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Old 01-06-2009, 01:37   #1
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Never Trust an Engine!

Its funny, my Dad told me to NEVER trust an engine.. and after a week on the hard (anti foul etc) we launched back in off the travel lift at Bridge Marina (Tauranga NZ) and ran the engine for a few minutes (Yanmar 2GM20) and all seemed fine. Helmed out in reverse on an incoming tide only to have the Bl%@# stop! (I had originally done some work on the fuel filter prior to launch). Attempts to re-start failed and we were being swept RAPIDLY towards the Mt Maunganui overpass bridge! The furler jammed so sailing out was now out of the question and the pick once down required too much chain out to get a hold!! A few fenders later (and a change of the tide) and we floated off minus some paint. Now I have a 2 litre overhead emergency tank and a quick bleed primer pump. But the best is still a CHECKED FAST acting sail. NEVER trust an engine!!
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:56   #2
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Crazyhorse - Sorry about your mishap. Good lesson though - Don't rely on the engine, especially if fuel system maintenance has been done. Run the engine long enough to consume the fuel in the lines.

Had a similar thing happen. Did battery maintenance, While upside down in the bilge, knocked the fuel line off the tank nipple. All the fuel drained into the bilge, unbeknownst to me as the boat was on the launch ramp at about a 15 degree stern down attitude and all the fuel hid aft.

A minute after backing down the engine quit. We can get 3 knot currents in our channel. Fortunately we launch at high tide so there is little current. We also have a safety boat on hand for all launches and retrievals so it was a matter of getting towed to the dock and then spending 2 hours cleaning the spill :-(
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:35   #3
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I think everyone has an engine story and here's (one of) mine. I was heading up the river in Ocean City, MD, and about 200 yds. after passing through a drawbridge against an ebbing tide, the engine stopped dead. Fortunately I had an anchor ready to deploy and suffered no damage. The problem turned out to be a broken wire to the coil. Quickly repaired and back on my way, but a lesson learned before it was needed. ALWAYS be ready to anchor.

Dick Pluta
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:09   #4
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Even a new engine

About two years ago I bout my current boat and being a sensible sort of chap I thought it best to replace the old salt water cooled engine that was completely stuffed rather than to refurbish it. After some weeks and considerable expense I was the proud owner of my boat complete with a lovely bright shiny engine.

With a mate on board we left the morning to give the new motor workout and to do a bit of sailing for the very first time. The motor worked like clockwork and she sailed quite well and I was happy. We furled the sails and started the motor only to have it cut out just as a flotilla of yachts under pennant converged on us from nowhere. I ran below to see what could be done to put some life back into the brand new engine. A complete novice but I raced on deck and we managed to get the genoa unfurled and head out of the range of abuse and attempted to sail back to the morning. This was the very first time I had actually sailed the boat. As we headed up the gradually narrowing channel towards the mooring I managed to position the boat so that with a port tack we would be able to pick up the mooring about 100 metres away only to hear a faint voice yell 'Starboard!'. I couldn't see another boat till we looked over the side to see a number of small boats being sailed aggressively by single disabled sailors. They might have had some sort of disability but their boats didn't and when they called 'Starboard!' there was quite a sincere imputation to what they really meant so, with the mooring in sight and almost in reach, we bore away and spent the next hour beating our way up the channel till eventually a kind soul towed us the last 100 metres to the mooring.

Back on the mooring I bled all the fuel lines and found where the fuel leak was. A nice coat of paint had covered the leak and probably kept everything going till the motor heated up properly for the first time. But I fixed it or so I hoped and we again headed off the mooring but this time with a set of tools by the engine... It has never missed a beat since... but I will never again trust an engine...
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:59   #5
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Ok so I've been working on the boat for 10 dys now. I had a lot of problems that I hadn't anticipated like some nasy leaks that ruined some cabinetry. !/2 step forward three steps back. But the biggie is a fuel problem. I put access prts in my starboard tank. In order to do this I transfered the fuel from the S tank to the P tank. cleaned the S tank everything looks good. Checked the battery. 13.5vdc. Good. Turned the engine by hand a couple of times everything good. Replaced the primary filter. Not needed but what the heck. So I'm going along motoring away from the yard and almost to the Marina when the engine sputters than stops. On the edge of the shipping channel in a furoious flood tide. I'm heading for the bridge piling. I don't have any sails on the mast or the forestay. Ok what to do. I dropped the anchor. I'm drifting down toward the pier but the CQR finally grabs. The boat spins around and I'm securely set.

