The Nearly Perfect Guest
Choices and Loss -- A Lesson in Opportunity Cost

Blame it on Steve from S/V Celebration–Well, Not Really

EW has a long list of projects, and he’s diligently working through it and ticking them off as he goes. Of course, after the water intake hose blew, the engine compartment took on a greater focus. He had already begun replacing the hoses, evidently just not in the right order.  Boat projects are like that. He finished replacing all the hoses and discovered that all of the hose clamps had issues. So, off to the marine store for stronger, better hose clamps. As he exchanged good for bad, he’d frequently exclaim, and show me how bad, bad was. See.  P3120112P3120116

You can see at left how the open style of the hose clamps caused them to degrade and break.

At right, the new style clamp – bumps, not holes. Solid. Solid is good.


He also discovered that a looming engine project had jumped to the fore. When we were back in Maine, he’d hired a yard to install new insulation inside the engine compartment. Now, some boats have easy access engine compartments. Heck, some boats have work shops inside  the engine room. Our lovely La Luna has an engine compartment that’s pretty tight. There is a smallish access door on the starboard side, form the pilot berth area; a large access door in the front, under the companionway;  and a medium access door in the galley. Basically, when EW is working in the engine room, nothing is sacred and all is cluttered. There is also access if one removes the AC/DC refrigerator.



Here’s EW in the aft part of the engine room, behind Pine Top, our Perkins engine. I took the photo through the front access panel.

Here’s EW working through the galley access doors. He’s laying over Pine Top and the Cool Blue refrigeration system and he’s across from the stove and our main – now only – refrigerator/freezer.











And, at left, here he is exiting the engine room through the hole where the old fridge lives.  Getting in and out is a bear, and involves lots of grunting, but once he’s inside, he can stand up.










Let’s digress a moment to discuss that old AC/DC fridge.

When we moved aboard, I was delighted to have both a standard boat fridge and freezer and a smaller bar type unit. When we lived on the dock, I used that separate unit for produce. When we sailed, it would run on DC, but one day, before our cruise to Nova Scotia, EW asked me if I could live without it on the trip. “I think it’s using a lot of battery power.” You engineers or quick thinkers will already be wondering how well insulated a fridge would need to be if it’s situated inside the engine compartment. Exactly. I readily agreed to re-organize and stored dry goods in the fridge on the trip. Consequently, we used much less battery power and the chocolate melted. Afterward, that fridge was used only in the winter when we were on the dock. Once we left Maine, I used it to store the vacuum bagger.

Now, there were times when EW needed more access to the engine and we would remove this fridge from it’s hole. It wasn’t easy, but we could do it. I suggested that EW needed more easily accessible parts and tools storage and  that he he would have abundant storage if he removed the fridge permanently and build a nice teak-framed box unit with drawers – something that would be easier to remove for engine projects. I made that suggestion about 8 years ago.

Back to the present – EW had discovered that a section of sound insulation had degraded to the point that it was disintegrating and the ugly black matter was getting into pumps and other important bits. EW absolutely had to remove the old insulation. Oh joy. Two days and one bruised and battered captain had completed that nasty job without getting a lot of insulation in the rest of the boat. I do love EW.

So, he had new hoses, new hose clamps, and a cleaned-up engine compartment. We’re done, right? Time to move on to something else. No – and this is where I blame Steve, though that may not be fair to EW, because I would never want to imply that EW isn’t interested in having all of La Luna looking her best. Steve and Lynn are super people, a fun couple, and excellent sailors. They are both scary smart, and Steve is retired military.  He’s also learning to play guitar, so one day EW took a break and stopped by Celebration  to share a few licks with Steve. (Doesn’t that sound nasty? It’s what guitar players do, and seems harmless.) Of course, when two cruisers get together they discuss boat projects, which led to Steve showing EW Celebration’s engine compartment.

I haven’t seen it. When I was telling this to a few other cruisers, Carl from La Creole, who also knows Steve, said, “Oh man. That’s bad. You can eat off of Steve’s engine.” By this time, I knew it was bad – but it was too late. Steve has come up with all sorts of interesting ideas for their boat --- really, really good interesting ideas. How good? Well, back in the states they were boarded by the Coast Guard for a regular boat inspection. When the boarding party saw Steve’s engine compartment they asked for permission to bring folks aboard to show them what an engine compartment should look like. That’s bad – well, it’s good, but it’s bad for other cruisers.

P3170220The next thing I knew, EW was painting Pine Top. And then, he decided to tackle the fridge. Now, as many of you know, EW and I renovated a home together and a lot of that process would involve me thinking up ideas – such as a library wall in the den – and EW implementing them. The storage box/drawer unit is just such a project. Big, expansive, a lot of work. Here’s EW’s brilliant work around:P3150154


Take all of the fridge parts off the back of the fridge, making it lighter, smaller, and easier to remove when he needs access to the engine room.




Put it back in place and store stuff in it.















We are a good team. I think up things and he makes them workable.

We had re-wired the engine room in Hampton, and now that EW’s completed all of his other engine room projects, we have a well-appointed and safe engine room – perhaps not to the standards of Steve on Celebration, but I can live with that and EW will have to. He has many other items on his project list, and  I wouldn’t want to eat of the damn engine, anyway.

Here’s the newly painted Pine Top. P3300033and the neatened up engine room with the fridge box installed. Oh yeah, that wouldn’t get hot at all when Pine Top is running. Right.



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Wow, the engine looks so pretty ... is there a special engine paint EW used? PS Like the "related story" thumbnail.


Your engine room looks great! Don't be so quick to knock it as a dining room, it can be quite cozy when the weather is cold.


Time for another article Bar-Bar-a!

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