110 Cookson Lane | Whitefield, ME  04353 | 207-232-7600 |  tim@lackeysailing.com

Rookie (formerly Circe) | Friday and Saturday, June 11-12, 2010

Friday, I spent much of the day aboard with the owner, taking care of some final projects (including making up the final mast wiring connections inside the junction box in the head), and generally preparing the boat with the owner and answering questions about the various systems and installations.  Recent rainfall had leaked slightly into a galley locker, with the gate brace appearing to be the likely culprit, so I rebedded that fitting, as well as the nearby track end stop, which I couldn't rule out as a possible culprit.

By the end of the boat, the boat was rigged and ready to go, pending a few purchases and final details that the owner would take care of over the weekend.  However, a last-minute check of the head system, which we'd not yet looked at, revealed a couple issues.

First, the bowl filled nearly to the rim with water after the first test flush, which was much too much.  A check of the troubleshooting instructions indicated that the air vent hole in the intake line needed to be enlarged in this instance, so I opened up the hole, which improved flushing and reduced the amount of water.  But there was a nagging, small leak that appeared at the fitting where the head discharge line went through the bulkhead into the forward tank compartment; a thin line of water dribbled down from the cutout in the bulkhead.

I tightened all the hose clamps I could reach, but it was clear that the issue was inside the bulkhead, perhaps, I thought, from the hose connection on the other side of the fitting.  Loyal readers may recall that I installed a two-piece through-bulkhead fitting to make up these hose connections; I thought the water path was all one section, and therefore not able to leak, so I assumed the leak must be from the hose connection on the inside.  Often, new clamps and hoses take a while to seat properly and require slight retightening after a time, so this was not a surprise.

Access to the hose connection I needed was tough.  The design of the locker above the tanks allowed for access, but the connection was all the way aft, about 12" or more aft of the access hatch opening I'd provided, and with minimal clearance for tool maneuvering and operation.  Minimal, but possible...though I'd not anticipated the need to be reworking the area so soon.

To get at it, I needed to remove the other end of the hose where it connected to the tank inlet, since the loop of the hose was blocking access.  Well, I couldn't get this hose off the barb, try as I might.  The problem was leverage in order to twist the hose off the barb; even though the connection was new, and hadn't had that much time to seat in place with age, it was still very tight, and resisted efforts to remove.  It was late, the day was waning, and eventually I decided that it'd be better to return in the morning and fix the problem then, rather than continue to fight a losing cause.  And I didn't have everything I needed for the job on hand, having not anticipated the task.

The next morning, I returned with some additional supplies and a refreshed attitude.  A little heat from a heat gun, and the offending hose slipped off the barb with relative ease, allowing me to reach and tighten the clamp I'd been seeking.  It took about 10 minute, and, flush with my apparent success, I tested the head with confidence.  Imagine my dismay when I discovered that the fitting still leaked.

Disgusted with the fitting, I cut off the short hose on the exposed (head) side, then unscrewed the fitting, with the hose still attached, and simply eliminated it from the equation.  I replaced the two lengths of hose, and the through-bulkhead fitting, with a single length of new hose, which I ran straight through the bulkhead from the pump to the tank.  Frankly, the installation was no less bulky or unattractive than it'd been in its previous iteration.

It turned out that the watertight integrity of the through-bulkhead fitting relied  upon thread seals, which is where the fitting had been seeping. The hidden side of the fitting, which threaded onto the male threads of the other side, also incorporated the hose  barb for the inside, instead of just being a large nut that locked the two pieces together (which would have preserved the watertight integrity of the pieces and not relied on a specific fit or thread sealant--one more poor design for the trash bin).  The fitting had seemed like a neat idea, but it had practical limitations that I was unwilling to accept in the future.

In any event, I wrapped up the new installation within an hour, completing my work on the boat.

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