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Old 07-09-2009, 12:22   #31
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Good point, TaoJones. That part isn't accounted for by the vacuum theory.

s/v Faith: what good is a reserve if the pick-up tube doesn't reach the bottom of the tank? But even if it was low fuel level (and I've run a few pretty darned dry), why did it continue to quit after the tank was filled?

I'm leaning toward filters now.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:39   #32
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I'm sorry to hear about the embarrassment. We all do things like that though once in a while.

For engines that I have not run for a while, I like to run them in gear with a load on them for around ten minutes or so. It gets them warmed up which makes them more reliable and it provides time to test the engine first. If it does not die in the first 10 minutes for whatever reason, its probably going to be okay after that.
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Old 07-09-2009, 14:24   #33
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I doubt it was the air vent on the tank, as this tends to take a while to show up. The soft bulb suggests that the connection between the hose and the tank or the hose and the motor was not firmly on - probably the former. It can easily happen when you are moving tanks around that it unclips a little.
Water in the fuel tends to show up with a bit of difficulty starting but mainly stalling out when trying to throttle up. With older fuel there is often a tablespoon or so of water in the bottom of the tank which is better to get out.
Sometimes a bit of water can get in the line if it is disconnected. You can pump this out by pressing the valve ball in the connector and pumping. If it is in the carb tilt the motor, and disconnect the connector and hold the little valve down. Water looks very different to petrol. When both line and carb are clear it should reprime and will run. Maybe that is not expert mechanics but I have done it a few times to get out of a jam generally caused by running on the dregs of a tank.
The first thing to check especially since the motor had previously been running is that the connections have not partly come off.
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Old 07-09-2009, 15:57   #34
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BTW, one of the things I learned from my experience with a fuel vent was to be prepared for the iron horse to die at ANY moment. Since I single handed a lot in those days, I took my main anchor off its mount at the bow and paid out enough rode for a 3:1 scope. This was about 35 feet worth of rode, which was tied off to the samson post. I then ran the rode down the outside of the toerail, tying it off every 12-18 inches with heavy thread. The anchor was now hanging on a second set of mounts on my stern rail, right handy to the tiller position. The few feet of excess rode was coiled and again tied with thread. So if and when, I could have the hook over the side in about 10 seconds. Saved me from some dings n dents a few times.

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Old 07-09-2009, 16:10   #35
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Good point Sabre. I used to teach sailing out the Berkeley Marina. In the summer months in the afternoon the wind blows like hell. A day where it hits 35 knots is common.

We had to motor out of the slips and then we would hoist sail inside the marina before we got past the breakwater. Because once you got past the breakwater, if the winds were up, the engine would become ineffective. The boats were mostly J-24's with outboards and once they hit the chop the prop would spend quite a bit of time out of the water if the engine was ever left running outside the breakwater.

So what we did before we left the dock was get the halyard on the jib and either got the jib all the way hanked on or got it started in its track...(depending on which way it was attached to the forestay) We then rolled up the jib starting at the clew and stuffed it in the bow pulpit. We then tied down the jib with its own sheets using a slipknot so it could be untied from the cockpit with a yank on the sheets. As for the main we did pretty much the same thing, but held the sail on to the boom with a sail tie or two...ready to hoist in an instant if the outboard died or better yet, when we were ready to start sailing.

I think it is really good seamanship to have the sails ready to hoist in an instant before you leave the dock. I see so many people motoring out with their sail covers still on assuming the engine will never die on them
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Old 08-09-2009, 08:23   #36
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Ok, Wow! I need to take a moment here for a victory lap! Because yesterday we spent the day on the bay. With the stick up, the water on the outside and the wind in the canvas. Man it was just so beautiful and we had such a great time!

The fuel cap was totally the culprit. I unscrewed that sucker and it started up on the first pull and ran with out a hitch. what a relief... took us in and out with no problems at all. (Or problems so small in comparison to those we faced on our first two attempts that they didn't even register on our radar.) Third try was totally the charm.

