June 25, 2009.
I’ve completed my first 3 days on the new job. The first day was interesting to say the least.
I headed out with one of the bosses to knock out a few repairs. The first boat of the day was at first glance, an easy one. The boat was having starting issues and needed their hot water heater replaced. The boss, who I’ll call “Bob” went below to start troubleshooting the engine while I slipped into a cockpit locker to replace the hot water heater.
Unfortunately the holding tank, the completely full holding tank, was in the way. A plan was formulated where I was to put some straps around the tank and winch it to the side about 4 inches enabling me to get at the hot water heater. It worked like a charm and the new hot water heater was soon in place. That is until things all went to hell.
I had the engine water side and the electrical connections completed and was just starting the fresh water side when I noticed a slow drip from one of the bottom fittings of the holding tank. I though “ut oh, that’s not good”. I was only looking at it. I never touched it, I didn’t poke it, fondle it or encourage it but all of a sudden the entire fitting fractured and popped apart. I guess the 25 year old hard plastic fitting didn’t have the elasticity to flex at all when I pulled the tank aside. Shit. Literally, everywhere. A 2 inch gusher of the unimaginable, flooding the locker, going down the limber hole and filling the bilge. Crap. Again, literally.
Of course, the owner was there but fortunately she was pretty cool about the situation. “Bob” finished the engine repair and he and I methodically cleaned the locker and all of the several contaminated bilges. After the bilges were clean the owner continued to flush the nether regions of the boat with fresh water while I finished up the hot water tank and “Bob” took the holding tank down to have a new fitting plastic welded in.
The holding tank was promised for later that day so we headed off for the next job. It turned out to be a straightforward remove and replace job. A 50 foot powerboat needed new trim tab actuators. Simple, quick and not involving fecal matter of any type……perfect.
The third boat of the day was a work in progress. We got there and had enough time to install a new flywheel, damper plate and bell housing. We got the starter in and mounted the transmission and it was time to go. On the way back we picked up the repaired holding tank and stopped in and reinstalled it.
It ended up being a 10 hour day but in spite of the shitty start, things went pretty darn well.
Day 2 was another 10 hour day, the last 3 of which I spent installing a pair of solar panels on a cruising boat. Of all the things I’ve done so far this was definitely my favorite.
The highlight of day 3 was fixing an overheating powerboat and getting to take it out for a test spin. I monitored engine temps at the heat exchanger until we got out to the Severn River where we got to open her up. The thing did 33 knots and left a wake about the size of a dinghy. I even got to drive the thing back to its slip…… Yeah, it was a glimpse into the dark side and I gotta say "I just don't see the allure".