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The John Deere Saga
Sun Jul 24 10:02:00 EDT 2011, Cartwright, Labrador, Canada

(Long, technical)

Two weeks ago, as we sailed into Cartwright Harbor (pictured). A few hundred metres away from the dock, we started lowering sails and prepared to start the engine to motor onto the dock. The engine oil level was unexpectedly high. The oil was black, so I figured the fuel pump had leaked fuel into the crankcase, as I saw no signs of water. We started the engine and motored onto the dock.

After shutting down the motor, the oil was checked again, and now it looked like a chocolate milkshake, a sure indication that water was mixed into the oil. The oil was changed and the filter washed out with fuel. I'd bought a dozen "compatible" oil filters at the auto parts store in Rimouski a month ago and hadn't used any of them yet, so hadn't yet realized that none of thembe fit the engine. So, I needed to find the source of the water getting into the fuel and change the oil and filter enough times to clear all the water out (when water mixed with antifreeze mixes with the oil, the antifreeze prevents the oil from lubricating the bearings and it soon destroys the engine if the engine is continued to be run). No suitable oil filters were available in Cartwright.

The engine in Issuma is made by John Deere, but marinized (mostly this means adding a heat exchanger and a seawater pump so seawater cools the antifreeze/water that the engine is cooled with) by Baudouin. As Baudouin is in France, with only one dealer in Canada (in Montreal), versus John Deere being the real manufacturer of the engine and having many dealers all over the place, including Newfoundland, I figured they would be the best place to have a new oil cooler and head gasket (the two possible ways for the engine water/antifreeze to get into the oil) sent from.

I called up the John Deere dealer from the payphone in the store (no cellular service here) and ordered the parts. The John Deere dealer needed the serial number of the engine to get the correct oil cooler. Unfortunately, when Baudouin marinized the engine, they REMOVED the serial number plate from the engine, putting their own serial number plate in its place. I had a service manual for the engine, which said there were three possible oil coolers, and had pictures of each type. I emailed a copy of the relevant page of the service manual to the John Deere dealer, and he thought he could get the right one based on that.

The oil filters took six days to arrive, as the dealer thought they would be best shipped to Goose Bay by air and then transferred to something else to get to Cartwright. After a few days, everyone in Cartwright knew we were at the dock, waiting for parts, and people helped us out. Blair Gillis and Innu Mikkun airlines got the parts and put them on a charter flight that was going to Cartwright. Then I was able to change the oil and filter several times and determine that the problem was the oil cooler.

The oil cooler, which had to be sent from Ontario, arrived after several more days. Unfortunately, it was not the same type as the old one, so didn't fit. Knowing there was a machine shop in Goose Bay (a 5 hour drive), I hitchhiked to Goose Bay, got a part modified at the machine shop the next day, and hitchhiked back. Several more hours of installing the oil cooler and replacing hoses (they needed to change size to work with the new oil cooler) and the engine was running properly.

Tue Jul 26 4:26:38 EDT 2011 | george ray
Great Work!!
Tue Jul 26 11:01:33 EDT 2011 | yann
where is this oil cooler? I don't remember there was any
have a nice trip to Greenland
Tue Jul 26 11:22:15 EDT 2011 | Amos
Oh, trials and tribulations. Great job of persistance and adaptation! Off to Greenland!
Tue Jul 26 11:22:27 EDT 2011 | Amos
Oh, trials and tribulations. Great job of persistance and adaptation! Off to Greenland!
Wed Aug 3 8:45:19 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Thanks all, it was great to finally get the motor working.
Mon Jul 18 19:56:47 EDT 2011, Cartwright, Labrador, Canada

When the inner jib stay came down, part of the roller reefing broke. While I might be able to fix the roller reefing gear, I have one more of these units aboard controlling the yankee jib (outer jib), which I'm more interested in keeping spare parts for than I am in using for this sail. This sail, the inner jib (or trinquette or fore-staysail) rarely gets reefed--it is either set fully or furled (when it gets windy, I am using the storm jib). So I decided to convert it to a hanked-on sail.

In the picture, Jordan is sewing webbing into the sail to hold shackles, which we are using as hanks (can't buy hanks here) to attach the sail to the stay. The webbing was cut from spare sail ties, and, for strength, it is both sewed and glued (with '5200' polyurethane adhesive sealant) in place.

Sun Jul 17 19:52:20 EDT 2011, Labrador Sea

We left Black Tickle on a quiet morning, motoring out of the still harbor and
away from the coast until the wind picked up enough to sail. The piece of ice in the photo was fairly close to the shore.

I'd been paying a lot of attention to the weather forecasts. Computer programs made their guesses, the National Weather Service made their guesses, Environment Canada made their guesses, and I looked at all these and made my guesses. We were all wrong :).

What was expected to be a brisk reaching wind turned into a mere slog dead to windward in F4-6 seas for a little over a day. We dodged several growlers and bergy bits in the intermittent rain and fog. The forecasts had now changed to be another day of headwinds to 30 knots. We were sailing against the south-flowing Labrador current, and progress was slow when, during a gybe, the inner jib (trinquette) refused to come across.

A quick check up forward showed the stay was no longer attached to the mast. We got the other sails down so we would be heading downwind, and then brought the stay and sail (it was a roller-reefed sail) onto the deck. It seemed that the cotter pin that holds the clevis pin that holds the stay (wire) in place had sheared off. We got the sail off and cleaned up the deck, then changed course and sailed and motorsailed towards Cartwright, which was only about 130 miles back from where we were.

As we got closer to the coast, the wind became quite favorable, the sun came out and we had a pleasant sail to within a few hundred metres of the dock. There we went to start the engine to motor onto the dock, and that began the John Deere Saga, which is the topic of another post.

