Monday, June 10, 2013

Frustrated in Ft. Pierce

Cruising can be very fun and rewarding but there will be times that something breaks and needs to be repaired. This can delay the adventure for a while but we never thought it would get this frustrating. After having a wonderful time in the Bahamas and making an easy and fun trip back to the states we slept well at the nice Harbortown Marina. The next day we woke up and I smelled diesel. When I went into the engine room it appeared that the fuel tank was leaking. I checked and rechecked all the fittings at the top of the tank as well as all hoses to make sure there wasn't an easy to fix leak that happened as we rolled over the waves in the last crossing. Unfortunately all the fittings which are on the top were totally dry.

I guess the good news is that we are in the states. Getting work like this done in the Bahamas would be close to impossible. The other good news is that the place where Pearl had been stored in the summer and worked on, Riverside Marina. was just a mile up the intercoastal waterway. I called them up and they said come right over.

After we looked and looked it was obvious that the tank was leaking and had to be replaced. Taking a fuel tank out of a boat can require a professional magician. The existing tank had to be cut into 3 pieces to make it out and the steering cables had to be disassembled to gain full access to install new tanks.

Three weeks later we are still here and the job still is not completed. Salem and Brandon moved back ashore and are now in Utah hiking on their way to California. Gayleen and I sit here as the new tanks are leaking.....yes the new tanks are leaking.

The plan was to replace the one big tank with two smaller tanks as a big tank could not be put back in given the limited access space. The boat was built around the existing fule tank. We first had to pump all the fuel out of the old tank, remove it, build new ones. Install them and refill them. Once they were refilled the fittings on them were leaking. Again, we pumped out all the fuel and all the fittings were reseated and looked good. We then went to reconnect the steering ("we" means the folks from Riverside who were doing the work with me there to assist if necessary). The steering was very unusually stiff once reconnected. This seemed odd so I looked the system over to find that two grease fittings in the cables snapped due to the cables being twisted when they were disconnected to install the new fuel tanks. We found replacements and waited for them to be delivered.

While the steering was being reconnected with the new grease fittings I went into the engine room for the first time in 3 days to do a final look over. What did I find? I found diesel fuel leaking out from under the new tanks!!! Ugghhhhhhhhhhh. So now we sit here waiting for the guy who intalled the new tanks to have a look. We have been here sweating in this hot repair marina for 3 weeks and we thought today was finally the day.

Who knows when we will get out of here. This is officially not fun.


  1. Sorry to hear about that. I know from experience the frustration of boat repair, must be doubly so as it's also your home. Maybe you should leave for vacation - hopefully the repairs are complete when you return. Good luck and don't give up. - Jim

  2. Thanks for the kind words Jim. We will get through it> The real challenge is that hurricane season has started and we are supposed to be far up north. Hopefully we will be on our way this week.

    1. If you get this far North make sure to call us for a dinner date, anywhere along the CT coast - Jim

  3. Great idea. We would like to get together with you. Keep an eye on the "Where are we" page as I keep it updated best I can. Now that we lost the additional two crew members we had we have less flexibility but our goal has always been to make it to Boston / Cape Cod. We fixed a couple of things today hopefully getting them right. If so, we get out of this working boat yard tomorrow and start planning our trip north.



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