Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sailing Advisories

2011 01 19
Vero Beach FL

Gasoline in a Diesel

A boat moored beside us at Vero Beach has had mechanics on board every day since we arrived.  Apparently the mechanics have been aboard for more than a week now.  Yesterday, after a lot of expensive troubleshooting, one of the mechanics tasted the fuel.  Of the ninety gallons of fuel on the boat 34 gallons were gasoline.

Along most of the eastern seaboard it is the practice to require the skipper of the vessel to pump his own fuel.  This is directly opposite of the practice in good old patronizing Ontario where many marinas make you get off the boat before they will pump fuel.  Even if the fuel is non explosive diesel.  On the Eastern Seaboard a dockhand hands you a delivery nozzle and you pump your own.  Until now I had always assumed this was due to the extreme penalties for spilling hydrocarbons into the waters of the USA - a perfectly good use to put extreme penalties to in my view.

Now it seems there are more reasons than one.  The poor skipper with the damaged diesel was handed a nozzle by a dockhand and pumped away, assuming the nozzle was connected to a diesel pump.  The marina now is off the hook for liability: it is the skipper's responsibility to make sure he has the correct fuel.

In future I am going to much greater lengths to make sure my nozzle pumps diesel.

While gasoline will not destroy a diesel automatically it works insidously to achieve a similar result.  The seals in a diesel engine are made of very different compounds than in a gasoline engine and diesel engine seals are eaten away by gasoline.  This causes serious problems with, eg. the engine's high pressure injection fuel pump.  That is the case with our neighbour and the cost of rebuilds and repairs will be in the several thousands of dollars.

Eyeware in Seawater

Son in law Nick writes that the product he described to me was actually "Nikon Ice" not Nikon Eyes as I wrote.  Son in law Nick did not disagree with my assessment of the opticianry program at Georgian college.

Good friend Andre wrote to share that she too had lost two pairs of eyeware due to saltwater corrosion.

Most helpful letter on the eyeware post came from the literate and witty Rhys of Toronto, whom we have never met. 

He wrote:

I had the same problem on a delivery to the USVIs in 2009. Salt water ate my glasses.

I didn't notice immediately because I wear contact lenses, the comfortable gas-permeable kind. My vision (myopia/nearsightedness) means I can and do read maps and close work with "bare eyes"; the irony at 50 is that I now need weak reading glasses WITH contact lenses, or I need the split-vision type of contacts.

The solution, short of what you already know, is to get safety goggles when the going is wet of the clear plastic woodshop type. If it's super stormy, resort to ski goggles.

But the best bet is contacts and cheapo reading glasses. I get mine for $2.50 a pair at Active Surplus in Toronto. The sea receives my tribute of a few pairs per season...but I don't begrudge the sacrifice.

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