Matecumbe Bight to Boot Key Harbor, Marathon
05 April 2013 | On a mooring ball in Boot Key Harbor
John/warm with intermittent showers
Down in the dumps on Jascat, John working on the starboard fuel tank
Yesterday, after a great sail from Matecumbe Bight we motored into Boot Key Harbor in the afternoon, and the engine promptly died. But more about that later. The reason we came into Boot Key was that the weather forecast was predicting rain and high winds to set in that night and carry through the next day. Sure enough, about 2am the heavens burst loose with thunder and lighting, and a sod soaking gully washer. The winds buffed us around some but never got up to dangerous levels. We were safe and secure on one of Boot Key's mooring balls so we got to enjoy the storm looking out the windows.
Now about that engine failure. The symptoms were exactly the same as happened two weeks ago in Angelfish Creek. After 20 minutes or so of steady motoring at cruise power, the engine died when the throttle was pulled back to idle. The engine could be induced to run again as long as the throttle was held above about half power. As before, this happened while running on the starboard fuel tank with the fuel level down to about 5/8's tank. After several nervous minutes spent drifting in a narrow channel, switching over to the port fuel tank got the engine back to running normally, allowing us to come on into the harbor and pick up a mooring ball.
So, the fuel cleaning, and the discovery and removal of a paper gasket in the starboard fuel tank a week ago didn't fix whatever the problem is. A phone consultation with Skip, the fuel tank cleaner, suggested a couple of other things to look at having to do with the fuel tank hardware, so I've spent today, between rain showers, working on the tank. Everything I can look at seems ok so I guess we are just going to have to live with the problem until we get back to Pensacola. Basically, we'll be running on just the port tank and refilling it from jerry cans when needed on longer passages.
I really hate leaving harbor with a system on the boat not working properly. Sailing safely is hard enough without having something else to worry about.