The preview -
Last weekend we took the boat out and it had been a while since the prop was cleaned. The tides weren't high enough for a haluout on our ramp
the week before so I decided I would have to dive on it myself. We only made 2 knots getting the 50 meters or so to the dock
. I also noticed that the alternator
It only took an hour of free diving
to clean it up pretty well so I was feeling good about this weekend's special sail.
The Plan -
It was my birthday and we were going to load up with food
and drinks and have an evening motorsail. I did have a couple of jobs to do so I went out early Saturday to check the alternator
and fluids and to resecure the position light that had come off the pulpit when the spinnaker
sheet snagged it a few weeks before. Didn't pay much attention to boat speed as I moved from the mooring
to the dock
Some things go exactly as planned. Opened the cockpit
floor to get access to the batteries, opened the engine
box and put the meter across the battery
terminals, noted just around 12V and started the engine
. No increase in voltage. That's bad. Clearance behind the alternator is tight and blind so I didn't have a good chance at checking the alternator field to ground without putting my fingers in harms way so I decided simply to drop the alternator and clean the connections. Easy things first. Removed the alternator, removed the terminals, cleaned them up and reinstalled. Bingo - Nice bright green light on my three light autozone special battery monitor
. Uh, Oh... No RPM
readout. Sure enough, broke the tach wire horsing the alternator around. Remove the alternator again, crimp a new terminal on the end and reassemble. All good now!
Position Lights -
Had to run home, shower
, cook, put the cooler together etc so I figured the 5 minute job of the position light could be done when I get back. Got back, looking snappy in my nautical shirt and nice khaki shorts, removed the light, opened the case, did a minor repair to the mount. Noticed that the bulb looked corroded but it was working fine last trip so I didn't do anything about it. The guests are arriving so pressure is mounting. Reassembled and of course no light. Removed everything, cleaned the bulb and spring terminals - let there be light! Cool! Let's go sailing.
The Trip -
so we load the guests and drop lines with the motor
ticking along nicely and charging
the lights, music
and instruments well. Feeling proud of myself.. Back out slowly and switch to forward and give her the gun. Nice piles of black smoke and about 1 1/2 knots of speed and only 1200RPM. Wow! The current
was running pretty strong along the dock. Maybe picked up a rope
or junk on the prop. Grab the nearest mooring
ball. Look at my nice nautical shirt and khaki's and kick myself for not bringing trunks. I also kick myself for taking the mask and fins off the boat. Anyway, Strip down to skivvies in front of the guests amid snickers and some averted eyes.
Unbelievably the prop has a brand new coating of barnacles
on it but no rope
wraps or anything. Grab the putty knife and free dive 5-6 times to clean up the prop.
Finally get back on board and we were able to make 2400RPM with no smoke (2800 max) and 4 knots so we are away. I splash some fresh water
and re-don my nautical shirt and now Commando Khaki shorts and pop a well deserved beer
is not your friend. If you see it and have access to it, clean it.
- Alternator. Solid troubleshooting works. After reassembly, inspect the install - would have seen the broken wire.
- Prop. Barnacles
in your skivvies. Sucks! But the guests were amused.