|Mr Perkins with head removed and gasket scraped.|
It's fun to dream about the future. It seems like only yesterday when Maggie and I were living in an old Airstream camper in the Mohave desert, dreaming of someday having a boat that we could live aboard. Of course in that dream the weather was always perfect, and nothing ever needed repair or maintenance. Over time this dream of boating grew and was refined to the reality that we now enjoy. But, along with all of the good, there is an equal amount of trial and difficulties that could easily pull us both into regret and despair. We had imagined ourselves spending limitless amounts of time learning to sail Me Voy together this Summer, finding all of the local anchorages, and having loads of fun on the Chesapeake. But, I have found, the future rarely lives up to our expectations. In reality, there is never an end of work to do, and just when you get close, something breaks and it is time for another costly repair.
|The scope of the project fully engulfs Me Voy's interior|
|Neatness is essential to be sure no parts are lost|
While disassembling the engine, I discovered the cause of the blown head gasket. It seems a failed Vetus Waterlock was letting raw water drain back into the engine filling the combustion chambers with sea water. Water doesn't compress so the head gasket gave out when the engine turned over. The oil level was more than a gallon high, almost fifty percent sea water. Why did the muffler fail? I forgot to drain it when winterizing. It's a real bummer to realize that my own mistake was the cause of a major problem. Live and learn I guess. I promptly ordered a new waterlock I found on ebay and decided to never again forget to drain the muffler when winterizing. It is important, evidently.
|First try plumbing the new fuel system, leaked from every connection|
Since the fuel system had to be disconnected to repair the engine, I decided to add a second Racor filter, so that we could switch from one to the other without stopping the engine, in the event that the filter clogs while we are under way. For my first attempt at this, I used flexible copper tubing and mechanical connectors. This took almost all day to create, and leaked at every connection. I now know that mechanical connections only work on rigid copper pipe and should not be used on the flexible type. Too bad I had to waste so much time and money to find that out.
|Final fuel system installed and not leaking.|
After another day of gathering fittings, cutting tubing, and soldering all connections, the system is finished and leak free. This time I added an additional line off of the delivery pipe so that I can add a little fuel pump that will circulate our fuel through the filter and back into the tank to polish the fuel. This way, if we ever make it to the islands, we will be able to clean the dirty fuel before using it. This system was explained to me, years ago, by the genius, Peter Lawford, of Annapolis. He is also the architect of our charging system, currently under construction. He eagerly avoided work one day to explain the tricks of clean fuel and fully charged batteries to me. Thanks again Peter.
|Two absolutely essential books for a wannabe Perkins mechani|
|Mr Perkins reassembled and ready for action|
I guess that's just the way life works. Good times and bad times are just the two sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other. I am slowly learning to enjoy the good times without getting too attached to them, and accept the bad times as part of the process of living and growing. I know we can't always have fair winds and following seas, and that it is often the struggles that define us. So the only thing we can do is try and be thankful for whatever comes, knowing there are greater forces at work, pushing and pulling each of us along our individual evolutionary path. That way, maybe we can become free to enjoy the good times without fear of bad times coming, and appreciate the bad times as the great life teachers that they are. Then everything that comes can bring happiness. It sounds pretty impossible to be happy in all circumstances. But so did living aboard a boat while we were baking in the hot desert sun just a few years ago. It all starts as a dream, and then ...