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Old 12-08-2008, 12:50   #1
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Can't get away from the dock

I can’t get out of the frigging marina.

This is my ‘almost’ getting things done month. I almost got the bilge pumps working. I almost got the jib back up. I almost got the dink fixed and the hole patched, I almost got my book published, I almost...

So yesterday we finally got all the little bad things done. Everything that was keeping me at the dock was dealt with in some form or another. Got beer, got food, got water, got to get going. The weather was finally going to cooperate with me for a few days. It’s time to get to the sunken treasure ship and see what is there. Everything is ready.

Yea, right…

So we get the boat ready to go to sea, put all the stuff where stuff is supposed to go, make the coast guard happy, make the GPS Gods happy with modern navigation gear, everything is ready. The tide is high and everything is in order. One tap on the ignition and the Yanmar is running smoothly, just a few puffs of blue smoke that we have never seen before. I tie us back to the dock to check the engine. Everything looks fine. No reason for the smoke, engine running good, hummm… might be just from sitting for a month or so.

Untie, and pull away from the dock, life is good…

Yea, right…

So we get out of the fairway and into the shallow narrow channel and the wind starts to kick up. Moving the throttle forward delivers less power, the engine is starting to die. The Admiral jumps on the helm while using our forward momentum to keep us in the narrow channel. I go below for a quick look. The engine is still running, just will not deliver power over idle.

Oh-oh… got to be a fuel problem. One of the Racor filters is full of water. I switch to the secondary Racor. The engine rpm’s increase, we got power. We will make it out of the narrow shallow spot.

Yea, right…

I’m back at the helm, coming around the corner and into a little open area prior to getting back into a narrow channel again, with more wind. Loosing power, going slower, slower… oh crap… Would the Admiral report to the helm again, and quickly!

I jump up to the bow and open the anchor locker. I get the Danforth kicked off the bow roller in into the water and 20’ of chain goes before the rode. The boat is still moving at 2 kts. The Danforth sets behind us and starts to yank more rode from the locker where I’m standing, in the middle, with my left foot and then, oh crap. The rode takes a turn around my left ankle and I envision myself as a cartoon character getting pulled to the depths with the anchor.

The boat starts to spin 180 degrees as the anchor sets with my ankle. I reach down and get it unhooked just before the bone crushing snap. I get the rode wrapped on the cleat as the AbbyGale tightens the rode and comes to a halt.

Cough, sputter, die… the engine stops completely.

Time to assess the situation.

One Racor filter is full of water. The other, that I switched to, is not. The engine died. That has got to mean that water went past the first Racor and into the engines primary filter. After switching Racors I was still putting water into the system from the secondary filter. Damn.

Time for a cup of coffee and just sit for a while as we wait for BoatUS. Getting towed back to the dock is never pretty, or manly, but back at the dock we are.

Time to find out where the water came from, order new filters on line as the local marine stores don’t have them, and build up a fuel polishing system.

So there you have it. Yesterdays adventures and today’s repairs where so far I almost have the fuel problem fixed, I almost have all the parts to fix it, I almost had enough new fuel line, Home Depot almost had the right ¼” connectors, they almost had a new O-ring, but will order more, almost got lucky last night...

Boating is so much fun! I’ve discovered that you don’t need very much water in the tank, just enough to fill the filter is all you will almost ever need.

S/V AbbyGale
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Old 12-08-2008, 13:17   #2
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While the water in the filter was not fortunate the urge to drop the hook was at the very least resourceful even if almost at the expense of a popular cartoon character.

Within all this we have resourceful captain, immediate mate to the helm, the ability to switch the Racor when required and remain calm enough not to sever your foot at the ankle. It may not have been perfect but I see a lot of things done right.

I actually did the same thing but didn't have a second Racor and didn't almost get the foot in the chain, but did have a stiff breeze in a very small marina that was densely populated. We were not near home and were stranded a day effecting repairs only to be delayed again 2 more days by a tropical depression. We did eat and drink well though.

All these disasters have a common theme. In spite of a terrible streak of bad things you manage to do just the minimum number of things required to avoid a total breakdown in the social fabric, serious human injury, and sink the boat at the same time. It's too much luck not to be skill. It's my story and I'm sticking with it. You should too.

I can tell you after 5 years it does not feel any better but I have not done it since! You probably won't either. I mean the not doing it again part.

Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 12-08-2008, 13:41   #3
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S*#t happens and as Paul said…you did well!

