Sea trial ... heading North.
I filled the water
and diesel tanks
yesterday, left Southport, and sailed up the outside of the Stradbroke islands solo under autopilot
, ropes, sails
performed as they should. Wind
was from NNW which is unfortunately the direction I wanted to go, so the sails
were close hauled and the boat was heeling a lot. This uncovered the fact that some of the side windows are not sealed for submarine use, and the starboard fuel tank
has a leak in the top. The boat and everything in it smells like diesel
again, and the bilges are full of water
At 4pm a hose clamp on one of the hydraulic hoses used by the autopilot
and internal steering
came loose and dumped the hydraulic fluid into the bilge
. I was stuck outside Moreton island in relatively big seas with the sun going down, no wish to navigate the South Passage
bar in the dark, and no autopilot or internal steering
. I dropped the sails and started the engine
and sat outside in the cold getting showered in spray, shivering, trying to stay awake, and feeling sorry for myself all night hand steering to Mooloolaba.
In the morning I noticed that the batteries were not being charged by the alternator
, and were almost flat from the bilge
pumps, fuel pump
starter, nav lights, autopilot, and instruments. I was worried I would not be able to start the engine again if I stopped it, so had to keep it idling for about 5 hours while I drifted offshore
until the Marina office opened up and I could confirm they had a vacancy. After I was safely in the marina berth I tried starting the engine, and there was not enough left in the batteries to turn it over, so it was the right choice to keep it running as I could not have come into Mooloolaba marina under sail.
I have now put a new hose clamp on the autopilot hose, bled the system, and it should work until the next time it comes apart. I do plan to replace the hose clamps with crimped connectors that can handle the pressure, but the list is long ...
I believe the alternator
did not charge the batteries because an unlabelled and seemingly useless switch was off. I will test this theory tomorrow. Another item on my long to do list is to undo the spagetti wiring
that connects the multiple battery
banks and chargers into one big conglomerate.
I won't be able to reseal the windows here, so will have to deal with some leaks
when the boat heels until I get to a longer term marina. I suspect the fuel tank
leak is associated with a vent tube, but it is down under about 5 layers of plywood
and foam under cupboards and battery
banks and hundreds of cables
so I am now searching for a midget monkey who is expert in using a small chainsaw to confirm my suspicion. It is likely this problem will also persist until I reach a more permanent destination