Cruising Is Repairing Your Boat In Remote Places...
Once again, it's been a VERY long time since my last log. We didn't die, nor suffer from any catastrophe, in the interim.
However, plans for an offshore trip from Fort Pierce FL to north of Portland ME went south after 3 successive crew had to drop out, and time marched on, making it too late to start over.
Then it looked like a weather window (which never presented or we'd have gone) would not arrive in enough time to make it worthwhile to go to the Bahamas before returning to the annual meeting of the Seven Seas Cruising Association, where I'd just been elected to the Board of Directors.
And, in the interim, we became very involved in the church we found, playing handbells, singing in the chancel choir and both Christmas and Easter Cantatas, and other church events during the week.
We also were making trips for the now-17 grandchildren, and, with both of us on Medicare Advantage programs now, doing LOTS of intense looking and followup appointments to various probings and stickings and picture-taking.
But, finally, we are free of those, and have provisioned (stocked up on food) and refueled, rewatered, raised the dinghy to the davits, stowing the engine and fuel cans, and off we go to the Bahamas.
We make it to Grand Cay just fine, motoring (dangit!) all the way in benevolent seas and small winds which prevented sailing on the course we needed. (Tinyurl.com/flyingpigspotwalla, and adjust - under our name in the upper left - the time to start June 29)
But, one of the axioms of Bahamian anchoring is that you stay a long way from shore to defeat the bugs. We didn't, this time, because we thought we'd be right out from getting checked in and a new sim for the BTC phone.
It didn't work out that way, this being Island Time, Mon, complicated by the Cheeseburger In Paradise annual bash (many hundreds of boats and boaters congregating on a large sand spit while volunteers cooked over 3000 hamburgers and a similar number of hot dogs, along with Bahamian rum drinks and beers) taking place just down island from here, on the first day we came ashore. While it took two days in blistering, sweltering (lots of humidity and no wind) heat, walking the streets of the little town of Grand Cay, we now are back on line, registered with Customs and Immigration, and ...
... After a night of flying ants, not biting but very annoying, in NO wind, we resolved to move. I always check the engine before starting...
First we had a raw water intake hose (to the pump) split, which wasn't costing cooling water, really, but was putting sea water in the engine pan bilge as it seeped.
The admiral's change of the diapers under the chronically leaking engine (if you have a Perkins 4-154, it leaks from the rear seal, regardless of age, so we have oil-absorbent pads we put under the entire engine) knocked off the overflow bottle, so coolant (ALSO) went into that same bilge...
I had a spare hunk of hose, which I installed. Prudence (the admiral's niece) tells me I should lay in some more 1" hose, as I have used all I could find (one piece, which happened to be a remnant from which the original was cut; the cut ends matched perfectly when I put them together to see), so that I have more of that size whenever I need it, for whatever circumstance...
However, backing up a bit in time, here, when we started, to get fueled and watered, and again when we left the fuel dock, our starter took a couple of tries to turn. I thought it was the amazingly low batteries (44%, courtesy of our voracious now-freezing freezer/reefer and 3 successive days of no sun or wind). We had the engine running the entire way until we anchored, so didn't have to start it again.
But the flying ants convince us it's time to move. So, we go to move and we get a click and nothing else. Voltage is the same at the terminals of the starter and everywhere else. Presumed bad solenoid, as even a remote starter button, and then a direct application of a screwdriver (Universal Starter Tool) had the same result.
So, I'm glad I have both a spare (the newly rebuilt, original, Delco monster that came with the engine, from back in the early days of the "Shake and Breakdown" series) original starter, and a spare solenoid for it, too. I'll be doing that replacement today.
I'm not sure exactly why I don't have a spare sol for this one but I don't. Brain fart when I bought it, after my starter failed in my 'shake and breakdown' cruise - the second time, after our 2011/12 refit, that when we'd thrown the hook and turned off the engine, there was something (in that case, the raw water pump) MUST be dealt with before we were ABLE to leave.
So, here we are again, unable to move (not nearly enough wind to sail) until I (good move on my part to have total swap spares for nearly everything aboard!) pull the non-starter and put in the direct drive original type which I fervently hope will prove that it was a solenoid and not something electrical that caused our current (pardon the expression) problem.
But we're here, and it could be worse, including the dinghy which, with the (heavier than the 6HP we used in Vero's no-wake zoning) 15HP on it, sits lower and therefore accumulates water via the design-failure crack in the stern (since remedied on newer models, but I don't have one of those), needing a scrub, badly (the Indian River in Vero Beach is incredibly fecund for marine life), and another pumpup (one of the tube sections has a very slow leak) after I bail it.
It could be worse - but it's pretty wonderful being back here. Once we get the starter sorted, and the dinghy bailed, we'll head off, in the mother ship, to one of our favorite snorkeling spots, and reanchor.
So, Until Next Time (I'll try to make them a bit more frequent and entertaining to those not mechanically inclined), Stay Tuned!
Morgan 461 #2 SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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