That is the problem with all boats that sit while you are busy making everything perfect. Little things like condensate in the fuel creep up on you.

Hopefully next trip will make up for it….Go soon!
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Old 12-08-2008, 20:46   #4
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The moral of this story?

A prepared captain and respond in a timely (non-screaming) manner. goes in the locker to be retrieved when one is at anchor with friends....

"Remember the time when?>>>>>>>

"I got one for ya!!!!!!!!!

and my favourite,

You'll never believe this sh1t!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 29-08-2008, 13:47   #5
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Well, it was a nice project, and things actually worked out for me, which in itself is a bit unusual. I only have about $50.00 worth of spare parts from stuff I purchased that I didn’t actually need.

Once I go into the project I found an unused pickup tube for the fuel tank. I should have figured it was there. I don’t have an auxiliary generator, which is what this fitting is for. There is a return line port there as well. Thusly, I have a leftover conglomeration of two diverter valves, four extra 3/8” barbs, some extra fuel line and a few left over SS hose clamps.

The utilized parts include one free salvaged Racor filter body, one purchased Racor filter, about $28. I bought the fuel pump (new) on eBay. It’s a 4-6 PSI 100GPM 12v inline pump for about $35. The fuel lines were around $12 and the miscellaneous end cap plug for the Racor, two 90 degree elbows, some hose clamps, three Band-Aids and 2 Boddington Cream Ales, brought the grand total to around $90.00US.

This is considerably less than what I found at the boating supply stores and on-line magazines.

The original problem, a leaky fuel deck cap, fixed with a new O-ring.

I wired the pump into an unused 10amp breaker. Having plumbed the fuel-polishing pump totally separately from the engine fuel system, means I can polish the fuel with the flip of a breaker. Yep, one more way of making my life easier! The toughest part is draining the lower element and walking up to the waste oil containers.

I’ll not repeat the previous fuel contamination adventure in the narrow part of the ICW again. The night before I depart will only require the throw of a breaker for a couple of hours to ensure peace and happiness as I escape from the dock.
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S/V AbbyGale
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Old 29-08-2008, 15:17   #6

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That looks so purty... but why is your diesel fuel so clean? Heck, my diesel fuel is so cloudy and dark, you can't see anything in the water separator bowl.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:09   #7
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There's a paste that you can put on a piece of wood that you stick down into the fuel tank that will turn from brown to red if there's any water in the bottom of your tank. Any fuel tank distributor has the stuff, it sure works.

s/v Blue Bayou
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Old 09-09-2008, 15:42   #8
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OK, so same story with alternate ending.
One of our club members took his boat out. Got into the channel, and the engine dies. He tried to unfurl the headsail to sail out of it. The furling system jams. Anchor is stowed, and he can not get to it.
The harbor is able to tow his boat off the rocks (what is left of it), and to the guest dock. We (A large contingent of volunteers) are able to determine that there is no way to slow the leaks, and the 5 pumps we have on board are losing ground. Through some calls, we were able to reach the local boat yard (on a weekend while they are closed), and get someone to come and haul him out.
The engine problem was fuel. The sail problem was lack of preparation. The anchor problem, lack of planning.
Your outcome was different, only because of a prepared skipper and crew.
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Old 09-09-2008, 16:36   #9
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Originally Posted by Kai Nui View Post
The engine problem was fuel. The sail problem was lack of preparation. The anchor problem, lack of planning.
The best advice for a salty sea captain is to listen to the new guys. They can open your eyes to a lot...

The best question a newbie can ask?

"What happens if...?

My 11 y/o does that a lot. When you run out of (good) answers is when you gotta worry.
Relax Lah! is For Sale <--- Click
Click--> Custom CF Google Search or CF Rules
You're gonna need a bigger boat... - Martin Brody
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Old 09-09-2008, 16:44   #10
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The key was that LANNEN was prepared and keep cool. Like an airline pilot. You can teach someone how to take off, fly and land, with a little practice. But is is how you deal with emergencies, bad weather, and non routine stuff; same with seamanship.

I have found that when dodee happens, several things happen at once. I once lost my Jib in a blow cause I forgot to knot the bitter end of the sheet, my outhaul failed and my mainsail was flapping around, along with my jib, and there was some rocks to leeward so in my haste to escape the situation, I flooded the outboard (cause did not keep my cool). I finally got it together after a period of being scared and being a bafoon. Was a good lesson which has made me a better sailor. Be prepared, and be cool.

Good job LANNEN!!

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