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Old 19-10-2013, 21:24   #1
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Location: Dunedin, Florida
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"the first twenty-four hours..."

We were running late. I had hoped to have us anchored in Lake Sylvia before dark so that we would be well rested for the next leg of the trip. But time is my enemy and the sun was already slipping below the horizon as we were leaving the dock. The delay was unexpected as we were having problems with a leaky bleed screw on the secondary fuel filter allowing air into the line and the engine to stall. I just made it to an injector shop before they closed to purchased a replacement and we were on our way. We cleared all the bridges on the New River without incident and were approaching the convergence of the New River and the ICW when Rob asks me if I would like the spot light. We were already exausted from the road trip and preparations and no one really wanted to move so, I said "no."
"I have been down this river a dozen times now. we should be fine."
Wrong answer. Sure enough I picked the wrong flasing green when leaving the river and entering the icw and we ran aground. We lowered the dink and attached the motor so that I could put out a kedge anchor. When I squeeze the outboards primer ball gasoline squirts all over the place. I thought I had attached the fuel line wrong so I tried again. Same result. So, now I am rowing in circles, in a dingy full of gas, trying to get a 50lb kedge anchor set. I eventually did get it set and winched us off the sandbar with no problems. We all joked that at least we got the bad stuff out of the way the first night. Boy were we wrong.
The following day we got underway and were headed for anchorage in Miami. The weather was great and the forecast was for East winds at 10-15 kts. Absolutely ideal conditions for my boat. So, we looked forward to a plesant day. We cleared the bridges without incident and were headed out the Port Everglades Channel. Just about half way out and in the middle of the channel, with a 4kt current, the engine dies. &*%^$#@ %$@* Plop, the emergency anchor goes in the drink and I calmly(or not) go down below to crank down on the bleed screw again while Rob and JJ spin the boat and walk the anchor forward. I bleed the fuel line as quickly as possible and head for the cockpit to start the engine. As I reach the cockpit I am assulted from three fronts. One is a marine patrol boat telling me that a large freighter is headed our way and in about 25min. we will be run down if we don't move. Two is two tow boats circling me like sharks yelling, "You are gonn have to cut the anchor line and pay one of us to get you out of here!" Three is Rob and JJ, with eyes like saucers, telling me that the anchor is stuck and they can't get it up without the windlass (that is currently occupied by the primary anchor). My responses were (to the marine patrol) I am running and will be out of the way, (to the tow guys) Buzz Off, I will call YOU if I need you, and (to Rob and JJ) bring me the bitter end of the anchor rode and the biggest &$%$* winch handle you can find. I cranked and the crew tailed and we fought the anchor up and again were on our way to Miami.
The first hours of the sail were complete bliss. Then the weather turned on us(et tu brute). The wind clocked from east to southeast and eventually south of southeast and continually built to 20kts+ as did the seas. We had to bring in the sails and start the motor again. Again the motor stalls after running for about 30min. I had installed a primer ball between the tank(s) and the primary filter to help prime the filter when I change it. This primer ball saved our butts. We found that if we sent someone below to prime the ball every 20mins. the engine would not stall. Thus we created a new crew postion. The "ball man". Yelling for someone to "squeeze my ball" really helped lighten the mood for the rest of that leg. Which was good because it took us almost nine hours of fighting wind, waves, and current to complete the 20 mile trip to Miami. We entered port Miami at sunset and it was dark when we made the turn from the icw toward the backside of South Beach. We were only 200 yards from the anchorage whe the engine stalled again. This time it was not air in the line but an empty port fuel tank. F&$* IT. We put up the main and anchored under sail, thus ending "the first 24 hours."

*the following morning I was, again, bleeding the fuel lines when I noticed, in my peripheral vision, a tiny bubble rising from the bleed valve on the primary racor filter. Ahaaaaa. It was not the bleed screw after all. I swaped out the bleed valve from the genset and the diesel ran like a champ for the rest of the trip

"be careful out there boss and stay on the trail. ther'se geurillas in them woods."
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Old 19-10-2013, 21:37   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Melbourne Australia
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Re: "the first twenty-four hours..."

No-one got hurt, nothing got broken. All in all, a good (if eventful) days sailing. It could have been worse, you could have been working. Glad you made it safely (eventually).

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Old 20-10-2013, 01:32   #3
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Re: "the first twenty-four hours..."

well done mate, lots of problem solving
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Old 20-10-2013, 12:17   #4
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A cautionary tale for all of us. Don't assume the diesel will run just because you need it. Nice problem solving. Fair winds.
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