Madcap Sailing

31 December 2018 | Gold River Marina, Nova Scotia, Canada
06 August 2018 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
26 May 2018 | Gold River Marina, Gold River, NS
18 May 2018 | Gold River Marina, Gold River, NS
24 March 2018 | boat in Gold River, NS and crew in Halifax
22 May 2017 | Whittaker Creek, Oriental, NC
15 May 2017 | Boat in Oriental, crew in New Orleans and Nova Scotia
26 April 2017 | Oriental, NC
26 April 2017 | Oriental, NC
20 April 2017 | Ocean Isle Marina, Ocean Beach, NC at Mile 335.6
17 April 2017 | Dewees Creek, near Charleston, NC
14 April 2017 | St Simons Island
12 April 2017 | Fernandina Beach, FL
11 April 2017 | St Augustine, FL
07 April 2017 | Vero Beach, Florida
03 April 2017 | Ft Pierce, FL
30 March 2017 | Ft Pierce, Florida

On Our Way ... Again

07 April 2017 | Vero Beach, Florida
Beth / 33 dropping to 23

We splashed on Tuesday evening. We set off on Wednesday morning - into a beautiful sunrise, with plans to make it to Cocoa Beach, about 67 statute miles up the ICW (Intra Coastal Waterway.) We made it as far as Vero Beach, a full 7.5 statute miles.

The first thing we noticed was that the engine did not appear to be charging the battery - bad news since we depend on the engine, supported by the solar panel and wind generator to keep our house batteries topped up - to run the fridge, VHF radio, lights, GPS, autopilot, all the electronics on the boat. So, we considered that perhaps we should stop in Vero Beach where there is good access to marine services. Or, maybe we could keep going to Melbourne.

And then, almost simultaneously, the engine overheating alarm started blaring, and we noticed a strong smell of burning rubber. I pulled off to the edge of the channel; Jim dropped the anchor and we quickly turned the engine off. Next step, Jim opened up the engine compartment - the alternator belt was hanging loose and delaminated. When that broke, it meant the sea water wasn't cooling the engine - hence the alarm - and the smell.

Jim replaced the belt and we continued cautiously on our way - discovering in the process, that the engine would start only when the house and starting batteries were combined. It was clear that our destination had to be Vero Beach. ($15 per night, lovely clean washrooms and showers, cruisers lounge, laundry, free bus to town and the beach.) We picked up mooring #5 in the south anchorage, and went ashore. The marina office gave us a card for Atlantic Mobile Marine and when Jim talked with Larry, he said he would be here on Thursday morning.

The phone rang on Thursday morning and Larry said he couldn't make it - he was involved in another job and would try for the afternoon. As it turned out, that was just as well because we had a tornado warning and one heck of an electrical storm - 1 1/2 hours of thunder and lightning and torrential rains - not the kind of weather for working on our boat. We were quite happy to have two boats with taller masts rafted with us - (interestingly, both from Trident Yacht Club in Gananoque, Ontario - our old club. Penelope and On Y Va had just come across from the Bahamas.) The tornado passed south of us, the skies cleared and we waited. Afternoon came and went with no sign of a mechanic. Jim called and Larry promised to have someone here Friday morning. We dined on a nice chicken stir-fry, read our books, reminded ourselves that we are warm, comfy and not really on a schedule, and went to bed.

Sure enough, at 8:45 on Friday morning, Danny called to say he would be at the dock in 10 minutes.

Now, an alert - If you like technical information, you might find the next bit interesting; if not, your eyes will glaze over. If you are really technical, you might say, "What IS she talking about?" Because despite the best encouragement from Cap'n Jim to get this right, I may well have mangled some of the terms and descriptions.

