Fuel problems on the way to Block Island
10 July 2016
I left on Saturday at 0600. No wind, and the forecast was not encouraging. Light winds from the S or SW. I started motorsailing with the main up, in light drizzle and mist. Visibility may be 3 miles. Later the wind picked up a bit, from the SE. A swell from the NE and a wind chop from the SE. Not comfortable, but I set all sails and turned the engine off. That lasted exactly 30 minutes and then the wind died. Engine back on. Still a nasty combination of swell and wind(?)chop from different directions.
At 1400 I checked the Racor filter and discovered that the bowl had filled with sediment. I switched to the other filter (I have dual Racor filters) and drained the bowl. It was filled with a very fine light brown colored sediment. Nothing like I have seen before. Normally dirty fuel consists of black slime. This was totally different. I believe I must have picked up a dirty batch of fuel in Baltimore. When I turned the primer pump on to refill the bowl with fresh fuel I saw that it was cloudy. I started checking the filters every hour and drained the bowls every few hours. I did not see a major change in the vacuum gauge so the paper filters seem to let enough fuel through for the engine to run normally. Nevertheless I changed filters a few times. Fortunately I have a ample supply of these filters on board.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, though boring. In the end I could hardly keep my eyes open. I anchored in Block Island at 1630 on Sunday 7/10. Almost 35 hours under power. Not my idea of the perfect sailing trip.