Mon Jul 18 6:20:40 EDT 2011 | george ray
Glad everyone survived the excitement. Let me know if there is any rare thing you need that I can find and ship north for you.
Mon Jul 18 7:36:53 EDT 2011 | yann
Cartwright again, one year later :(
is there anything wrong between Issuma and the Labrador sea?
I hope you have left again
Mon Jul 18 15:41:32 EDT 2011 | Amos

Persevere!! Don't let some Labradorian water-witch hex get you down!! :D

Any idea how long before you return to this side of the pond?
Mon Jul 18 19:42:58 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, George, Yann and Amos.

I'm still in Cartwright, and hope to finish the engine story very soon.

Thanks very much for the offer to ship parts, shipping to here is the really difficult part of that, but thanks anyway.
Wed Jul 20 9:28:31 EDT 2011 | Amos
I look forward to hearing the Tale of the John Deere in your next Deere, John letter!
Black Tickle
Fri Jul 15 18:47:42 EDT 2011, Black Tickle, Labrador

The harbor of Black Tickle. Issuma's masts are visible to the left of the red fishing boat. A melting iceberg is in the background.

We spent a pleasant day in Black Tickle, resting, looking around, talking to people, and refilling the airtime on the satellite phone (this actually took most of the day). Black Tickle has a population of about 200 people, a crab processing plant and several fishing boats that operate out of the harbor. There are no roads to the island Black Tickle is located on...the ferry comes weekly.

From Black Tickle, we sailed north northeast.

Fri Jul 15 19:26:46 EDT 2011 | george ray
How are you treated and charged $$ when it comes to dock or bulkhead space in these rather remote ports? Is it $1.50 to $2.00 a foot a night?
.... map is working !!!
Sat Jul 16 17:42:51 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Well, people in Labrador are extremely friendly and helpful to everyone, so we are treated very well.

Most towns in Canada have public docks, where any boat that can fit can tie up (generally for free) for up to 72 hours or so. The public docks are not floating, and have no services (ie electricity/water/showers), but provide great short-term docking facilities in places that don't have enough transient traffic to justify marinas. The public docks are aimed mostly at commercial traffic, so have black rubbing strips or large tires for boats to lie against, which aren't compatible with all sailboats.

In places where there are marinas, the rate tends to be about $1.50-$2.00/foot/night (oddly enough, they charge by the linear foot, not by the metre).
Sun Jul 17 11:49:18 EDT 2011 | yann
have a nice trip to Greenland, forecast seem windy, but correct direction!
Sun Jul 17 18:28:48 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Thanks, Yann. I'm about a week behind on the blog, so the strong winds aren't affecting me. Will have more posted soon.
Thu Jul 14 20:14:33 EDT 2011, near Black Tickle, Labrador

Thu Jul 14 21:11:40 EDT 2011 | george ray
Map shows you near mouth of Thames River UK
but.... when clicked on the text says=>
Thu Jul 14 20:14:33 CDT 2011
53 30'N;55 20'W:
near Black Tickle, Labrador
Whale Tail
Tue Jul 12 18:37:04 EDT 2011, near Battle Harbor, Labrador, Canada

Despite the whales still not being all that cooperative about posing for pictures, there have been a lot of them, and they are really nice to see.

Wed Jul 13 12:17:28 EDT 2011 | Amos
A sweet moment, every time. The notion of these great creatures cruising the maine byways in deep water, going about their lives intheir whaley ways, is a wonder.
Old Rudder
Mon Jul 11 19:34:20 EDT 2011, Henley Harbor, Labrador, Canada

Old rudder, sitting against a rock at Henley Harbor.

Mon Jul 11 21:38:42 EDT 2011 | george ray
What is the type of wood you see mostly in these old items, rudder and buildings, oak, pine, spruce, fir ... ?
map shows you about 100 miles east of Isle of Wight . . .
Tue Jul 12 7:39:04 EDT 2011 | brian
I think the real plan is to invade Great Britain.
Tue Jul 12 12:04:49 EDT 2011 | Amos
Or at least seriously disorient it so it thinks it is Labrador...
Tue Jul 12 18:31:26 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Perhaps the map position is a message from the heavens saying I should be sailing east...

George, I didn't take a close look at any of the wood to notice what kind it was. Likely local softwood, I think. Brian, do you know?
Wed Jul 13 9:25:02 EDT 2011 | brian
Not a clue on the wood, guess would be birch, it is considered hard wood up these parts.
Nicely compositioned photo though.
Outhouse at the End of the Earth
Mon Jul 11 10:00:00 EDT 2011, Henley Harbor, Labrador, Canada

Black Bear
Sun Jul 10 20:06:10 EDT 2011, Henley Harbor, Labrador, Canada

While we were anchored, sitting out some headwinds, this black bear was wandering around, looking for fish, I think.

Tue Jul 12 7:35:59 EDT 2011 | brian
Three b bears shot around Nain in last two weeks. Not the ideal solution IMO but no other way of dealing with them unfortunately.
Thu Jul 14 18:50:38 EDT 2011 | Richard Hudson
Yes, that is too bad the bears had to be shot, but better that than someone getting mauled by one.
Milner Tickle
Sat Jul 9 22:55:24 EDT 2011, Chateau Bay, Labrador

Right next to Henley Harbor is Milner Tickle, which is the narrow body of water (which is what a "tickle" is in Labrador) is in the picture. We passed here on our way to anchor near Henley Harbor.

Sun Jul 10 10:07:14 EDT 2011 | terry
current/position seems to be working ... your apx 200 miles south of Battle Habor

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