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Old 06-09-2009, 18:09   #1
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Laughing Stock of the Marina...

Arrrghhh....

We righted the jammed keel (user error(mine)) and we recovered the main halyard (someone else's knot slipping) and oiled and lubed up the cranky hardware at the top of the mast while I was up there. So, all ready to go sailing... second attempt.

Outboard starts. Cast off lines. My plan is to put it in reverse and learn how the prop wash works on our little hole in the water with the 6 hp Johnson sailmaster outboard that ran like a TOP for 8 hours the day we brought her home... We are in reverse, Himself is doing his level best to not fret. We are backing from the slip. No big deal, done it a million times, a lifetime ago. And then as we get lined up and ready to go forward it dies. I pull the cursed start cord, nada. We have a healthy head wind that rapidly shoves us straight back down the marina channel... and towards the east side. Himself hops off as I push us off the transom of the neighbor we drift up to and He grabs the bow line I throw. I get her started again. Back her up to straighten her up and she chokes when I shift her to forward and stalls out again. This time we drift straight onto the rocks at the foot of the channel. Himself has heroically raced over the dock ramp and thru the gate and down the cliff to push us off in time while I try to start her. no dice.

We manage to get lines on her that allow us to walk her over to an end tie and sit to catch our breath. Himself very politely asks if I checked the fuel. Which I did, and the reserve tank that full. but then I get to thinking about it and wonder if even though there is a over a gallon in the bottom of a 5 gallon tank, might the fuel line not be shorter? Might the engine not be getting fuel even though there is some in there? Ok, so I haul out the tanks, transfer fuel, top up with what seems like the right amount of oil based on the instructions I was given 2 months ago when we bought her and brought her home.

Prime the line and she starts up. stalls, starts, stalls, starts, stalls. finally seems to be running and have all the air outta the fuel line so we put her in gear to take her back to the slip. (Himself is being very calm but is NOT going out today, after this.) On the way back to the slip she stalls twice more and 2 helpful neighbours come to help, keeping us from damaging our baby or anyone else's. We walk her in and put her away.

Lapsed time?

2 hours.

ugh.

This A.M. around the marina walking the dog I got (mostly) gentle jibes from the other residents. Lots of kind condescending consolation; "Don't worry, you'll learn how to steer eventually."

I Know how to steer... but it's a bit difficult with no power... and bay winds helping us along ; -)

I need a LITTLE bit of that glossy sailing magazine cover action right about now. Are we EVER gonna get her out on the bay?
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Old 06-09-2009, 18:46   #2
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Was the vent open on the tank? Thats the first thing I'd check, having been there, done that and survived to tell the tale.

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Old 06-09-2009, 18:47   #3
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vent? on the tank?

The choke was open... is that what you mean?
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Old 06-09-2009, 19:01   #4
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Some tanks have a little hand screw in the middle of the fill cap that has to be loosened to allow air into the tank as the gas is sucked out. Other tanks have the vent as part of the fuel line that automatically opens when you attach the fuel line to the tank.

I've also seen the fuel line on backwards, and the fitting that attaches to the engine put on such that the fuel is on the catch and the catch on the fuel prong.

If you see fuel in the water, the fuel line might not be completely on the engine.
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Old 06-09-2009, 19:03   #5
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Sara,

Those laughing were on boats sitting in their slips. Those who can not identify are either liars or not Sailors.

FWIW, I have found it is often helpful to keep the fuel tank full (or nearly full). Makes life easier on the fuel pump, minimizes condensation in the tank, and removes doubt about the pickup level. Get a smaller tank if you do not want that much fuel hanging around the boar. (I have a 3 gallon, a 6, and a 13... depending on what I am doing).

Two other things to look at. One is the fuel tank vent mentioned earlier. It is a small 'button' on top of the fuel cap. It needs to be unscrewed slightly to allow air to enter the tank to replace the fuel used.

The other suggestion is to get one of these bottles for mixing the oil.



It is hard to see in that picture, but there are lines on the side and a scale for different ratios. Just find the ratio, and pour the number on the side. It makes sense, and is EASY. Your outboard will serve you long and well, proper mix is important.
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Old 06-09-2009, 19:07   #6
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on the gas tank. ok. no I did not have anything open on it. and I didn't see anything open on it. There isn't a user manual with it and I have never run an outboard before this boat. never had a vent on the tank of an inboard, diesel or gas. all my experience is with inboards. now I get to feel really goofy... this is one of those things *Everyone* knows, isn't it?

open the tank. allows air... explains why pumpung the priming bulb by hand seemed to help it run better..

sheesh. That's all it was???

