The Charlestown Navy Yard, established in 1801, was one of the oldest shipbuilding yards in the country. More than 200 warships were built in the yard and thousands more were maintained and repaired there. When the Navy Yard closed in 1974, a portion became part of the Boston National Historic Park. The rest was commercially developed, including Pier 8, the site of the Charlestown Marina where we are staying while in Boston. We spent our first few days in the area exploring the Navy Yard and getting a few boat projects done.
Trip highlights from June 17th through June 21st follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps
The USS Constitution, launched in 1797, is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world today. The ship never lost a battle at sea and earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” after British cannon shots bounced off her thick hull and an American sailor reportedly exclaimed that “her sizes are made of iron!”. She currnetly is in dry dock for extensive renovations.
The row of pillars unpainted pillars below decks provide temporary support while the ship is out of the water. With all the boat’s weight resting only on the keel and no water to provide additional pressure from the outside, the ship will tend to spread out and the decks close up on each other.
The “problem” with a dry bilge is that very tiny leaks are super-noticeable. After enjoying a bone-dry bilge for about 12 hours, we noticed a very minor diesel leak that left a 6-inch residue trace in the forward bilge. We traced it to a tiny imperfection in the weld at the bottom of the supply tank where the fuel is seeping out through an air bubble. It’s such a tiny hole that for years it was sealed off by paint but now is just barely allowing diesel to pass. We sanded off the paint around the area and viewed through a mirror you can see the air bubble in the weld where the stick points.
Our Raspberry Pi failed this afternoon. All those orange and red lights on the Maretron display at the left of the picture are due to the missing Pi. We use it to control 120V load shedding and active cooling, support the virtual watch commander, parallel the wing/gen start batteries into the house system, override the automation system and emergency alarm, and indicate the state of various equipment such as the bilge or waste pumps, generator auto-start, and the fire suppression system. We have a backup for the Pi, but replacing it is non-trivial. The wiring to the old one has to be transferred to the new. That alone is a big job, but the new one (a Pi 3 Model B) won’t read the SD card from the old one (a Pi 2 Model B) so we had to re-install all the software from scratch. At that point, it’s a big job. We finally finished about 11pm.
We discovered a pin hole leak in a supply tank weld where an impurity or a bubble in the weld just allows a slight seep of diesel. The leak is so small that it’s been sealed since new by just the coat of paint on the tank. We repaired it by cleaning the surface down to shiny aluminum, applying two thin coats of JB-Weld, sanding smooth and applying a thin layer of clear 5-min epoxy. Our bilge is back to 100% dry again.
Our primary satellite system failed during the trip up to Boston. The KVH V7 support team diagnosed the problem as one of a bad cable, failed modem, or an LNB (linear noise block). To get the system operational quickly, they sent a modem and a LNB. The modem is, by far, the easiest to install so James put it in and the system immediately returned to operation. We average more than $100/day in communications costs when the primary system is down, so it’s nice to have it back on line.
In the last engine room check, James noticed the generator coolant overflow bottle was nearly overflowing. He pulled off the coolant cap and found the coolant level was low. As a precaution, he pressure tested the cooling system and found it actually was leaking down, but there was no coolant outside the engine. Generally that is not good news so we kept digging. The generator coolant “leak” ended up being an unusual problem: the pressure tester was leaking at the pressure gauge. We fixed the leak in the pressure tester, re-tested and confirmed the generator is sealed up tight. The cause of the coolant not returning to the engine as it cools down was just a bad coolant cap or leaking overflow bottle tube. He replaced both and it’s all back to working normally.
While changing the coolant overflow hose on the generator, James also replaced the same hose on the main since it’s showing some signs of heat and age damage.
Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.
On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.