Since I'm near or in the shipping channel I give the CG a Pan Pan. I go below to bleed the engine. Well as I'm doing this the CG asks me to do this and that and one of there questions is Is there any shipping coming your way. I look up and then I answer yes I see a ship at Channel 10 miles away at the Columbia Bar Spit. I go down and try to blled the engine -- It won't bleed. In fact I can't get any fuel to come up thru the injectors at all. A few more calls by the CG and a helocopter is flying above me. I didn't have a GPS but the CG wanted my lat and long to see if I was in the channel I presume. Just then the Marina comes by with a 30 hp skiff slowly fighting the tide we make it back to the marina. Turns out there was a problem with the lift pump. Lesson learned. After having the boat sit for a few months I won't leave a secure spot without running the engine for a half hour or more. Don't want surprises like that again.
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:23   #6
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(another) WORD OF WARNING. We did run the engine for at leased TEN minutes at idle (more than enough to use the fuel in the lines!!) What we didn't do was operate it at open throttle. I had replaced a RACOR fuel filter (fidly at the best of times) and the bottom rubber seal had not seated properly so the fuel rate at idle showed no problems but soon after we went astern at moderate power, the engine sucked air past the seal and... the rest you have already read!! (THANKS owed to Fred of Tauranga Bridge Marina who jumped into his tender and shot around to help). As a foot note, the current was severe, the guys at the Travelift were in a hurry to go home and wanted us out of there pronto (otherwise I would have been more cautious!) and we had but minutes before actually coming to rest against the bridge pilons! The only solution was to fender the hull as best we could, run lines ashore and wait for the tide to change (longest tide I've ever experienced!). Apart from a bit of paint there was no damage other than to my pride with passing cars slowing down to have a good look!
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:48   #7
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Originally Posted by crazyhorse View Post
(another) WORD OF WARNING. We did run the engine for at leased TEN minutes at idle (more than enough to use the fuel in the lines!!) What we didn't do was operate it at open throttle. I had replaced a RACOR fuel filter (fidly at the best of times) and the bottom rubber seal had not seated properly so the fuel rate at idle showed no problems but soon after we went astern at moderate power, the engine sucked air past the seal and...
Good point about open throttle. I will do it that way next time.
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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 01-06-2009, 16:25   #8
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Just a thought from one who lost their engine couple of weks ago (you mean if the fuel gauge goes to empty the engine stops?). At least we are sailboats and have a back-up (hopefully), what do power boater's that are blasting across the water do went they lose their engine? I'm going to be watching for this do for some sick pleasure.

Guess that saying about only having engine problems when you needed to run the engine holds true.
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Old 01-06-2009, 18:53   #9
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Just a thought from one who lost their engine couple of weks ago (you mean if the fuel gauge goes to empty the engine stops?). At least we are sailboats and have a back-up (hopefully), what do power boater's that are blasting across the water do went they lose their engine? I'm going to be watching for this do for some sick pleasure.