Getting out was a cake walk, we went early and it was calm and still, no wind at all. Himself is getting good at getting on and off the boat as she is moving, and pushed us out of the slip to get us going and hopped aboard when he and the bow reached the end of the finger. Took about 20 minutes to get thru the marina and out of the channel.

Once we were out on the bay proper Himself did a fine job of setting the mainsail. He was a bit impatient with himself because it's all new to him and didn't go as smoothly as he might have wished. Just keeping track of which ropes go where is a challenge and we walked thru it one step at a time until he had everything set correctly and tidy. I hate tripping so I am pretty rabid about ropes being lashed, secured, tied down, flaked, whatever is appropriate. He is still working at getting rope to behave in his hands and had to laugh at himself when despite his best efforts things had to be done twice before they stayed done. It was so calm we just hove too and drifted at first, had a bite to eat and celebrated our success. He was so excited he could hardly stand it.

The wind is pretty reliable around the bay and it picked up a little right on schedule. We sailed from Candlestick to Oyster Point for most of the day. Just dinkin around, practicing reading the wind on the water and playing with the wind and sail angles. The sailing classes we have taken at Cal Club have stood us in good stead, helped me remember how much I have forgotten and given Himself a starting point to go forward from. Around 3 the wind really started to blow and we were about an hour and a half from getting home so we headed south. Just before we got to the channel entrance the bow shackle, which was pretty corroded, blew out and we had a little sail recovery drill with the darn thing flapping like crazy in the wind coming off Mt San Bruno. When I had put the jib up I had looked at it pretty doubtfully, and I really need to go over the headsails and check their hardware and condition. Most of the equipment is worn but servicable, but this one was not. But that wasn't even a problem, Himself stayed calm and took the tiller and I just bundled it below for dealing with later. Man, we had fun. We may not have looked like that glossy sailing magazine cover, but we sure felt like it!

Getting home was easy too. I made all the turns to our slip with no problem, and got us about a third of the way into the slip on a sort of goofy angle, but Himself hopped off and walked us in the rest of the way. And there we were, home sweet home. Man it felt good. Cara the wonder dog wanted to pee so bad she was off like a shot and when we finished tying her up and himself looked around and said "I'll walk Cara, where is she?" I pointed to the dock gate where she was sitting right next top the door with her doggy legs crossed. We took her for a long walk so she could get her puppy ya-yas out and sat on a rock watching the other boats coming back in, talking about the day and about how many boats (hundreds) there are in the 3 harbours in our vicinity and how few boats had been taken out on such a beautiful holiday. One boat that had headed out when we came back in motored into their slip barely an hour later... they pretty much motored to the end of the channel, went in a little circle, and then motored back again. I don't think they even put the canvas up. And they have a REALLY nice boat too! Such a waste...

All in all it was a beautiful day and a really great reward for slogging thru all the cleanup and work we have been doing.

On the technical side;

I am really glad our issue this time turned out to be the simplest of fixes. I did learn a fair bit about outboards however and that's good.

The whole running dry the carb and mixing the oil in the bottle/ measuring advice and checking the connections on the fuel lines was good info and the anchor on a thread idea is brilliant, although we are in such close quarters I am not sure how much it will help. But it can't hurt and I really do NOT like drifting from one side to the other trying to not play bumper cars! I had never had that happen to me and it is not an experience I care to repete! I confess that my misspent youth on old chris craft spoiled me. When we started one of those old chevys they RAN. I never had a motor on my grandpa's boats die under me... Now I know better.

As far as having sail ready in case the motor dies in this situation... I don't know. We are in such close quarters I can't imagine the sail doing anything but complicating an already challenging situation. I have posted below a pic of the marina. The solid orange boat is at our slip. The orange arrow is where we have to go to get out of the marina. The orange outline is where we ended up the other day when the engine died and the tide and wind blew us south. The blue line is the direction the almost ALWAYS comes from in our area. Anyone have any ideas on how a sail could be used in these circumstances? Enquiring minds would love to know...

