Swingin' on a Star

Ship's log for the circumnavigating Saint Francis 50 catamaran, "Swingin on a Star".

01 April 2010 | Palau
13 July 2009 | Palau
05 July 2009 | Yacht Harbor
03 July 2009 | Peleliu
02 July 2009 | Palau
01 July 2009 | Two Dog Beach
30 June 2009 | Mecharchar
29 June 2009 | Mecharchar
28 June 2009 | Ulong
27 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
17 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
16 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
15 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
14 June 2009 | Ngeruktabel
13 June 2009 | Ngerutable
25 May 2009 | Yacht Harbor
30 April 2009 | Malakal
29 April 2009 | Koror
28 April 2009 | Malakal
27 April 2009 | Malakal


07 January 2008 | Mount Irvine
We woke up to the sound of crashing surf and hooting surfers. The point was really breaking and we discovered that the surfers had been at it since before sun up. Michael on Andromeda was out and dropped a board off for me on the way. I never ended up getting to it, which may have been the healthier outcome.

Instead Stian, Bethn and I did a dive deeper out on the reef. Due to the surge the visibility was not good but the deeper part of the reef closer to the point was even nicer than the shallow area we explored yesterday. The sand bottom is at about 60 feet and the reef rolls gently up from there. We swam out along the bottom of the reef and then came back up a bit higher. Using our compasses Stian and I were able to get us back to Swingin' on a Star's anchor chain which allowed us to surface right at the stern of the boat. That's always nice.

Back at the boat I hooked up the tanks and got ready to fire up the genset, click. Hmmm. Click. Arg.

So off into the lazarette I went. I removed the side sound shield so that I could easily access the starter. It is tricky to hold down the preheat, which keeps the engine from shutting off due to low oil pressure, while things are starting up. When you press the start switch the engine shakes violently. Not this time though. Ok so it wasn't the wiring to the panel at the nav station. In fact everything sounded right, even the lift pump was clicking, just no starter motor to smash things up and make fire.

I checked Peter Compton's Troubleshooting Marine Diesels next. This book has a great branching question graph that helps you narrow down problems areas. This book is geared more toward auxiliary motors rather than gensets and wiring damage was the best diagnosis I could get. Didn't seem likely. Next I went for the heavy artillery, Nigel Calder's Marine Diesel Engines. This book doesn't spoon feed things quite so much (and I like the spoon feeding) but it does have more detail and information. Nigel suggested I try shorting the solenoid incase it was dead.

Back in the lazarette I notice the solenoid is cracked. It is shaped like a cylinder and the round bottom area looks to be popped open a bit with a 360 degree crack in the nice red Westerbeke paint. Hmm, suspicious. So I got out my nice steel screw driver with the very large rubber handle and chipped away enough paint from the high current contacts to make a connection. Here goes nothing... ZAP! Rurrr rurr, runk. I had shorted the terminals just long enough to freak myself out and almost start the engine. The sparks and jolting engine were a bit too much for me to maintain composure.

Next try I decided to hold down the preheat. After a short pop with the screw driver she was up and running. I hate solenoids. I climbed up from the lazarette to find Stian smiling, "First try scared you?" I twitched and added "buy new solenoid for 8BTDA" to my growing parts list.

After the SCUBA tanks were full Hideko made us a nice lunch and we prepped the boat to sail back to Pigeon Point. Once the hook was onboard we raised the main and pulled out the genny. The wind was light just behind the beam yet we managed about 10 knots in 12 to 15 knots of wind. We could not steer any further down wind and needed to clear the reef anyway so we jibbed once we could lay the anchorage on the port tack. It was nice to have Stian aboard. With Hideko Stian and I all working the sail operations (particularly jibbing) certainly ran faster. We cleared the last reef marker and charged into the back of the anchorage under sail. In one smooth operation we furled the jib, hung a 90 degree left turn, dropped the main and anchored.

It was only an hour but it was a great sail. I am glad we have a sail boat.
Vessel Name: Swingin on a Star
Vessel Make/Model: Saint Francis 50
Hailing Port: Las Vegas, NV
Crew: Randy & Hideko Abernethy
About: Randy, Hideko and Roq
Home Page: http://swinginonastar.com
Swingin on a Star's Photos - Swingin on a Star (Main)
Selected photos of Swingin' on a Star at anchor.
7 Photos
Created 18 September 2007
31 Photos
Created 15 September 2007
copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Randy & Hideko Abernethy, all rights reserved