Bubba, a vagabond sailor and occasionally published writer is preparing to wander aboard Ruth Ann, a Bayfield 29.
Monday, November 8, 2021
It Happened So Fast ...
The Moose and me on the road
It’s such a dime novel cliche but it all happened so fast. I knew it was all coming, but then it buzzed on by, and I was sitting on my boat wondering where I was going to put everything. To back up, I’ve been working for three months at a construction equipment rental company. Last Saturday (10/23) was the big inventory and my work was done. It was a success. Not only did my bosses predict multiple rounds of variance checking - and there were only two - but the outside crew’s count was so close to mine that the managers decided to accept the count and be done with it.
And then suddenly the guy who had put a deposit on the campervan was back in town and we consummated the deal. The Moose and I had been together a long time. It was the end of an era and a little daunting, but I had spent the previous couple days moving out of the van and cleaning it up. The morning my buyer was coming, I finally caught up with the owner of the boatyard and cleared that I could stay on the boat for a couple weeks before the launch.
Ironically, I’ve joked that my little ship was going to feel luxurious because compared to the cramped living in a campervan for so long. However, the first few days I was “living aboard” it was damn crowded. It took a while to find a place to stow everything. The stowing was often complicated by all the stuff that had to be moved to get to the lockers where other stuff could be stowed.
Getting Near Livable
It has now been about five days. Life is good and the boat is much more liveable. In fact, tonight I’ll finally get back to the double bunk to sleep. For now, Ruth Ann could sleep three. In the future maybe four, but I’ve got some more organizing to do.
Yesterday, I ran some of the last wire needed inside the cabin. When the mast goes up, I’ll have a little more wire to run from the mast to the panel that controls the navigation lights. By then, most all my electrical stuff will be done. I also need to pull my outboard out of the trailer to check it over and test start it. I didn’t get any gasoline while I had wheels, so I’ll have to bum a ride into town.
The best story -- just my luck -- was about the impeller for Ruth Ann’s diesel engine. I ordered a service kit for the Yanmar; a 2GM20F. It came last week with oil and fuel filters, a couple belts, and an impeller. While I was moving aboard, I found a few parts in a drawer that I was going to use for flatware and kitchen gadgets. Curiously, there was an impeller in the drawer that was exactly the same size as the one that came with the service kit. The only difference was the way they connected to the shaft. The Yanmar impeller had a slot for a key, while the one marked “Johnson Pumps” had a pin across the inside diameter. I googled “johnson pumps” and saw shower sumps and wash down pumps; used to clean your deck or anchor chain. I figured there must have been some other pump on the boat previously that wasn’t there now.
So … I threw it out.
Now, I am a pack rat, but ratpacking is my main problem right now as I try to fit all my crap on the boat. In trying to be brave and reform myself, as soon as I understood that I didn’t need that other impeller, I got rid of it. It felt like a little victory … for a while.
I had procrastinated servicing the engine because I don’t have mechanical confidence. Nevertheless, I find that once I get started, I realize that I know more than I think I do. I can do OK when I need to. So, I changed the fuel filter, bled the line, then changed the oil filter and finally got around to the water pump. Yanmar makes tractors and all kinds of other equipment, so things are not always convenient on a boat. The water pump faces the engine and must be removed to get at the impeller.
I gently coaxed a couple bolts that hadn’t moved in a long time and got the water pump removed. When I turned the damn thing over it said “Johnson Pumps” on the coverplate! I removed the cover and confirmed my fresh fear that the Yanmar water pump had been replaced with a Johnson one. The impeller I had thrown away a few days before was the one I actually needed. The supply company couldn’t have known if I didn’t know, but I don’t have a Yanmar water pump. Oy!
Today (Monday, 11/1) was laundry day. In my new human- and wind-powered life, that meant loading up the pannier bags (saddle bags for the bike) with as much laundry as I thought I could carry and riding into town. The trip is about nine miles there and back, but it was a pleasant trip actually. I hit the hardware store and the grocery while I was in town for a few things that would fit with my clean clothes. I grabbed some lunch while the dryers were going, folded, packed and headed back to the boatyard. Tomorrow, I’ll do it all over again for a more serious grocery run. Then I’ll be done for a while. The last grocery run lasted me more than a week.
If you’d like to be one of the first to know, one of the first to celebrate with me, when Ruth Ann and I are back in the water, consider becoming a Patron at the link above to Patreon. Even a buck or two a month makes a huge difference. Patrons get early access to the blog, along with other perks like BtP swag, occasional live chats, and sneak peaks at the book I’m writing. There will be a Live Patron Event online during and after the launch, as technology and bandwidth allow. Thanks to everyone for their support.