Yes, this is Causeway.
BR: Uh, yes, sir. Just letting you know, I may have to do a couple of turns here to try and keep a steady load on the engine, but I'll be timing it.
Bridgetender: Roger Captain, do you have a engine problem?
BR: Uh, just the, uh, elbow is spewing bad stuff when I don't keep a load on it and sealing itself up when I do.
VO: That's probably more explanation than necessary. And I probably said it a little bass ackwards. But it does provide an unexpected benefit.
Bridgetender: That's okay, Roger. You know what? If you're having engine trouble, I'll get it open for ya.
BR: Uh, sure appreciate that.
VO: Apparently if you're having engine trouble, they might open the bridge early for you. Sorry about that ambulance.
BR: Corey Causeway, Jacie Sails. Thanks much. And have a great one.
Bridgetender: My pleasure, Cap'n.
VO: And with that, we're through the last bridge.
BR: You know, I'll be very glad to get the nose into a slip and start ventilating things.
VO: Finally, we're on the home stretch.
BR: Markers one and two. Hot diggity shit!
VO: I say hi to John as I come by the marina office...
John: How you doing?
BR: It's an adventure.
VO: ...and after being too slow to turn into my slip, but not quite hitting my neighbor Bernie's boat, I give it a little reverse and let the gentle Southwest breeze ease me into the slip.
It feels like it's been a long trip and a long season. After a brief celebration, I take stock of what I've accomplished.
BR: Well, it's 10:30. It's so humid outside, I can't sit out there without sweat dripping off of me.
I'm enjoying a few Simply Organic Tostitos after a beverage and dinner at Chataway.
It appears that the valve changes were successful. The bottom paint looks pretty good. José got the anode installed and some ground wires ready to roll to all the thru-hulls and other stuff.
And discovered I have a leaky exhaust elbow that belches soot and whatnot into the engine compartment, and therefore the rest of the boat.
I probably should have a snappy wrap up here.
But I don't.
All right. That's enough..
VO: Well, that officially concludes Season Two of How Not To Sail. But don't worry. We got more coming up probably in a couple of weeks.
And it looks like we may just have a party to announce. Which I'll be doing here, but make sure you're on the How Not To Sail email list at How Not To Sail dot com slash email. So you can make sure you don't miss any last minute information.
I got some great feedback on the #HowNotToSailer hotline, which I'll be sharing with you shortly, probably next time.
Thanks as always to our awesome Patreon patrons.
To America's number one, boating lifestyle magazine, Latitudes, and Attitudes.
To our buddy, Captain Bob Bitchin at Bob Bitchin dot com.
And to you for listening.
Thanks to Maxi Frini for his edits and mixes this season. Don't blame this one on him. You can find him at Maxi Frini dot com.
Remember, you can help keep How Not To Sail afloat for as little as $3 a month at How Not To Sail dot com slash Patreon, just like Carey and Tad did last week.
And if you've been thinking about it, a little birdie tells me this is a great time to join right before we have the party.
In case you get lost, or if you wanna get lost, you can find everything How Not To Sail at How Not To Sail dot com. Including the book, the YouTube channel, the Patreon, and show notes for every show.
Meanwhile, don't let your exhaust elbow get leaky and I'll see you next time on:
How Not To Sail. Screwing up is part of Cruising. Let me show you how.
BR: Hi. Here with Bob Regent.
Mark: Yeah. How you doing?
BR: And, uh, Fred Baxter.
Mike: How you doing?
BR: Good. Good. And we'll have to see how that came out later because you can't really hear it, but, uh...
Itry to actually fix a coupla things so I can get back “home”…and make a disturbing discovery at the last minute. (Big Thanks to new patrons Carey and Tad!)
Audience feedback drives the show. I’d love for you to contact me and keep the conversation going! Email email@example.com, call 770-458-3838 or leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you!
As I mentioned in the podcast, I’m thinking of having another big Zoom party. Interested? Then let me know!!! Call the How Not To Sail Hotline at (770) 458-3838 and leave me a voice mail! I’m hoping we get a good response.
Thanks New Patrons!
Thanks to Carey and Tad for joining the Patreon Crew!
Here’s the exhaust elbow. (Spoiler alert: Blowtorch Mike removed it.)
Sound Bite & Billboard 0:00
Where are we? 1:10
Shane and the Anode 2:05
Struggling With Valves 3:15
I quit…for now. 6:00
Trailer Park 6:27
Chillaxin’ with Bob Regent and Fred Baxter 7:18
The Leak 8:51
Cutting It Close 11:15
A Disturbing Discovery 12:47
The Leak 2 13:55
Smoke on the Water 15:26
It Happened at Welch Causeway 17:44
That Sound Bite 24:43
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What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor? (Traditional) – performed by Bradford Rogers and Peter Suarez