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Replacement Steering Ram with new Autopilot Pump.

Replacement Steering Ram with new Autopilot Pump.

We moved Sea Eagle from the shipyard in Richmond back to Sausalito after three long weeks of work by the yard. As with all boat work, it never goes quite as smoothly as planned. KKMI replaced the steering ram and installed a new/improved Steering Pump, but wired it up backwards and didn’t test it.

Prior to leaving the dock, I tested the backup autopilot and the rudder hard locked while the autopilot began alarming. Fortunately it was an easy fix (after a bit of head scratching). The trip back to her home slip was mostly uneventful, although I did loose steering (and the rudder locked hard port) as I was entering the breakwater. Another one of those fun, OH Sh*T boating moments. I was going slow enough that I was able to back out into the bay, which was good since I could not go forward due to the locked rudder.

Again, it was an easy fix and we were tied up in the slip, safe and sound in no time.

I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out how the yard had gone through all 400 gallons of water and run the water pump dry (and HOT). I could tell there was a leak somewhere, and could hear the bilge pump running every 15 minutes, but it took me a while to figure out the hot water tank relief valve was leaking and the discharge was plumbed to the deep bilge, completely out of sight.

I found a replacement valve at a hardware store the next morning and enjoyed the peace and quiet of no water pump and no bilge pump for the rest of the day! Isn’t boating fun?