Diesel Engine water open while sailing? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-24-2007
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Diesel Engine water intake open while sailing?

Quick question?

Is it ok to leave the valve for water intake to the engine open while sailing under wind (with engine off) or should you close the valve to prevent water from coming into the engine? Thanks!

Last edited by saurav16; 06-24-2007 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 06-24-2007
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Depending on how your water intake is positioned, I woould say yes or no
If it's positioned with the grill pointing aft you can leave the valve open, if not... Don't. Btw. I always close the valve when not motoring, even though my intake is positioned correctly. It's one less hole in the boat.
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Old 06-24-2007
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Leave it open. You may need to start your engine quickly without a trip down below.
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Old 06-24-2007
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Cam, If I need to do something fast, I'd rather rely on sails or dropping the hook. It's not that I totally disagree with you, but I firmly believe in being ready to take action without relying on the engine. The last sailboat that shipwrecked here, were relying on their engine - the sea (probably) meant that crud was stirred up, and the engine died... Afterwards they realized that a) they could have just set the main and/or headsail, or b) Anchored.
Maybe it's just me (and the fact that all the boats I've sailed on have had no or older engines) but I don’t trust the engine to help me in those situations - and when the situation is in control, I can walk calmly down below, pour some coffee, and then open the valve?
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Old 06-24-2007
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Leave it open unless you have a problem. I might shut it for an ocean crossing but not for normal use. I like to shut it when I leave the boat, hang the engine key on the handle so you don't forget to open it.

Dropping the hook cannot get you out of the way of a freighter when the wind dies and the current is against you.
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Old 06-24-2007
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close the water intake valve?? Huh...??

Nope

Leave it open

Rick in Florida
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Old 06-24-2007
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Joms...No problem with trying to rely on your sails as a first resort. Nice to have a "second" resort available and ready to go and since the open through hull presents the same risk as the other open through hull, I see no problem in having it open and ready to "go".
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Old 06-24-2007
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I think we basically agree.. It is prudent to be ready for any circumstance - howevever when conditions change your boats state should change too - I.e. if the wind dies or the fog comes rolling in, be ready to start the engine (that's when I open the seacock on my current boat).
Btw. I've sailed for many years without an engine - I think that made me take longer trips at times, in order to clear big-ship routes and other hazards, BUT it also made me more self-sufficient in terms of sailing.
My original comment on closing the water intake when it is located so that water is forced into it when sailing fwd. is based on recommendation from a friend who's worked on boat-engines all his life (rescue boats as well as recreational boats), as it can force water into the engine and ruin it, but probably only when going relatively fast. Please note that motorboats and sailboats are different in this respect too
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Old 06-24-2007
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I am with Cam on this.
I always have the valve open and the key in the starter. Sails are great, but why limit your options.
I never heard of engine being ruined by valve in open position on a sailboat (but I do not claim it is not possible). On the other hand you will ruin the engine very fast if you forget to open the valve.
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Old 06-24-2007
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I hardly think that the water can come in with such pressure that it will bypass the pump. In any case, for engines with closed circuit cooling that is not even an issue.
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