WHERE is that slick sailing magazine cover???
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Old 06-09-2009, 19:09   #7
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Choke?

Opened vent?

Started motor with choke?

Pushed choke in?

Two strokes are better since my youthful days, but if memory serves me right they don't like running with full choke for too long, and once warm, if they stop, they don't like to start...

Maybe the Universe is sending a message or two. I have found that when things are going wrong the primary cause is failing to stop and smell the roses.

By this I mean taking the time as I do each thing to pause, allow my emotions to collect, settle and gel so that those nagging little thoughts at the back of my mind have a chance to surface.

I have a steel boat with a magnificent collection of scratches, bloodstains and expensive broken parts to show for the times that I have let the occasion get away from me, not to mention a few scars and more recent wounds on my person.

And there are a few people who keep very clear when I'm around...
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Old 06-09-2009, 19:09   #8
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and thanks Faith, I am SO gettin me one of them bottles... All I was told was "pour about this much in" for a 5 gallon tank...

Damn you guys are good, ok all better now ; -)

Cause she ran for 8 hours under not nice conditions with out ever sputtering once... I couldn't imagine why it had suddenly turned into the motor from hell!
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Old 06-09-2009, 19:14   #9
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oh yeah Boracay... my life is FULL of moments when the universe sent me big neon messages. I TRY to listen and take heed.

Mostly what I seem to struggling with here is being 20 years out of practice and some unfamiliar systems...

Himself and I are working on our pre-planning vis a vis this subject... so that when it all goes south we have a better plan than me yelling "Haul your ass onto those rocks and push, Honey!"

The good news is I know we are gonna get better.. god knows we couldn't get WORSE at this point!
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Old 06-09-2009, 19:17   #10
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Oh, don't think every one of us hasn't been there! And felt sheepish about it when we discovered our mistake.

Esp. if the pump ball didn't really seem to harden up, it's a sign that either it's pushing air (no fuel) or that the vent is closed.

Must have been a disappointment. You'll get there soon.
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Old 06-09-2009, 19:25   #11
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sigh.. yeah I did notice the ball seemed soft...

and I was disappointed... big time... but now that I have a handle on what was going on I feel gobs better.
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Old 06-09-2009, 20:17   #12
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The good news is I know we are gonna get better.. god knows we couldn't get WORSE at this point!
Knowing where you are is better than thinking where you ain't. If you can laugh at the end of the day you done it good. The getting out of the slip part of sailing has a million details. Could be the engine, could just be real life getting in the way. I fnd it to be the hardest part of sailing myself. You show up, you give it the best shot you can, and you get better!
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Old 06-09-2009, 20:45   #13
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Sure it can get worse.

You could have found yourself learning this lesson aginst a lee shore with loughts of rocks.

Better to learn such things when in the marina, than on the rocks! Even if it's harder on the ego!

On the other hand, take heart, you played with a boat for a couple hours, infrount of a bunch of people that love these things. What else would you rather be doing?

There are only two kinds of power sailers out there. Those that have had an engine die, and those that will. Your now one of the ones that's been there done that.
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Old 06-09-2009, 20:47   #14
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I was a complete novice to sailing anything larger than a Sailfish when I got my 26' sailboat. Luckily had an upwind slip though the tradewinds were were often strong and gusty so had to carry quite a bit of power all the way into the slip. Thought my slip mates were super friendly and just showing the old aloha spirit as they always ran to meet us when we came in for the first few weeks or so of my sailing experience. Only found out over beers months later that they were just protecting their boats and the finger pier. The first time I came in after the initial delivery, I misjudged the power needed and ended up drifting sideways back out of the slip narrowly madly fending off from the boats on either side. After we got clear, made sure I had enough power on for the second attempt. Of course the strong gusty trades decided to completely die at the perfect moment and I ended up climbing the finger pier. For the next few weekends they waited till I came back before going home before calling it a day. They wanted to be sure that I had mastered the outboard and docking and they could live without fear of me wiping out their boats.

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Old 06-09-2009, 20:59   #15
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Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
... this is one of those things *Everyone* knows, isn't it?
Yup. Now, dont ask how we learned it...
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