Thanks for all the support and compliments. I am grateful it is working.
As for Matthew, that is a very good suggestion but it is a complcation I will probably not add. I hope I don't regret that decision. Surely, if I were designing this as a production system, your idea of a fail-safe would be excellent.
Thu 26 Apr 2012
Anchored N end of Skull Creek, SC (Hilton Head)
[photo: shrimp boat in GA]
It was an incredibly restful night after the long day we had yesterday. Diane was eager to get out of Georgia, but not exactly happy to be leaving before 0800. We got underway and had the wind from the SW at 10-15+ all day, so we would go from close-hauled to deep broad reach over and over again, with too many jibes to count. Diane was a trooper and helped with the sail trim quite a lot since our boat is not set-up well for single handing and I couldn't just leave the helm with all the narrow channels.
We were both incredibly busy for much of the day's run; we did 76 statute miles in just under 10 hours, which equates to 6.6 kts average. We again benefited from the wind almost the entire way and had the current with us much more than against us. Our highest speed was 8.5 kts, which sailors will appreciate as a great speed.
Are we happy doing 50-60 miles a day? It was not our plan, but sometimes you realize that there is nothing you want to see in an area and are better off just getting somewhere else. With the last two days of long runs, we have made up our lost time at Jekyll Island.
There were some interesting parts to the day's journey, but most of it was boring. The fact that you are winding back and forth so much is the frustrating part for us, and we understand why so many go "outside" into the ocean and bypass this section. It is no offense to the Georgian people; it is just a long stretch and too many pesky flies!
We are anchored just of the Skull Creek Marina at the northern end of Hilton Head Island. We will be here two nights, with a full day on the island tomorrow. Tonight we enjoyed another delicious, healthy meal aboard and will rest up for tomorrow.
I should report that the bypass cooling system has worked well. I did note that once we had to furl the sail and use the engine harder to fight the current for the last 20 minutes, the engine temperature rose from its 165F nominal to almost 175F. That is perfectly acceptable, but it shows that the cooling is marginal and I need to bear that in mind.
Wed 25 Apr 2012
Anchored in Cattle Pen Creek, GA
Wow, what a day it was! With the courtesy car taken, one of the staff, Randy, offered me a lift to meet Diane at Edie's house where she had just filled the tank and put the car back into the garage. As Diane straightened up after 4 days in one place, I filled the water tanks and washed much of the salt off the boat that had accumulated from the high winds and waves.
We radioed the marina that we were moving to the pump-out station and started the engine (with its new bypass cooling system]. It all seemed to run as expected. I was disappointed that after paying for 4 nights at the marina, they still charged me $5 for the pump-out, but that is their rule. Other than the staff being very friendly and the location on Jekyll island being nice, I am not overly impressed with their facility.
Anyway, we got underway at 1000 and found the winds were still more NNW than SW, as forecast, so that didn't help. I also made a navigation error that cost us some time. The chief reason it happened was because I failed to bring the large paper charts with me into the cockpit. If I had consulted them, I would have seen the particular route that the waterway takes in St. Simons Sound. Lacking that, I was relying on my new Chartplotter and it doesn't show the ICW as a magenta line as is normal. It is just a black line, and there was another route indicated that I mistakenly followed. Navigation aids along the ICW all have little yellow triangles or squares, but these aids were so far from the center of the channel that I couldn't really see them. After a short while of realizing that I was not sure of my position, I check the LAT LON and asked Diane for the paper chart, where I quickly realized we need to backtrack a bit. Needless to say, I was not pleased with myself for that error.
After that, Duane thought the day was fantastic. Despite the fact that the waterway winds around a lot in this area (42 statute miles "as the crow flies" and almost 61 miles traveling the winding route through the waterway), The wind direction and strength was such that I could add anywhere from about 0.5 to 1.5 kts to motoring our speed. I had to trim the sails (Diane helped a lot, too) sometimes as often as every minute, and jibed the headsail at least 20 times, but I considered that good exercise and lots of fun.
The other thing that was amazing was that we had a strong current running with us most of the way, and the few times it was against us it was quite weak. That was all in the timing of when we got to certain areas relative to the rising and falling tides, but it would be hard to duplicate that.
We ran for 10 hours and set the anchor at 2000, just before a pretty sunset. There were no bugs, the breeze was now going light, and the anchorage we shared with three other boats was very peaceful. We stayed in the cockpit with a beverage for over an hour and then went below to sleep, thankful we had made a good run with no problems.
