Socks can kill and sweat can be a dangerous lubricant ….or…ouch, that hurt

It’s funny how the human mind works… get into a habit or routine and it becomes second nature, it can be almost comforting to engage in sometimes meaningless practices.  Then there are those that exact a price when you forget them or neglect to make them consistent.  Take socks for instance, innocuous enough, right? Well, I learned the hard way once, after what must have looked like a tumultuous sledless sled ride, a scene from Home Alone, or a half hearted attempt to break my tailbone, that bare socks can be a dangerous set of footwear on a boat.  I think the exception being those “treaded”, rubbery socks like they issue at the emergency room, which is ironic since the other kind can send you there.   Recently, when returning to Kitty Hawk after about a month away, I kicked off my offensive “street shoes” on the dock (mistake #1) and hopped aboard to get things turned on and ready for my stay leaving my socks on (mistake #2).  Well, one step into the forward companionway and “swoosh” went that leading sock clad foot….down into the salon..the left foot decided to stay in the cockpit…….fortunately, for me, I have this other, more ingrained habit of holding onto the lip of the hatch with at least one hand as I descend the stairs….that saved  me….granted I was doing the most awful, uncomfortable airborne versions of the splits with my right hand on the hatch and my left hand wrapped around the side of the opening (which tore most of the skin off my ring finger knuckle….ow) .but that beat a broken ankle or a concussion……..I initially learned this sock lesson the very hard way by breaking my pinky toe while wearing socks on deck about 18 months ago….that took months to heal so you’d think it would have made a more lasting impression, but no.

Yesterday, I almost repeated what I like to refer to as another  “lack of friction” incident while working on our house water pressure pump. The pump had decided shortly after my first shower to stop supplying water pressure despite running at full speed.   Ours is mounted on the forward bulkhead of the engine room and basically inline with the center of the diesel….so, not overly convenient to reach or remove.  It had been a long 5 or 6 hours in the engine room, it was about 85 outside and about 95 in the engine room.. I was drenched in sweat…..I think we, as a species, take the lubricating effects of sweat for granted.  I’m convinced that this solution, especially when mixed with any combination of fluids or sludge from the bilge, could easily be used to slide an elephant uphill while said elephant was seated on sandpaper. As I was trying to extricate myself from a pose that would have impressed any seasoned Yogi, I opted to wipe my hands (and other sweat laden extremities) off after I exited the engine room…bad idea….I had a rag right there….I had taken it into the engine room expressly for that purpose……… I knew I was a sweaty slick mess just looking for a place to have an accident….but I forged ahead….eager to end the pretzel torture of the engine room……slipping off the edge of the diesel where I was pushing myself upward, I nearly lost some teeth as my slicker than snot left hand lost contact with the edge of the diesel and my right hand was full of tools…..the only thing that saved me was the angle at which my leg was wedged between the diesel and the bulkhead….lucky but somewhat painful.

The troubleshooting, removing and reinstalling the rebuilt water pump was an exercise in patience and self control that ultimately ended in success …..I’d like to express my gratitude to Mike at American Pump in Melbourne, Florida for a very affordable and quick (four hour turnaround) on rebuilding the pump for me…..apparently, it’s a pretty simple thing but I had a LOT of other projects to complete in a short time for our pending departure North to NC. Mike was also kind enough to answer after hours troubleshooting advice via text message.  So, a big thumbs up to American Pump (321-724-2972) if you’re in the area and need quick, reliable service on a rebuildable pump!!!

Here’s my advice on house pressure water pumps…..if you hook it up, it runs, you have sufficient water in your tanks,  and you can’t find any air in the system or a leak that would prevent pressure from building ?  Let it sit overnight or for a few hours and then turn it on again…..apparently, the pump may take some time to allow the pressure from your tanks to displace the air inside the pump that it cannot remove itself with the self priming feature.  That two or three hours of tracing lines looking for leaks could have been better spent…..say, trying to catch a snook for dinner…!!

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I'm the average sailor...converted from a landlubber of course. While I was born with a love of the ocean it has evolved into a love of sailboats and other vessels that ply the open seas and connected waterways. I am probably like most of the people who (hopefully) will read our blog with the exception that we are now doing what we always dreamed of doing and I hope to help others do the same. I am NOT any of the following...a naval architect, a marine surveyor or connected commercially to any builder, distributor or boat sales organization. My opinions are generally my own, although influenced by many years of research.

One thought on “Socks can kill and sweat can be a dangerous lubricant ….or…ouch, that hurt”

  1. Great article! Very funny….will be linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the great writing.

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