Thanks again all.

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Old 08-09-2009, 08:38   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
Man, we had fun. We may not have looked like that glossy sailing magazine cover, but we sure felt like it!
Great report, Sara! And you actually look just like the magazine covers - I can see the big smiles on your beaming faces from here!

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Old 08-09-2009, 09:46   #38
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Glad things went well- Sounds like fun.

Regarding your diagram (assuming east is up) . It seems you'd need to start out on motor to get out of teh slip. You could walk the bow out and face the boat north. I would have the jib ready to go. For me the jib gives the most control on just about any point of sail.

After leaving your finger headed north the jib would propel the boat to the corner. From there it is downwind out of the marina. Using the main would not be advised because downwind you may not be able to get power off the boat. The jib you can let out until it streams in front of the boat if you have to. We had a similar exit last year in a J24. We had the main up and ran downwind at a high rate of speed overtaking people. Not fun and lesson relearned.

Coming back, if the engine died at any point prior to turning into your row, would be either immediately use what momentum you had left to reach the end of any row and tie off or u-turn, get the jib up and sail back out till you found somewhere to tie off.

A good practice would be to find a buoy out there somewhere and practice slow approaches from various angles.

The idea of having ground tackle is a good one and we always have an anchor ready to throw out.

Regarding the engine, here is one more tip.

A friend had a similar symptom - Soft bulb and engine dies after a while. If he "pumped" the bulb it would become hard and the engine would run for a while and then die.

We removed the engine cover and we sw the fuel line from the tank go into a horizontally mounted in-line fuel filter. A line came out and went to the carb.

As we watched the see through fuel filter would get air in it and eventually uncover the fuel outlet and the engine would sputter. We pumped it up and the filter would refill.

We found a fuel line crack on the inlet side of the filter and it was slowly sucking in air. We cut off a half inch of fuel line and reclamped it and the problem was solved.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:03   #39
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Hi Sara,
I'm glad you and Himself had a great time yesterday....what cruel parents that gave him that name.

With an upwind slip like yours, you actually could sail out of it....with some practice of course. Some marinas don't allow sailing inside the marina for boats over a certain length, so look into that first.
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:19   #40
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Everyone does those "dumb" things, because hey how were you supoose to know sometimes. I went aground for 6 hours and had to call the tow first time I went out.

But, what I really want to know is more about "Himself" because this just cracks me up :-)
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:20   #41
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Ah now David, it isn't his parents who named him that. tis m'self... because I just can't quite use the more common monikers of "Darling Spouse, or Darling Husband or Significant Other or Partner" they just don't suit somehow. Himself is a character, no doubt... and for the Irish among us "Himself" is a pretty common way to refer to the man of the house... although Himself is actually pretty German... heh... his German stubborn and my Irish Italian temper make for quite the combustible mix, let me tell ya!

Keep in mind when I am talking about our adventures that once upon a time I spent ALOT of time on the water. Himself readily claims to have spent all of his time aboard boats doing double duty as ballast and beer (or scotch) container, so for him this is all new and he is learning from scratch as I brush off my dusty and cobwebby skills. He was pretty funny yesterday when we were having a bite in the afternoon and he say's "baby, get me a glass of wine please?" and then stops and looks at my face and belays that with "oh, that's right I'm sailing aren't I? I can't do that!" I just snickered. Old habits die hard and all that...

and when I grow up David, I wanna be cool like you and have the balls to try sailing all the way out... I can see doing it in a little lazer or something, but I just can't ( at this stage in the game at least) wrap my brain around doing it under sail with no motor. I would love to though!
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:59   #42
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I wouldn't try to sail out of that marina either. Too tight. I would just do the best I could to make sure my engine worked properly, and I'd also make sure I always had an anchor and fenders ready to deploy, in seconds.

