Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: British Columbia
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Re: What's your biggest bonehead move sailing?
I could see that if one loses grip of the handle while releasing the valve lifter with the other hand, leaving no hands to support the body while crouched over the engine in the e.c. In my boat (PY-26) the only access to the motor is aft and opposite the forward mounted flywheel, so it is quite precarious even without the necessity of getting an arm right down to the crank. By all accounts the Volvo is fairly bulletproof, but the electrics are situated immediately to port which means the flywheel will dip into water if the bilge has a few inches of water in it, and of course spins so to spray batteries, wires, terminal blocks, relays with corroding salt-water. PO or POx2 seems to have allowed this to occur for a time leading to a motor which looks great on the LHS, notable rust on the RHS, and some min or intermittent operation of electrics. I can envision a situation in which a large wave temporarily fills the cockpit leading to salt-water in the rear bilge and non-functioning electronics. Add weather conditions which require using the motor and a situation could easily develop in which manual starting remains the only option.
The solution is to (obviously) make damn sure that (a) the crank handle is always available in a known location, (b) the bilge remains bone-dry, and y (c) familiarity with the manual start procedure such that one does not have to struggle to crank the silly thing in deteriorating conditions. The first two are relatively easy to assure, but anyone with small stature or injury could quite find themselves incapable of turning the crank quickly enough to accumulate sufficient momentum to ensure a start.
I suppose the take-away is that events can conspire to put a boat in peril without regard to the skills of the pilot or state of the equipment on-board. All one can do is minimize risk and be aware that all eventualities cannot be anticipated. To that end I have a metric buttload of work to do.