It Rings a Bell. Or Two.

The things that can happen in a boat …

So, another day I went to bed early, the body tired from another intense day of work on deck under the blazing sun (I had started Varnishing, but I won’t even get started with it now otherwise this post won’t finish today). In fact, over the last few weeks I had been going to bed early almost every day, feeling more tired than I would expect to be, attributing it to a combination of age (…) and the extreme heat/sun outside.

Anyway, I hadn’t been long on bed when my slumber was interrupted abruptly by a loud beep.

It’s not common to have something beeping inside the cabin, and always a source of concern. Off I came from bed to investigate, hoping for a quick fix that would lead me back to bed soon.

The source of the problem was our stove. Ours is equipped with a simple system that “sniffs” gases, and triggers an alarm (boats being basically in the form of a bowl inside, any heavier-than-air gases – like Propane – tend to accumulate inside. Hence the heightened care with potential leaks). I had worked on our propane system a few weeks ago and was pretty confident it was OK. After sniffing around, I could’t find any traces of the gas and declared the stove’s alarm system faulty (it had happened before), disactivating it.

And back I went to my sleep.

But at about 4AM I was awakened by a different alarm. Again ! This time it was the CO alarm which went off.

OK, that was too much coincidence ! Two alarms of different kind being triggered so closely. Something was wrong.

Thinking about it, it downed on me: because of the heat outside, I have kept Pesto’s air conditioning on since my arrival, 6 weeks ago. Before that, for the 3 months that preceded my arrival, the boat had been basically closed. And before that, for the week we worked decommissioning her at the end of last year, the aircon was on all the time as well. The point is, for months the cabin had been mostly closed, and the same air being recirculated inside with the air conditioning. Throw in some fumes from the thinner and varnish that may have percolated down from the cockpit, and our air-quality alarms went all bazooka inside.

Accordingly, I opened all hatches, switched our fans at the maximum, angled in a way to induce a vortex inside and lead the air out, and this way aired the cabin thoroughly.

The alarms didn’t go off again. And guess what, I’ve felt less tired at the end of each day since.

Another lesson learned.

4 Replies to “It Rings a Bell. Or Two.”

  1. Hi Ed, needless to say, as my Varnishing work proceeded, the bells kept on ringing. The one in the galley in fact must have gone bad, for now it was beeping apparently without a cause. It ended up being replaced, the poor guy.

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