Well, I left Flinders on Sunday morning at 6:30am after trying to get the St1000 calibrated. It simply would not work on the trim tab and was not powerful enough to operate the rudder
. So, with bungy strap in hand I set off in a calm, windless but sunny morning. The bungy strap sort of worked, but if I left the helm any longer than five minutes I'd return to find RC on a course back to Melbourne.
I helmed until 1am Monday morning, by which time I was getting really tired. The engine
stalled then and when I checked the filters they were BLACK. I checked the fuel tank depth
and I was down to 80 ltrs of my 200 ltrs tank. I'd set off from Queenscliffe with 180 ltrs. I changed the filters and bled it and off we went again. But by 3am I was so incredibly tired and cold that I looked at the chart plotter and realised I was again steering toward Melbourne. It seems I'd nodded off without realising it. I stopped the motor put head
to pillow and a few minutes later it was 5am. I'd slept for two hours and according to the plotter had not moved at all. My cabin
was lit up as I was only a mile from the Lolla gas platform which was lit up like a Christmas
tree. Very pretty sight.
So, at 5am I set off again and as cold as it was I watched the sun rise. The sun rays were a welcome sight and I felt much warmer and more awake because of it. By 7am, 24 hours after leaving i realised I was actually enjoying this. I just wish I could have gone below to pass the time. Boredom was my worse problem.
Around 11am I had to change the filters again, and again around 2pm. I was then down to my second last set of filters. So I changed them and this time I put made the decision to disconnect the lines from my dirty keel
tank and connect them into my 20 ltrs portable heater tank which had about ten litres left in it. I was by now about 20 miles out of the Tamar River. I text my uncle and asked him to meet me at the Low Head Pilot Station with an extra 20 litres just in case I needed it. But, as I pulled up the engine stalled and refused to start again.
I went to bed
at about midnight and the next morning a local mechanic
came to have a look. Very helpful young fella who showed me what he was doing so I could learn what to do if I had not made it back. After some time he concluded that whilst diesel
was going to my injector pump
, it was not then forwarding fuel
to the injectors. Aero start in the inlet got the motor starting quickly. His advice was that more likely water
had gone through the line and stuffed the pump.
Given a lot of problems I've had with this Volvo Penta
2003T, I've concluded its time to repower
rather than spend an approx $5000 to do everything that's needed and then still have something break when out to sea.
Tuesday afternoon a friend arrived and he towed me up the river to Beauty Point.
So, that's my trip. I enjoyed most of it. Would have been so much better if I had a reliable auto pilot.
However, when I left Queenscliffe with my St4000 initially working, I had a fright in the 20+ winds. I couldn't get the main up because of the lazy jacks, and whilst trying one large wave after another knocked me over (? 45 degrees?). I regretted being on my own at that time. The two meter seas were really uncomfortable.