Saturday, May 15, 2010

Now You See It - Now You Don't

Still getting over the post inspection letdown. Interesting. (To me at least.) I get focused on bringing some aspect of life to the highest level of performance that I'm capable of, and then suddenly it's behind me and I have to cast about for what is next. There is a pattern here.

In this case "what's next" isn't so hard to figure out. It is clearly the June 1st departure for the mainland.

I recently made a little (long overdue) modification to the boat to make the passage easier. We have two big fuel tanks on Cirrus and some of you may recall that in the past only one has been connected to the engine at a time. To switch tanks I had to physically move the rubber hose transfer lines from one tank to the other. (In the middle of the night in 8-10 foot seas.)

So, before I tell you what I actually did, I have a contest for you. Look at the next two photos. Do you see a difference? Sometimes there are puzzles for children in the newspaper where you are asked to point out the differences between two very similar drawings. This is a similar problem.

Ok! Give up? Here is the answer. The first photo shows the bulkhead just behind the engine compartment. A 110 volt outlet (that once was used to provide power for a Microwave that sat on top of the engine) is shown in the process of being removed. There are two big holes in the bulkhead behind it that must, in the past, have been good for something. The object to the right with two hoses on it is an anti-siphon valve.

The second photo shows the outlet completely removed and a rubber fuel line is visible through the hole where it used to be. In addition one of the large round holes is now occupied by a little pointer type handle. On the back of the bulkhead, where you can't see, there is a two-way valve that connects the two fuel tanks to the electric fuel pump. Now, to switch tanks, one just turns the handle. What a concept!

The final photo shows the primary fuel filter, which is located on the same bulkhead aft of the engine that we have seen in the previous pictures.  Rather than being inside the engine compartment it is outside where it is easy to keep an eye on it. This has a couple benefits. One is that it is easy to see if the fuel gets dirty from bacteria invasion. The most important use is catching air bubbles before they get to the engine. These bubbles can be caused by a leaking hose fitting or by letting the fuel level in the tank get too low in choppy seas where the remaining fuel sloshes all around.

I went to West Marine yesterday to pick up an order and was all ready to drop some big bucks to get a chart upgrade for my new GPS. Fortunately the sales person who helped me really knew his job. He explained that the charts are as good as one could possably want, and that my problem was probably that one of the unit "Options" had been set to "Dumb".

I'll check it out.

1 comment:

  1. Bill,
    I get the concept of tank switching, but I am not sure what I am looking at. Is it port side, starboard, or aft of the engine enclosure? I guess I'll inspect once I am on board.
    But it sounds easy; what took so long to do it? ;-)