Danny first established that the alternator was pumping out lots of amps. Hmmm, then what could be the problem? Aha - the starting battery was dead, and that was probably what was draining the amps. Jim was "in awe" that Danny managed to extricate that battery as efficiently as he did. It was barely visible and located behind the four heavy house bank batteries that are bolted into place and would be a major undertaking to remove. In Jim's words, " It was like pulling thread through the eye of a needle while blindfolded." Into the dinghy they went, off to the dock and Danny drove away to find a replacement. Within half an hour, the phone rang again - "I've got a new battery!" Into the dinghy, off to the dock, and back again. (It's not quite like getting out of your truck and walking to the job location!) But once that was installed, Danny discovered that the alternator was working overtime - within seconds, the reading at the new starting battery climbed from 12.7 volts to 17 volts - way too high, and was likely what killed the last one. Jim quickly turned off the engine lest we destroy another battery, as Danny told him we were fortunate that the first battery died a quiet death - it could have exploded. (Yep - we are fortunate indeed.)

Next step - what was going on with the Balmar regulator, the device that controls the output of the alternator? All the readouts were normal but there had to be something strange going on there. Danny called Balmar, got a real person on the line and between them, they spent 20 minutes puzzling out the problem. As they talked, Danny noticed that the under-voltage light on our automatic battery bank combiner was illuminated which incorrectly signalled to the regulator that it should be sending more energy to the starting battery. Hence, the alarmingly high voltage readouts. Next step? Danny and the Balmar technician decided to isolate the battery combiner and remove it from the system. And with that done - yippee do dah- everything worked as it should. Just for good measure, Danny also removed the accumulated rust from the alternator pulley - to minimize the possibility of another broken belt.

So the initial problem turned into three (no apparent charge in the battery, dead battery, broken alternator belt that caused overheating) and three hours later they were all solved.

Thanks to Cap'n Jim for the details of this story, because I was staying well out of the way. And thanks to Danny from Atlantic Mobile Marine Service ( 772-913-1686) one of the best electricians we have dealt with.

After lunch, we decided we should have more than one spare alternator belt - just in case. As we waited for the free bus to town, Marilyn and Vic (Whisper) with Cindy (Dark Star) pulled up in their rental car and said, "Hop in!" So we did, and we not only got the belt, but had a very entertaining trip to the mall. So thanks to them for the ride and the fun!

A walk to the beach, delicious shrimp skewers at the Red Onion Eatery, and we are ready to set off again in the morning. I wonder how far we will get this time?
Vessel Name: Madcap
Vessel Make/Model: Bayfield 36
Hailing Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Crew: James D Bissell (Jim) and Elizabeth Lusby (Beth)
About: Beth and Jim have spent several winters sailing southern waters on s/v Madcap. They love Halifax in the summer, but loved to spend the winters exploring warmer places - the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras.
The Madcap crew left Ottawa in 2007 to go sailing in the Bahamas. After a highly successful year, they returned to Canada, settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in the fall of 2009 they left to do it again! Journey #3 (2010/11) took them back to the Bahamas and then on to Cuba for several weeks [...]
Madcap's Photos - Mad Cap Sailing (Main)
19 Photos
Created 15 May 2017
20 Photos
Created 20 April 2017
62 Photos
Created 30 March 2017
11 Photos
Created 6 April 2016
13 Photos
Created 6 April 2016
5 Photos
Created 6 April 2016
6 Photos
Created 9 March 2016
11 Photos
Created 9 March 2016
23 Photos
Created 25 February 2016
18 Photos
Created 21 February 2016
31 Photos
Created 20 February 2016
4 Photos
Created 20 February 2016
20 Photos
Created 19 February 2016
7 Photos
Created 9 February 2016
51 Photos
Created 24 November 2015
12 Photos
Created 28 October 2015
16 Photos
Created 9 October 2015
24 Photos
Created 3 December 2013
our Oct/Nov 2013 trip to New Zealand
36 Photos
Created 22 November 2013
9 Photos
Created 20 January 2013
Guatemala pics starting Nov 22, 2012
43 Photos
Created 6 December 2012
54 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 8 November 2012
trip to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park (via Las Vegas)
23 Photos
Created 4 November 2012
20 Photos
Created 1 November 2012
18 Photos
Created 12 February 2012
43 Photos
Created 29 January 2012
62 Photos
Created 19 May 2011
21 Photos
Created 19 May 2011
76 Photos
Created 19 May 2011
8 Photos
Created 19 May 2011