Onwards, and hopefully, upwards…

Adventure posts will follow next, but this is largely another ‘frustration’ missive – Aaagh!

So, returning to Dun Laoghaire for some intermediate Hejira TLC, (and grandchildren cuddles), I arrived at the marina in torrential rain, not unusual in Dublin. The rain had caused a power cut in the marina, so I felt it was an opportunity to run the generator for an extended period to recharge the batteries. After a couple of hours of seamless generator action, I was ready to repair to ZiQi, my favoured local Chinese restaurant. I shut down the generator, hoping the electrics would be restored by my return. Not expecting any issues, I was very disappointed on my return to encounter the smell of diesel – AGAIN ! Closer examination showed that the tissue that I had wrapped around the tank top terminals, as a ‘tell-tale’ following the previous issues, was again soaked in diesel and the bilge awash. It transpired that, following the refit, the tank valves had been positioned to supply the generator from the port tank, and return the excess diesel fuel to the full starboard tank, I guess I should have checked. This pressurised the full stbd. tank but it should not have induced a leak as the overfill should just have vented over the stern overflow. There was clearly another leak at the top of the tank.

I booked another flight back to review the issue.

A week or so later, on my return, I discovered that the fuel level gauge boss was loose with a ‘buggered’ thread which the engineer must have known about because he had tried, badly and unsuccessfully to overcome the problem with Sikaflex sealant.

The top of the starboard diesel tank with the centre fuel gauge boss un-threaded. To say that I am disappointed with the engineering of the refit, would be a colossal understatement!

Cleaning and clearing the threads, serving with PTFE tape, gasket sealant and carefully not overtightening, should, I felt, have addressed the problem and after assiduously cleaning the bilges, again, I repaired to the Weatherspoon’s, confident that the issue had been sorted. All the top terminals were now sealed and not under pressure while moored and horizontal.

On my return from the ‘spoons’, I was really, really, disappointed to see a witness of diesel in the bilge again, after less than an hour!

Was this just retained remnants finding their way into the bilge or a problem below the top terminals?

Cleaning the bilge, AGAIN, I was resigned to the seep into the bilge in the morning, and so it was. So, there was clearly another leak problem.

During the refit and while the tanks were removed, I had the tank manufacturers, TekTanks, seal the unnecessary drain plugs in both diesel tanks, so I could be confident that there were no penetrations below the top of the tanks. So, either their sealing had not been successful, or the ‘engineer’ who installed the tanks has, somehow, put a hole in the tank when re-fitting it, maybe a screw in the wrong place…?

Returning to Dublin just over a week later to prepare for the imminent Scotland ‘adventure’, I didn’t know what to expect and I tentatively viewed the bilge with trepidation. Imagine my relief that, rather than a bilge flooded with diesel, all I encountered was about a thimbleful.

Just a thimbleful of diesel in the bilge after over a week – but there should not be any, and it was still smelly! What a waste of time it was to have laundered all the yacht fabrics during the refit!

This was thoroughly cleaned and deodorised before my crew, Richard and his wife Amanda arrived the next day.

As an expediency, I will continue to draw down from the starboard tank, hoping I can lower the level below the source of the leak, wherever it is. With 250 litres in each tank, and with no exceptionally long passages planned, I should be able to balance the trim with the water tanks and, despite a bit of a smell, it should, hopefully, have minimal detrimental impact on the planned cruise around Scotland. Fingers crossed!

I actually ordered a 5 litre container of ‘de-odoriser’ and had it delivered to my daughter, Becky in Blackrock. It cost around 50 Euros but she had to pay a further 20 Euros in duty. Wasn’t Brexit wonderful!

In the meantime, planning for the passages north have been ongoing. It is intended that this will ‘kick off’ with a 50-mile leg up to Carlingford. This Lough delineates the border between North and Southern Ireland. At the head of the Lough is Warrenpoint and the entrance to the Newry Ship Canal. This canal is rarely used by yachts, or ships, and there are plans for a road bridge to span the canal which will render the passage by yachts with fixed masts impossible. So, this may be one of the last opportunities to make the passage, a compelling reason to do it! Numerous Emails and phone calls could not elicit any meaningful response as to how to facilitate the passage and I could not be blamed for thinking that there may be a conspiracy to suppress the number of yachts making the transit to help justify its effective closure. However, persistence seems to have paid off and I have finally managed to make contact with a very helpful lady at the Council who sent application forms just inside the 72 hour notice period deadline. It is now looking promising!

The weather forecast for the passage to Carlingford Lough is not encouraging but, fingers crossed.

Updates will be posted, – I bet you can’t wait…

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