A close reading of The Self-Sufficient Sailor, Chapter 6
may have kept this boat off the rocks.
may have kept this boat off the rocks.
A few questions for this situation-
In the Voyage Planning Checklist
- What was the forecasted wind
- Did the actuals match the forecast
- Was the actual lee shore also the weather forecast
- Was the lee shore CPA expressly identified?
Were lower risk routes discussed with the Watch Captain
Were the WC and Navigator roles formally identified and practiced?
Wot wot, there was no Voyage Planning Checklist?
In the maintenance
Was a Diesel Fuel
Test Kit Part # FT1 onboard? Cost USD $21.
Was its use annotated in the maintenance log?
Was there a secondary fuel tank
and filter system?
Pyrate- I accept your point in realities of cost and running the dream of a sailing school
. The captain
didn't get into that for the wealth and I feel he lives the values of this forum in general. "Worst for last" -- I will meet you halfway with a revised *opinion that any boat with 10+ students should have a second auxiliary tank and separate Racor
filter system at a minimum. This is a few hundred dollars to save lives and a ship. Even the cheapest owner would foot te cost to have his ship back. I have this safety
feature on my 28.5 foot hull
. Despite my two fuel
systems, I'm working on a transom outboard
mount for N+1 on the engine
power and N+2 on the fuel.
To the spirit of learning
, this thread HAS helped me directly. Subsequent to this thread, I had a night time engine
failure with my "lee shore" as an active commercial
channel (500-700 foot ships, CBD). In hindsight I realized I had tempted Neptune by discussing this CF thread with my crew while on the water
. And so, knock on teak
, Neptune decided to test me 10 minutes later.
What really happened?
- misdiagnose of warning lights, actually no diagnosis -- RPMs at zero, Charging
at zero, engine still running, two alarm
lights. HUH??? Why would that be?
- maybe its a fire (no rational basis for that thought but at least it led me to open engine hatch)
- dammit wish I'd installed that FirePort sitting in my project
bin ($17.99 and 5 minutes on the hole saw)
- opened engine hatch
and missing belt was bloody obvious (Ok, so go and pull one of the 3 spare belts)
- boat hove-to; more by circumstance than plan; (ok that'll work better than sailing given situation and crew skill)
- nav check. (inavionics--I estimate 20-30 minutes of eastward drift before I'm playing with the 500 footer big boys in THEIR channel. Depth
ok-matches nav check. I could anchor
if I need to. ShipFinderHD-I see the big boys, they see me probably, no AIS
course. I can fix my mechanical but definitely keep option open for a securite call. Hindsight: radio
to max volume so it'll interrupt anything else).
- two guests aboard guest #1 "what can I do to help?" guest #2 "has this happened before?" (note: guests numbered in rank order) "guest 1 - up on deck
, keep a 360 lookout, tell me if you see anything lights, bouy, ship, anything."). Ignore nervous guest 2 & work the problem.
within 2 feet of where I thought but it cost me a minute of uncertainty and two more minutes of digging. Hold up spare part to guest two "I prepared for this a long time ago." (Silent invective-anything to say now??)
Leatherman tool was the prybar for the new belt where a full screwdriver wouldn't fit. If I'd done the mechanic-wear parts
drill above I would have learned this calmly at the dock
. Instead I learn it scraping my middle finger.
Belt went on but with a freaking twist. Luckily (and by the way that is CF-built luck
) I knew how to turn my engine over by hand which cleared the belt twist.
Started up and moving. Nav check, shipfinder check, back in secondary channel. Normops. Breathe.
What went well?
Beta Marine phone
call a year+ back "give me every spare part you have even ones no one ever orders".
advice from 3 expert reps over two phone
calls to make the full list. Add in items that don't wear but are removable and low cost.
Upgraded to a 20 year old rubber mallet ($5USD) from a garage sale
and had thrown out the Home Cheapo model ($11.68 USD). This banged the alternator
into position both ways.
- change every wear part on your engine upon purchase
. Every part.
- seat your paid mechanic
"coach" in a padded chair with a PBR. Use your tools and your hands for the part changes
- stock adequate spares
- know EXACTLY where they are; ideally spares bin is in eyeshot from helm
- relocate the sea anchor
from under the vberth to the anchor locker
(30 second deployment standard)
- permanently mount sea anchor
line (30 second deployment standard)
- tool bag (frequent use tools in riggers bag) was moved to arms reach of engine compartment. Parts bin should go nearby also. Access to parts and tools is obviously more important than convenient beverage storage
Pyrate- I know people could look at a failed belt like they look at the Irish engine cutout. Oh, Wasn't it Unavoidable yet unfortunate. Oh, things almost went right. Oh, he tried hard. Pity doesn't make me a safer mariner. In hindsight, I look at my incident as fully preventable for those who take learning
to heart and build the discipline. I went to sea on a belt of unknown service history
and therefore unknown service
life. I went to sea with book-learning-only on changing a belt. I earned enough "luck" to return to shore and increased my skills under pressure. I'm earning more luck with my comments here. I'll be better next time out as will others who have shared their lessons with me.
Most useful all I have a small scar on my left middle finger to remind me of these lessons. Whether or not we want to learn, we can count upon the sea to keep teaching.