Tue 24 Apr 2012
Docked at Jekyll Harbor Marina, Jekyll Island, GA
[photo: bypass pump in place near the rear of the engine.]
The wind really calmed down shortly after sunset and stayed pretty mild all night for a good night's sleep. We did wake up a few times to add more blankets, however, as the temperatures plummeted. I don't have a thermometer handy but it had to be low 50s inside the boat. Even Duane reached for the long sweatpants, sweatshirt, and the foulie jacket upon waking, so you know it is cold.
Speaking with the marina staff this morning, they all said this is the worst cold snap they have had this late in spring since they can remember, so perhaps this is just a fluke and a brief "payback" for the wonderfully warm winter we all enjoyed. The forecast has daytime highs back in the 80s starting tomorrow, so we are glad for that.
As of 0800, I left a message for the mobile mechanic who stays on the boat just 50 feet from us, and I surely hope we connect soon. Plan A.1 has me looking for a gear puller so I can try to finish the job myself.
Diane strolled to the staff office a bit later and found where the mechanic was working right here on site. I went over to speak with him a half hour later and he basically told me that although it seemed that I knew what I was doing, even with the right tools, it was not remotely a simple task. He further said that if something went wrong during this "major surgery," we could be looking at a huge repair bill and losing 3-4 weeks, as he and any other local mechanics were already way too busy. Lastly, he strongly suggested I do as I had originally considered and rig a bypass pump.
Well, at this time the dock hand, Randy, showed up to tell me my camshaft had arrived. I went back to the boat disappointed, but with an open mind about the mechanic's warning. I decided then that I would reassemble all the parts I had taken off, and test the engine to be sure it was still working with no leaks or obvious problems. When that succeeded, I prepared a detailed list of all the parts I would need to jury-rig this bypass cooling circuit and headed to West Marine.
The sales person there was very helpful and cooperative, and between us we found a mix of parts that would adapt what was on the boat to the DC pump I purchased there. I also got a switch and some appropriate gauge wire. We had to drive another several miles to find a store that sold engine coolant. As the marina staff lamented earlier, this is not a good place to need boat repairs.
By 1630, we were back at the boat and Diane readied Clyde to go back to Edie's garden and enjoy a stroll. Diane was also looking forward to being off the boat and away from the mess. I got to work and was able to attach the hoses to the pump with the adapters I purchased. Next, I used crimped butt splices to extend the pump wires to the location of the new switch and an appropriate place to take off electrical power.
With everything in its temporary place and not likely to get caught in any moving machinery, I climbed into the cockpit (not easy with the engine cover and ladder missing), started the engine and tried to memorize the sound of the engine running with no cooling water in the exhaust. About 15 seconds later, I started the bypass pump and observed (and heard) water splashing out of the exhaust port. So far, so good!
Needing to see what the temperature gauge would indicate, I put the transmission in reverse and increased RPMs to put a load on the engine. About 15 minutes later, the temperature was normal and holding steady. I shut down the bypass pump first, and then shut down the engine 20 seconds later. Can't be certain yet, but it is looking like a winner.
I finished securing everything and cleaning up at 1800, just as Diane returned. We got our shower stuff and the food for the grill ready and headed to the bath house and picnic area. I got the grill going and then showered while Diane tended the stuff. Then I relieved her while she showered and went back to the boat to ready it for dinner. The grill was not nearly hot enough due to its age, condition and the still strong wind, but I was able to cook the streaks adequately. The pork tenderloin I was grilling as a future meal would have to be finished aboard the boat.
Overall, it was a good day. We really hope that this problem will remain solved until we are home and can schedule an appropriate time to do the major repair; at least we already have the part.
Mon 23 Apr 2012
Docked at Jekyll Harbor Marina, Jekyll Island, GA
[photo: Clyde and Diane enjoying a garden that is not heaving, rolling, and pitching, while wind shrieks through the rigging.
[Mike, thanks for those excellent comments. You'll be proud to know that I had considered all those items, but as you will see reading below, we are getting a new camshaft tomorrow and that is our plan.]
Just days ago we had daytime temperatures that had you seeking shade as often as possible and now we have nights with wind chill temps in the low 40s. Even Duane had to reach for his jacket as soon as he got dressed, even inside the cabin with no wind blowing. Armed with a steaming mug of coffee, there was the rather cold trek to the marina bath house. It is customary to use the shoreside facilities as much as possible when you can, and with us not able to move the boat under power, we can't easily get to the pump-out station if we fill up our holding tank.
