Clean Water Fresh Air

Water and air; without either of these substances cruising would simply not be possible! Life, for that matter, would also not be possible were it not for water and air. The two are mutually important for sustaining health and happiness. Water floats our boats. Water is the roadway on which we travel. Water keeps us hydrated, clean, and provides us food sources (all those pretty fishes swimming beneath). Water is functional, recreational, and aesthetic. As we sat aboard Detour we thought to ourselves, “Where do we begin to make this boat water-ready?” We’d begin from the bottom up; where the water meets the hull. We stretched out our shiny, new tuyau d’arrosage (hose – the only French vocabulary we’ve not mastered) and got to work.

The floorboards had been removed in order to expose the bilges and water tanks. We began by inspecting and cleaning the water tanks. Detour‘s water tank capacity is 185 gallons, and we wanted those tanks to be capable of holding clean, drinkable water. In comparison to Rode Trip‘s water tank capacity of 80 gallons, we’d now have practically enough water to also add a lido deck! The aluminum tanks are built in four sections, each section has a wide-mouthed circular inspection port. Topside, there are two deck-fill locations about mid-deck one port and one starboard.

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For the task of cleaning, however, we brought the hose straight into the boat. After nosing around in the tanks as best we could with a flashlight, we added fresh water and a good scrubbing with a medium coarseness scrub brush. The tanks were a bit dusty and seemed as though they hadn’t been used recently. We partially filled the tanks to enable us to test the water systems. Here again we found a vast upgrade from Rode Trip‘s water systems which included one foot pump at the galley sink. Detour has a hand pump at the galley sink but also has a pressure water system, hot water system, interior shower, shower sump pump, and exterior shower. Alright, so how exactly do we turn on the pressure system?

Several minutes were spent gawking at the electrical switchboard prior to actually flipping any switches.

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The switches are actually labeled in English and French; maybe our brains were blending the two together as we were’t quite sure which switch might have applied to the pressure water. We flipped the most logical choice labeled GROUPE D’EAU/WATER PRESSURE. Viola! Behind the galley pantry door the water pressure tank began gurgling. “Well,” Brian observed, “the house batteries are charged.” We tested this confounded pressure system and to my amazement it worked! (That’s the short version. Of course prior to it working there was more gawking, tweaking, filter cleaning, etc. It certainly didn’t work flawlessly with the flip of a switch, that would just never happen on a boat!)

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As the water streamed out of the galley sink Brian looked at me and smiled. I looked back at him and stated my obvious concern, “Look how fast, look how much water is coming out! Does the hand pump work?” Brian should be so lucky that I am not a wife in need of upgrading, however he disappointingly turned down his chin as he turned off the water. We continued, next tested the pressure water in the head. We noted that both the galley and head faucets leaked and added that repair to the checklist of necessary to-do’s. Then, back to the electrical switchboard to power the shower sump pump. Ah hah! We flipped the VIDANGE DOUCHE/SHOWER PUMP switch. With the hose we submerged the floor of the head and waited as we watched the sump pump completely fill with water and then overflow.

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Off turned the hose and off came the sump pump lid. The float switch wasn’t responding. After a thorough cleaning and a bit of prodding, it worked! Again, Brian looked at me and smiled. Again, rather than praise his expertise I stated my obvious concern, “How do we keep the bathroom dry?” I hopped out into the cockpit to investigate how probable it would be to continue showering outside with the swim platform shower. Water had been splashed everywhere, a bucket and soapy sponges filled the galley sinks; we’d made a mess of the floors, sinks, and bilges. This was the perfect opportunity to test the bilge pump. We’d hosed and scrubbed the bilge and then at the electrical switchboard we flipped POMPE DE CALE/BILGE PUMP to power the bilge pump. This pump worked! No fiddling, no fooling, it actually worked! Brian looked at me and smiled. I looked back at him and said, “Goal number one of sailing, keep the water outside of the boat!” This time, Brian continued to smile.

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We’d had enough water and dingy bilges for one day. It was time for a breath of fresh air! Ahhh, air! Air breathes life into our bodies. Air fills our sails to propel us forward. Air warms or cools us. Staying comfortable aboard the boat required good air flow throughout. This presented difficult as we had discovered that the mushroom vents beneath the dorades were immovable; corroded in various opened or closed positions.

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The mushroom vents have an interior knob enabling the exterior cap to be opened or closed. The knobs had corroded and could not be turned.

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Our solution was to remove the dorads, then remove the mushroom vents so that we could properly clean, grease, or repair them. Removal would also enable us to inspect the stainless screws that attached the dorads and mushroom vents to the deck, to ensure the stainless screws were properly insulated from the aluminum deck. For a bit of fresh air, however, this project very quickly became much larger than we’d intended. And so as in all great cruising stories the checklist of what’s next to-do continued to grow…

3 thoughts on “Clean Water Fresh Air

  1. Sally, or should I call you MOM! Of course we have a list for Detour, more like a notebook and it’s changing daily.

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