Thursday, November 22, 2018

Leak, Crew, Potential Re-routing


I left Intermezzo in La Paz to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday in California.

Just before I left I had to deal with a very small leak coming from the tube that penetrates the hull for the port rudder. The sealant in the annular space between this tube and the rudder tube has failed and water was steadily trickling into the engine compartment ever since launching the boat a few weeks ago. The sump below the engine was full of water and was starting to spill over into the bilge pump well.

It's not a dangerous leak, but it needs to be fixed.

I didn't have time to do a permanent repair before I had to catch my flight but I did a good temporary one.  I built up a fillet with Splash Zone waterproof epoxy between the two tubes and then wrapped it with self-fusing silicon X-Treme Tape.  The slowed the trickle to just a drip.  The Splash Zone wasn't really the right material to use for this repair; I thought it would be a stiff enough paste to stop the leak but the steady trickle of water was enough to thin and weaken it. Now I have rock-hard cured epoxy to deal with when I do the permanent repair. I should have used butyl tape to make the temporary fillet; that might have actually stopped the leak, too.  However, I am very impressed by the X-Treme Tape. It was really easy to work with and made an effective temporary repair that can be easily removed.

When I get back to the boat, I'm going to ballast the opposite bow of the boat to raise the port stern and get rudder penetration out of the water. Then I'll fiberglass the joint between the tubes to stop the leak completely and permanently. I'll fiberglass the starboard rudder penetration too, as it shows signs of leaking in the past.

The other news is that a third crew member has signed on for Leg 1 of The Voyage. Pierre-Luc ("Pete") is a police officer from Quebec and has some decent experience sailing on catamarans including a delivery from Miami to Belize which included some pretty heavy weather. I think Pete, Roy and I will make for a very capable and compatible crew.

We may need to change our destination for Leg 1. Marina Chahue in Huatulco is currently closed due to silting from Tropical Storm Vincente. The harbormaster says they are waiting for dredging equipment to arrive but has no idea when the marina will reopen. This is an important marina for southbound sailors as it is the place to wait for a weather window to cross the Golfo de Tehuantepec. The next closest port to the north is Acapulco.  I didn't like Acapulco much when we stopped there in February 2016; beautiful a place as it is, it seemed like a tired and worn out city. So, if Chahue doesn't reopen in time for us to sail to Huatulco, we'll probably end Leg 1 in Ixtapa, next door to Zihuatanejo. That will add quite a few miles to Leg 2 and make it a bit trickier to time the Tehauntepec weather window, but won't be too big a deal.

Intermezzo's weeping rudder penetration