This morning was mostly about the preparation and then execution of the engine disassembly. We discussed where various parts would be placed, and how we would handle the disruption to our normal situation, which I have to believe saved much grief on both our parts. Next, I gathered the tools and started, with Diane standing by to take dictation as to what I was removing and in what order. I was sure to take a few photos along the way in case I had trouble remembering what went where.
Within about two hours, I had carefully cleaned and removed almost all the parts and sub-assemblies needed to get the camshaft out. What I couldn't do was remove the pulley off the crankshaft, and that is required to get the entire gear case off. I then drained the oil and cleaned out all the spilled engine coolant from the engine pan. Once I had cleaned up the mess and dismissed Diane to her endeavors, I cleaned up myself and went looking for Randy, the part-time dock hand who is also a cruiser.
Randy knows a good diesel mechanic who lives here on his boat and I will be happy to engage his services to get the pulley off and supervise the camshaft replacement (assuming it arrives tomorrow). With that in and the valve clearances set, I can handle putting everything else back together. I could probably handle the entire job with a few more specialty tools, but I am willing to get professional help when needed.
Diane came back from her exile to the pool area where she had found some solace from the relentless wind and could relax without all the fuss aboard the boat. She suggested that we take Clyde over to the beautiful fenced-in yard of our new friend, Edie, and also do laundry. We packed up and drove over in Edie's car and had a most enjoyable few hours.
Dinner back at Diva Di was left-over ham from Edie's house the other night and the scalloped potatoes I made a few nights ago. It was really good, especially after a long, tiring day.
After a relaxing early morning with lots of rain overnight, it was time to tackle replacing the leaking raw water cooling pump. First, was the tedious job of cleaning up the mess that the leaking pump makes in combination with the black rubber dust that came of the new v-belt (which is now too loose and needs tightening).
Getting the pump off was easy, but what I discovered then was shocking and very disappointing. The end of the camshaft was broken. It had two tangs that drive the water pump and with those broken, we have no cooling. [For those fellow Catalina 36 owners, yes, the reinforcing sleeve was in place.] I suspect I know why it was still (marginally) working before the disassembly, but nevertheless, the camshaft will need to be replaced.
This can either be a MAJOR job entailing removal of the engine from the boat, or a semi-major job with a partial tear-down of the engine in the boat. Neither will be cheap or without a lot of disruption.
As for our cruising plans, we are not disheartened. We will have to await tomorrow to make our calls to the engine manufacturer and then see what the repair options are. It might be something I can do with my tools and skills, or it may have to be a professional diesel mechanic. We won't know until tomorrow.
I would say we would be very fortunate to have this resolved within a week, but longer would not surprise me at all. We have to be very grateful that we did not have a failure while underway that put the boat or us in peril. We are also in a very desirable location with a new friend to lean on for transportation, if needed. It may not be the greatest place to get repairs done, but it could be far worse.
Rather than brood bot our new predicament, it was time to make some phone calls to family and friends. During one conversation, I mentioned that the only thing wrong with the engine is that the camshaft can't turn the water pump; the engine itself runs just fine. Then it dawned on me that maybe all I need to do for a temporary fix is to rig an electric-driven pump that will do the same job the engine-driven pump does. I have run the idea by some others and they concur.
I still need to call the engine manufacturer Monday and get all the facts before making a decision and then setting the plan in action. If I go with plan B, it may be just 2 days before we can continue.
The day's weather proved why we are at a marina rather than at anchor, although the very blustery winds are pushing us onto the dock from the beam (side) and that makes for less than comfortable conditions. We didn't have to endure that very long, as Edie came to pick us up at 1700 for another short tour of a different part of her island and then cocktails at her house. We went to a resort restaurant just a short bit from her house where we did indeed have one of the best fish sandwiches we had ever eaten.
Back at her place, we enjoyed the company of her son, Kenny, for a while. They are leaving on an unexpected car trip to PA for a funeral of her close friend, and they graciously insisted we take her car back to the marina and gave us access to the home if we needed it for some reason. Even though there is a courtesy vehicle here at the marina, having her car will facilitate whatever errands we need to run for the next few days.
Back at the boat, the winds had not abated too much, yet it was a pleasant sleep after all.