Yesterday I started in on the mast job, not wanting to deal with the oil change for reasons I’ll explain later…
The mast job is all about stopping a leak. We have keel stepped mast, which means that the mast passes through a large hole in the deck and rests on a huge stainless plate, inside the boat and directly above the keel. Some boats have what are called deck stepped masts… where the lower end of the mast simply rests on deck, i.e. no hole and no leak like we have. But that’s not really here nor there, is it? The trick with a keel stepped mast is that you need to not only support the mast where it passes through the hole, but you also need to seal it effectively to keep water out of the boat. Basic principle: for a boat to remain afloat, the water needs to stay on the outside. 🙂
Our leak is not threatening, just annoying. Our mast is supported by thick blocks of very sturdy rubber, allowing for only a minimum amount of play, or movement, which the mast needs. That part of the equation is fine. The second part, the seal, is what’s annoying. The original solution by the boatyard was to fill the gapped space with spray-in expansion foam. This works well enough to keep out light and air, like you would around a duct for example, but water is a lot more persistent and expansion foam is not waterproof. If was stands on the outside surface, it will and does find a way to make it inside a badly sealed hole, thanks to gravity which never sleeps. So, to attempt to seal the outside surface of the foam, they used a sealant compound like sikaflex, only it wasn’t sikaflex or 5200, and then they painted over it. I could go on and on about this, but suffice it to say that the solution is not waterproof at all and so we get an annoying drip when it rains (or when we’re taking water on deck during a boisterous sail to windward).
I haven’t decided how I’m finally going to solve this problem, but I’m giong to give it better than a college try. In the end, it’s annoying and the darn thing doesn’t have to leak, right? Plus, it drives Larissa absolutely crazy. The first step at trying to solve this is to remove the old sealant and foam, which I’ve started to do:
This is from inside the galley, looking up the mast and through the hole, where I’ve removed part of the foam and sealant.
This also from the inside, where you can see the rubber support blocks and some of the foam. This layer of foam is not all that thick – perhaps and inch and a half.
This out on deck, port side. You can see where I’ve been chipping away at the foam and sealant on top of it. It’s going to be a mess to really clean this up.
Chip chip, scrape scrape. 🙂
Progress on this job was slow Friday morning and we still hadn’t been to West Marine. Hmmmm, pick away at stubborn sealant or go shopping for boat goodies? Easy. After Lara had her coffee too, we hopped on TheBus (great public transport in Oahu) and headed for Sand Island. First we hit Napa Auto Parts, where we found some replacement fuel filter elements for our primary filter, a Racor. The elements are actually branded Napa and not Parker Racor, but I don’t mind – they’re all made by the same company anyway and simply branded before they’re shipped. So we picked up two spares of the 2 micron size filter (the finest one I can find) and for fuel filtering we’re good to go!
Next was West Marine, where we were able to find a bunch of things we’ve been needing and some ‘must haves’ before our upcoming passage. We found the CO2 re-arm kits for our ‘exploded’ life vests, some MOB strobes for the same, a metal primer for some deck touch up painting I need to do on rusty spots, a holding tank cleaning and odor removing solution (don’t hold your breath), a fiberglass LPG gas bottle (we were down to one bottle), a bunch of stainless cotter pins and split ring pins to beef up a few installations, and so on and so forth. Nothing frilly or unnecessary, but a very good shopping day.
It may be that only a cruiser sailor could be so excited about a gas bottle! We love the fiberglass ones because there is NO RUST! This particular model is the same one we saw used in many homes in French Polynesia.
On the way back from West Marine, we saw this bumper sticker and I had to get a picture for Roberta, she’ll love this!
We hadn’t walked more than 100 yards when a guy pulls up in a Jeep and asks us if we needed a ride. He’d seen us at the Chandlery and then walking down the street with all our stuff under the hot tropical sun… So Pete drove us back in air conditioned style to the Marina and we chatted about boating, Hawaii and so on. A super nice guy, who with a simple gesture made our day and saved us a bunch of time. This little event is what sparked Larissa to comment on Facebook about what a great group of people boaters are…
And the oil change? Well… I still have to do that, but there is a deeper question that is worth mention. What do you do with used motor oil? Typically, you take it to a processing or recycling location and get rid of it. In most of the free world, and even in ‘3rd world’ marinas, this is easy enough to do: walk over to the predisposed container and dump your oil. That container is later processed or recycled by the competent and responsible authorities. Should Hawaii be any different? Ha!
We’re at a large state-run marina with more than 700 slips, which is full to about 98% capacity from what I can tell. Probably 90% of these boats have an engine and most likely they are diesels like ours. Sooner or later, everyone needs to have their oil changed… see where I’m going with this? There is lots of used oil around. You would think that a marina like this, with so many boats and so on, would have a processing or recycling facility, even a large receptacle at the very least, right here on the property. I wasn’t able to find one anywhere.
The other day, I went to the harbormaster’s office and asked what boaters in the harbor typically do, or should be doing, with their old motor oil. The response shocked me: the person in the office simply pointed to a large poster on the wall and said “Look and see what it says up there”. The poster, published by the state (or the Feds, DLNR), correctly points out that the oil should be taken to a proper facility, etc etc etc. So I asked the person, where is that facility in the harbor? “Oh, we don’t have one.” In the end I was able to get exactly zero help and only a vague response, from the harbormaster’s office no less!, about what I might to with my used motor oil. I left, dumbfounded, and sad. Another reason why Hawaii, very sadly, is not a prime cruising ground – and this discussion merits another post, perhaps even a book.
Yesterday I went to the fuel dock to fill our new propane bottle. I asked them about oil too. They don’t have a facility either (though they sell gas, diesel, and oil!), and said that sometimes people buy a special box, a sort of absorbent kitty litter like substance for oil. Ok, so you have your oil in a box, then what do you do? “Most folks just throw it in the trash” was the answer, or something like that. Dumbfounded, again.
I went outside to get back in my dinghy, still wondering what I’d do with my oil once I did the job… and ran into a group of ‘Coasties’, personnel from the Coast Guard, who were having lunch while their 2 shiny new RIB patrol boats (complete with machine guns and lots of horsepower on the stern) sat moored to the fuel dock. I asked nicely if I might interrupt their lunchbreak and inquire about old oil… “Well, ours is processed by CG personnel and shipped off island every so often by a CG vessel.” Good, at least the CG is taking care of their own oil. But the string of useless-to-me answers as a boater in Hawaii only continued: “I think there used to be a facility a Keehi, but I’m not certain it’s still operating”. Keehi is marina miles away from here.
Wow. I am shocked by this. I am in my country, the good old USofA, as 1st world as it’s supposed to get, yet as a boater I can’t properly dispose of (recycle) old engine oil in one of the largest, if not THE largest state run marina in Hawaii. Mind boggling. I guess I’ll have to take the old oil with me and try again in California. It’s a better option than throwing it in the trash, which I’ve heard clandestinely most boaters around here do… only they do it at night so noone notices, and the trash guys take it away anyway.
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Deep, ‘calm down’ breath.
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To end on a happier note for now, allow me to share with you a very cool youtube video just posted by my friend Tony in Rio. To celebrate his 40th, he and three friends recently crossed the US on Route 66 on… you guessed it, Harleys! I know they had a great time and Tony did a bang up job of documenting it for this video. Have fun with this one (volume up for the music!). You can always watch it on youtube directly if you wish (http://youtu.be/Pqwb30hpecU)
JoJo, mostra esse video pro meu sograo!
Here it is: