Sunday, September 8, 2013
No sooner arrived than departed
Homer, wisely no doubt, omitted from his story the domestic life of Odysseus and Penelope. Telemachus is running with that fast vulgar crowd from Cephalonia; the poor dog seems very frail; Eumaeus is retiring, and it's so hard to find good swineherds nowadays.
Something, after all, had to be left for Updike.
Following the great Chian's distinguished example, I'll omit from this narrative my weeks in Ithaca, except to say that they passed pleasantly and quickly. The boat was transferred to a mooring, and whatever was leaking had stopped leaking.
I did discover something interesting, however.
The automatic bilge pump is not controlled by a float switch. It has a razzle-dazzle Hall field effect sensor that tells it when to switch on and when to switch off.
Now I had noticed, back in Mattapoisett, when I dumped a lot of water into the bilge for lustrational purposes, that the bilge pump would go on, just fine, when the water level was high enough. But it wouldn't go off again, once the bilge was more or less dry. I had to switch it off manually. Otherwise it would just keep sucking air until the cows came home.
I did a bit of product research, and it turns out that this is a well-known failure of this particular pump (Rule, 1100 gpm: Anathema sit!).
So now I have a new theory about the Bastille Day near-sinking. I think it was a combination of two things:
1) The stuffing box was leaking more than it should. It is amazing to me now, that after the Liberty Landing folks re-packed it, there is essentially no water coming in through it -- or none that evaporation couldn't deal with. It was definitely a dripping faucet before.
2) The pump at some point kicked in; the well-known failure failed; the pump ran and ran and drained the batteries after six or seven hours. And the water kept coming.
Anyway, that's my theory now, and I'm sticking with it.
And that's it for boat news in Ithaca. Next: The trip home.