04/07/2011, La Cruz Marina
OK, here is the latest departure time table. The weather has shaped up for us getting out of here on Saturday. Yes, that's right--in under 48 hours we will have the sails up and the wind in our hair.
We're trying to set ourselves up with a weather router since the conditions are so strange out there for this time of year. Storms or calm are not the normal for where we are going. It's supposed to be nice winds out of the northeast and wave of the same but no, not for us. Instead it's winds out of the Northwest and waves out of the Southwest--right at the head of the boat. Not necessarily a fun ride, but at least we will be on our way.
Our friends on Gigi that left almost two weeks ago(when we were supposed to go) have had winds so light that they think it will be a total voyage of 30 days instead of the normal 25 to get to the Marquesas. We expect winds up to 25 knots and a faster trip(if we are lucky). Guess tie will tell.
So fixes are getting done and one last round of a trip to Costco to replace what we have eaten in the last two weeks and we should be all ready to get out of here.
I'll let you know tomorrow if anything changes.
04/03/2011, La Cruz Marina
Well, we made it to Punta de Mita, about 8 miles west of here yesterday afternoon and dropped the anchor in a bit of wind. All was well though a bit rollie as Zephyr rolled from side to side in the swell. The wind was 90 degrees off the swell so what was to be was to be. Rolling rolling and more rolling through the night.
For the last few days, I've smell a faint whiff of diesel when I go below decks. I pulled up the floor boards and the top of the tanks were covered in fuel!!! Yuck!! I'd installed new seals when we were in Paradise Village but the tanks were only about half full. Now, with them full, the sloshing did it's job and the new seals were not going to keep the fuel where it belonged--in the tank. With that being said, we had little choice other than to up the anchor and head back to the marina since we needed a calm environment to take the lids off and redo the seals. With the tanks full, opening the tops could have made the mess even bigger.
The first time I installed the seals, I used a new neoprene gasket and added some liquid gasket material from Permatex. I guess I didn't use enough since they leaked. Once off, I scraped off the old material and added a new, bigger layer of the stuff from Permatex and reinstalled the inspection plates. Now we will have to see what happens. I think we will try and rock Zephyr back and forth so see if we can make her leak tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'm off the the new Auto Zone to see if I can find more liquid seal stuff to keep on board as I used everything I had here. Gee, boating sure is fun......
I think we may set a new record for most times leaving the dock to do the Puddle Jump. This next time, we will not be stopping at Punta de Mita. We will set the sails in what ever wind there is available(no wind is in the forecast for as far out as the weather folks are forecasting) and go. I don't really want to use the engine unless there is no choice.
Stay tuned for more of our odyssey. We'll get out of here yet!!!!
04/01/2011, La Cruz Marina, La Cruz,Mexico
All the work is done and the Zephyr is now FULL of not only food and water but diesel also. We have our Zarpe(exit documents) and are preparing to pull in the dock lines tomorrow morning and head out to Punta de Mita(about 8 miles west of here) for a day or three to await an improvement in the winds and weather. As of now, the winds are out of the west as are the waves. Not the best to head West.
Stay tuned tomorrow night to an update. We'll let you know how it goes on our first night on the hook in many months.
Here's a picture of the bad "off" switch.
Butch, the mechanic, spent the better part of the first day playing detective in our engine room going through each and every and I do mean every system that supplies fuel to Zephyrs engine. A different tank to make sure the fuel was good. New lines to make sure the old were not blocked. The list goes on and on. After about 5 hours, it was finally narrowed down the the small electric fuel pump used to help bleed the air out of the system. It was putting more air in the system than taking it out. Butch showed up Tuesday morning and went straight to work putting in a more sophisticated fuel line system. As you can see from the photo at the top, it looks a bit Rube Goldberg, but take my word for it, it's the cat's meow for making sure we get fuel to the engine. The new electric fuel pump can even fuel the engine should the main fuel pump fail plus it is strong enough that I will no longer have to fill the fuel filters before installing them on the engine.
With that being said, we ran the engine for an hour the day Butch left and it ran just fine. We just got back from Nuevo Vallarta and it did just fine getting us back and forth the 12 mile distance.
Unfortunately, the "off" switch on the engine has now decided to malfunction. Not a big deal as all we have to do to stop the engine is to open the door to engine room and throw a switch. The normal one that does it is electric so makes it handy to be able to shut off the engine from the steering wheel. I took off the wires and cleaned them and added my copper based grease to the contact and still it didn't work. We did see that the small rubber bellows that goes over part of the switch had finally come apart after all these years but though nothing of it. A call to Butch and voila--the answer. With the torn bellows, the arm that moves forward and backward to shut off the engine travels too far on the back stroke and locks in that position so it won't go forward when the button is pushed. Now we have to figure out a way to solve the problem. Shouldn't be too hard. A small line tied on it to restrict its movement and it should work just fine.
03/27/2011, La Cruz marina
Butch showed up about 0800 and I sat down with him and explained the problem and it's symptoms as well as what I had done on Saturday to try and fix it. In he went tools in hand. Now Butch is about 6 foot 5 inches tall so most engine rooms are a bit tight for him. Ours was a cinch. Big and airy. He disconnected and re connected and started the engine. It ran for about 8 minutes and shut down just like it did on Friday. Back in again. We did this several times, each time the engine dying about 8 minutes later. I won't boor you with all the things he did but we found that the washers--yes that's right, the washers under the bleeding screws on top of the secondary filters were defective. They are supposed to help seal the bolts once they get tightened. Instead, they leaked, not only air but also allowed air into the system. I just happened to be looking across the engine with a flashlight and saw some bubbling by the screws. Out came the screws and on with new washers and that part was fixed. But as expected, the engine still didn't work right.
After more exploring, it finally came down to the small electric pump that we use to bleed the air out of the fuel lines. Instead, a seal had broken somewhere on it and it allowed air into the system. So, Butch disconnected it from the fuel loop and once the engine started, she ran really well.
Tomorrow, Butch will be returning with a new pump and will plumb it in where it belongs. For some reason, it was after the first filter instead of before it. Now it will be put in where it belongs, before the primary filter so it can do its job properly. We let the engine run for a good 50 minutes in gear at the dock to put some stress on it and she ran just fine. Once the new electric back up fuel pump is on, we will run it again for several hours at the dock to make sure it works as it should.
With that being said, our new cast off date is Wednesday. The weather window is good for that day(at least that is what the forecasters think). We will fill up the water tanks tomorrow and get more things stowed safely so that by Wednesday, we will be ready to cast off.
Say a prayer for us that tomorrow works out. We are both chomping at the bit to get out of here and see new sights.
The picture is of the electric fuel pump that caused our problem. Tomorrow, out it comes.