Don't worry about being the laughingstock of the marina. Everyone laughing was doing so because they were all reminded of when that happened to them. Bumping around a marina is like running aground. It happens to all of us eventually.

For me, it was due to an engine overheat because of a failed waterpump on my father's old seafarer 26. Didn't have the anchor ready, and drifted over to block the way out of a grouchy old coot on his oversized stinkpot. He refused to offer a tow because he claimed his insurance co wouldn't let him. He "obliged" to push me out of his way and onto a sandbar where I tied up and called seatow.

Since that day, I've rendered assistance more often than I can remember to folks with similar problems.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:48   #43
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Aloha Sara,
You've a great little outboard there. Become really familiar with it and it'll give you good service. Here's what I've learned over the years after fiddling with Johnson 2 cycles. (Had my first 6hp in the early 80s). Buy new fuel every 3 months or so or put fuel stabilizer in the tank. Check the tank vent. If you have a kill switch make certain the little key is in place (I nearly pulled my arm out the socket (kidding) for about 10 minutes and had a sore shoulder from not checking it on my club's boat). Just use the choke long enough to get it started and warmed up. At the end of your sailing day, start your outboard, then disconnect the fuel line on the engine while it is still running and let the engine run out of fuel. This clears out all the fuel from your carburetor which if left in there too long can start to eat away at your pickup lines or start to jell.
Learn how to check the plugs from time to time. Look under the engine cover and get familiar with how the fuel line is supposed to look. Use exact measurements on your oil to fuel measurement when filling your tank when you can. Too much oil will foul your plugs and too little won't lubricate and can burn up your outboard.
Good luck.
We've all learned from experience on those things and luckily your experience wasn't tragic or life threatening.
Looks like a great marina.
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Old 08-09-2009, 17:07   #44
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Ex-Calif has the right of it. If your jib is ready to set instanter, and you are sharp, you could get her under control. BUT it would be a cast iron SOB to do. If the gods smile on you, you would squeek by the corner and have to turn right sharpish. I agree with you, the anchor trick in this case may not save you from bumping into someone but again that depends on how fast you are when you realize you are in trouble and which way the wind is blowing. More south, uh uh, you are going to bump. But if its more to the north, you will be fine. But it will keep you from bouncing down the row of sterns until your keel goes thump on the beach.

In all things nautical i find it good to have a plan A, B, C and then a TOTALLY GONE TO HELL plan.

But I'm glad you had such a wonderful day. It makes it all worth it, doesn't it?

BTW I missed which area you are sailing from. By bay did you mean San Francisco or somewhere else?

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Old 08-09-2009, 17:47   #45
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Skipr, excellent description of how to actually evacuate the fuel line. I have it on my punch list to do when I get on her next! I have ta figger out where the plug is, and make sure I have a wrench for changing it. I actually have a new spare plug, but it wouldn't do me much good right now. ANd that little kill switch is a pisser... I try to keep my eye on it because it's SO easy to knock off.

Sabre, it totally makes it worthwhile. and we are learning to have an A,B and C plan.. and the TGTH fall back sounds smart too...

And we are in San Francisco, and were sailing between two prominent points locals would recognize. The marina is in the south end of the bay, meaning south of the bay bridge. All the sexy sailing is between the bridges, north of us. But then they all pay sexy dock fees too ; -)

I am gonna have the jib on next time, even though the motor ran perfectly you never know.... it can't hurt and might help.

But the wind NEVER EVER blows from the south or east here... it just shifts from westerly to northerly and all the points in between. Something about the Gate and the Pacific currents and weather patterns around here. All the weather comes down from Alaska. Once, a decade or so ago, we had a confluence of a typical northern storm arrive in conjunction with a fluke southern weather front and the whole of Northern California about flooded away thru the Gate it was so bad.

So I can count pretty much on the wind coming from the North West.
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