Here's the 100-gal fuel tank with two sight glasses, one in the 25-gal section, which is full, and the other in the 75-gal section, which is empty. In between the sight glasses is a tie-down strap. Horizontally along the bottom third of the picture is a wooden shelf that does double duty to protect the tank's valves from being bumped. The large whitish hose to the left is a vent hose for the water tanks. The dark hose at the bottom/left is the intake hose going from the seacock to the raw water strainer.
What’s your advice on replacement parts?
The reliability associated with a diesel engine does not extend to its external viscera, and the failure of any of these items can stop you dead in the water. To increase the odds of being able to reach a port, stock the boat with replacements for every item attached to the outside of the engine, including injectors, pumps, alternators, starters, hoses, clamps, filters, gaskets, fuses, fuel lines; yes, the list seems to be endless.
A spare head gasket, (plus any additional gaskets needed while installing the head gasket) should also be carried as this is one internal part that can fail, and is usually easily replaced. You may also need a machine shop to plane the head, but at least you will not have to chase down the proper gasket in some out-of-the-way port. When storing a head gasket, make sure it cannot be damaged; such as sandwiching it between pieces of plywood.
Another comment about spare parts is important: many of them should be used preemptively. In other words, the parts on the engine should be replaced based on the manufacturers' recommended maintenance schedule—as they wear, instead of after they fail. Once the spare is installed, a new part needs to be obtained so that a spare is again available, in case the installed item fails prematurely. So you see, a maintenance schedule is more than just changing oil, and it is this approach that allows you to depend on your engine.
The photo shows the shower stall with one drop board removed from the front and stowed behind the seat. Bottom/left corner is our garden sprayer that we use for showers. Upper/left is a shelf for soap, shampoo, etc. Upper/middle is a pump to provide freshwater to the shower. The seat in the shower is adjustable to suit any reasonable angle of heel. Water for the shower is generally solar-heated or it can be warmed on the stove.
In addition to spare parts, all the necessary tools, manuals, goops and other minutiae needed to install them should also be on board. Even if you cannot do the work yourself, you may be able to find someone who can, which is possible, but only if these items are on board.
Following this same philosophy, you should consider having on board a few diagnostic tools. These items would include a infrared temperature gauge, cylinder compression test kit, battery load tester, coolant system pressure test kit and a multimeter. We bought ours all for under $300 and they help tremendously in determining if a problem exists and if so, what is wrong.
Some spares, such as injectors, and any parts with rubber components have a shelf life, and they need to be cycled into use and/or replaced before their shelf life expires.
Condensation causes rust, internally, on injectors, and if they are wrapped in plastic, the process is accelerated. Instead, wrap spare injectors in oil-soaked rags, and if additional protection is needed, roll cardboard around them. If the injector is not cycled into use, it should be pop-tested yearly to insure that it is kept lubricated and that it functions properly.
Any spares with rubber components need protection from ozone, UV light, and air pollution, so they should be stored in airtight containers.
In spite of these precautions, all spares should be cycled into use or replaced before their shelf life expires. Coincidently, our thought is that parts that have been replaced should not be saved for spares. If they have reached the end of their service life and need to be replaced, they are not dependable enough to be saved for use as a spare.
—Rudy and Jill Sechez
This is the starboard side of the pilothouse, looking aft. That's the gravity-draining kerosene tank in the middle of the photo, with the depth-sounder—a lead line—coiled and ready for deployment.
Here’s how the Briney Bug story is presented:
What does Briney Bug look like?
What about hull design?
What is the secret to engine dependability?
What’s your advice on replacement parts?
What about diesel engines?
How do you contend with boat motion?
Why do you have a sailing rig?
What’s with the big rudder?
Why do you have an open pilothouse?
Simplicity and self-sufficiency rule aboard Briney Bug . . .
How does one go about finding the right boat?
How much did Briney Bug cost?
Editor’s note: Rudy and Jill Sechez, when they are not away cruising, live aboard Briney Bug in Port St. Joe, Florida, and provide boat and yacht repair services. They can be reached at 850-832-7748 or via e-mail by clicking here.