Guess that saying about only having engine problems when you needed to run the engine holds true.
The other day I was motoring from Redondo Beach to Dana Point. No wind. I see this power boater shooting up a bunch of white smoke and closing on me real quick. I thought it might be a fire so I slowed down to see if I could be of assistance. He stopped before he got to me. I turned around and motored over to him. and asked if he needed help. He said no it s just steam. I hung around for a few minutes. and asked again are you sure. He said it was no problem. Ok Gods honest truth I didn't want to tow this 38' power boat with my 40' sailboat. So I said goodluck and left. There were other boaters there and we were only two miles from the harbor. And remember No wind. I looked back when we got to the mouth of the harbor. The wind had picked up and sailboats were moving albeit not fast. I don't know what he did. But I felt a tinge of guilt for leaving him there but he said it was no problem.
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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:16   #10
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The "RULES" say to have a "secondary" method of propulsion Don Lucas (at leased they do in Enzed!). Basically it means: outboard, oars, sails or... toss the missus over with a pair of flippers.... :-)
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:06   #11
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Sounds like never trust a roller furler either.
Steve.
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:10   #12
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(CO my fav movie of all time!) Should we ever trust ANYTHING to do with boats!? Pilots go through a check list before take off (I have something like it on a bulkhead.. seacocks, battery etc) and checking the furling line is uncleated would have helped immensley! New line, new sheets... I don't know that a bent on sail would have been any better (halyard jamming?). Launching on an OUT GOING tide, now THAT would have saved the day! (Not letting the travelift staff rush me out of there would have done so too!!)
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Old 02-06-2009, 16:59   #13
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Don't feel bad. I spent almost the entire summer getting Espina ready to sail. Finally got my lady and her daughter down to go out sailing. Start the engine, let it warm up, everything is aok. cast off, push off the dock so the propwalk wont bounce us off the dock as we reverse out. Go to put her in reverse.

NOTHING.

I have throttle, no gear. Move the lever back n forth still zip. The ladies are fending us off the boat on the opposite side as the wind takes us slowly out into the basin. We drift down toward the rocks and the club members are hollering to put down the anchor until the tender can get there. Theres not enough wind in the basin to get the jib out and drawing.

My CQR is on deck.
The rode is coiled up in a bundle below deck in the cable locker.
The deck was resheeted by the previous owner. He never got round to reinstalling the hawse pipe.

Opps.

As we drift down ever so slowly i'm trying to put together the after spare anchor and about 3 mooring lines. A gentle bump as I toss the anchor over and start fishing for bottom.

Ominous silence from the ladies.

Anyway no damage, a red face and the hawse was installed next morning. I never could duplicate the problem. The gears were ok by the time we got pulled back to the dock. I suspect a line in the cockpit locker momentarily bound up the shifter. Shelby finally broke out laffing as she watched me turn red. Kid's got a great sense of humour. Mama never did say anything about it.

And to think that I used to laff at the people who pulled their sails down outside the harbour and motored in.

Live n learn.

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Old 18-06-2009, 23:02   #14
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My first time out in my (new to me) boat. The diesel mechanic (great reputation) had been working on my engine and everything was fine (it was overheating, he replaced the impellor and everything was fine). If you can't trust your mechanic who can you trust. Motor out of the marina, put up the sails and away I go (single handed). Time to come home, I near the marina, drop the sails early and fire up the engine. Yanmar single. Motoring along and suddenly the revs drop and then it stops. Heat gauge reading 180. Drifting towards the breakwater slowly. 5 minutes of panic and then become calmer. Fire up the engine, reverse away from the rocks, engine dies and I am drifting again. WHAT DO I DO? Can't go into the marina under sail. Start drifting again. Radio for a tow from the Marina. Two guys come out with a 35' towboat, engine fires up, runs for 2 minutes and dies. We are now in the marina proper. Slowly coast and pilot up to a private dock. Evenutally made it back to my spot with their help and 5 people are waiting to make sure i am ok. First time out in new boat, new marina. I was embarassed but lived through it. Cost of the tow, a case of beer. Great people there. As I was drifting towards the rocks, all I thought about was grounding and destroying my keel and hull. What never crossed my mind, drop anchor until help arrives.

Moral of the story, try to think when you're panicing.

BTW the mechanic came back and discovered the impeller he replaced had eaten itself after I ran it about 5 minutes heading out of the harbour. Thats his story! ! !
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Old 19-06-2009, 09:26   #15
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Captain Ron movie

This isn't my story but a friends of mine named Dick. Remember the movie Captain Ron? Well Dick was an extra for the famous docking scene where Captain Ron screams into the marina and docks in front of the yacht club party. Well the stunt man was down below in the engine room working the controls while the actor was at the helm. The very first take the steering and throttle jammed. They hit that concrete bulkhead dead on at a very high speed. The boat climbed up the bulkhead and slid back down, Dick swears he saw a thru hull or two. The stuntman/mechanic came out from the boat white as a sheet. The shot of the onlookers with that stunned look on their face was real

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