These four words used to haunt me when someone said them to me because you immediately knew that it wasn’t okay.
After a busy summer on a relatively neglected, older boat with questionable initial build quality, I now find myself uttering these very same words as I shamefully close the deck plates, because in my mind, the ‘repair’ I have just effected that should have looked somewhat more aesthetically pleasing, however looks like something you’d find in the black tank.
Currently boss off, so the other evening I was partaking in a few beverages and watching an old staple of petrol headed TV. At this point, I realise there is a strange, unpleasant and new smell emanating through the boat. It was the smell of 14 heating elements firing up to warm the boat up. Keen to avoid a mention on the news and in a MAIB report, I decided to put the AC into ‘heat mode’, which disables the elements. “Perfect, I’ll put it back onto cool mode in the morning”, I foolishly told myself.
I go back to my TV show, but within 20 minutes I hear air rushing around the system. I head back down and to my horror the system has de-pressurised. I charged it and then witnessed the gauge fall back to zero almost as quickly as it charged. The entire system was swiftly switched off. Now my engine room is deathly silent, with one exception, the sound of trickling water. I home in on it and given that it’s 0230 and I’m a little sideways, decide that it’s a job for tomorrow.
I awake, red eyed and matted tailed, and go and do some more chin scratching. I have three pin hole leaks in the fixed hard plastic pipe. This is not good, the pipe has become brittle and is in effect disintegrating from the inside out. My repair could be vulnerable because of this discovery, as the pipe is akin to bone china, but I run with it. I find the gloopiest Sikaflex I can, and apply it to a rubber patch and obviously everything else within a five metre radius of myself. Patch goes onto pipe, clamp over patch, I tentatively tighten.
I stand back and look at this monstrosity and apologise to the boat for it.
I charge the system, it works, I shut the deck plate and shamefully utter “For me? Is okay”
The Bilge Rat!