6-10-18. This past Friday, a fellow Beneteau 411 owner here on Muskegon Lake spent the afternoon into early evening with me in completing two major projects that had been on my “list” for a long time. Tom Cooper, his boat is also a 1999 B411 by the name of Hawkeye, helped me (well, if the truth be known, I watched, assisted and learned from him!) hook up our windlass toggle switch in the cockpit. We have a wired remote switch that is used up at the anchor when we set it or retrieve it, but it is good to have a switch also back in the cockpit in case it is too rough to go up on deck, or in an emergency type of situation. I had run the wires last fall but had not had it connected correctly and Tom not only connected it to make it work, he wired it using safety standards that will allow it work for years to come. He also inspired me to get an organizer for all my electrical connectors and wire as I just had them in a bin, making it very difficult to get to connectors when needed.
Tom also helped me correctly wire our secondary bilge pump. It had never worked since we owned the boat, a fact the marine surveyor this spring identified as being an issue, so I installed a new float switch (which then activates the bilge pump if the water rises to a level that floats the switch up) but could not figure out the wiring. He not only hooked it up, but ran all new tinned wire to the switch and showed me the benefit of using heat shrink connectors to keep any water out of the connections. To finish off the bilge pump/float switch installation, I removed the check valve that a previous owner literally used electric tape to try and fit a 1 1/8″ connector to a 1″ valve (which does not work!) and used a 1 1/8″ coupler to make it all complete. This secondary bilge pump is wired directly to the battery so that it would always work in an emergency. Except, of course, if the battery is under water in which case we would have other issues to deal with! It is also wired to an emergency buzzer/light, so if we are sailing in bad weather and are taking on water for some reason and would not hear the bilge pump go on, the buzzer/light would alert us to the fact that something is going on in order to take earlier action.
With the wiring of the windlass toggle switch, Tom suggested that I install an On/Off switch for our wash down pump which is housed in the anchor locker. I installed that last August in order to be able to hose down the anchor chain if it was muddy when retrieving the anchor. I installed it and hooked the power up to the power running to the windlass. That works very well, but if I was having problems with the wash down pump (which works on having adequate water pressure) and still needed to run the windlass I had no way to shut the pump off. In other words, if there was a leak in the line running to the pump it would continue to run as it only shuts itself off when the water pressure is stabilized. So on Saturday I did install an On/Off toggle switch for the wash down pump in the forward head. I will pretty much always leave it in the On position, but does allow me to shut the power Off to it if need be. A good safety measure!
Lastly, this past fall I had a Torresen’s Marine technician out to the boat to show me how to change our transmission fluid and the two fuel filters. It was great to learn from him, and inadvertently I handed him a Racor fuel filter that had been on the boat but later I found out was only a 30 micron filter. We have a primary Racor fuel filter and then a secondary fuel filter, and the primary should have been a 10 micron filter with the secondary being a 2 micron filter. I had wanted to change the 30 micron filter to a 10 micron filter before we left, so this morning Sharon and I very successfully drained the Racor filter, took out the 30 micron filter and installed a 10 micron filter, and then we bled the fuel system to remove all air from the fuel line and the engine started right up! We ran it for a while just to ensure there was no air in the system. Great teamwork! It was a great learning exercise because one of the potential issues underway is your fuel filter clogging up and stalling your engine. Now we both have been involved in changing it out so it makes it even that more familiar to us in case we need to do it out on the water.
Unfortunately the weather has been absolutely horrible this weekend with huge east winds battering us in our slip, which is not protected well from east winds, so we were not able to get out sailing. Hopefully sometime this week (did we mention before that we are both retired now!) we will actually get out and sail. Woo Hoo!