Sorry for the slow updates... Engine problems cut season short
11 October 2016 | Marina Taina, Tahiti
Well, first let me say that we have certainly neglected our blog of late. We started working on transitioning the blog to a Wordpress format and frankly have just been to busy having fun to work on it. We hope to get it done during the off season (cyclone season here in Polynesia) starting in November.
We have several back posts to catch up on and promise we'll do so. But, we are back in Marina Taina a month earlier than planned because of engine issues with North Star. When motoring out the pass of Bora Bora on the way to Raiatea Kim noticed some smoke in the engine room. We tightened up a few things and checked around and thought that maybe a the valve cover needed snugging and did so. We thought we had it, but weren't even close. We then noticed a crack in our exhaust manifold where where one of the 4 screws hold the back of it together. Well, JB Weld to the rescue and we thought we at least had a good enough patch to make it back to Moorea to spend the final month of the season, but it was not to be.
We waited for a perfect wx forecast to work our way back to the southeast, generally against wind and waves in Polynesia. We got a forecast for a mild reversal and should have had a beam reach and been able to make it on a single tack with at least 15 knots of wind the whole way. Well, when left Raiatea it was blowing 25 knots in the right direction with 2 meter seas and it was very sloppy and confused out there. Not a very pleasant ride at all and I don't say that very often. The admiral wasn't pleased to say the least.
Then the forecast wind shift never came around and we found ourselves getting shoved farther from the rhumbline although the boat speed was good. Then about 8 hours out it was like someone turned off the switch. The wind dropped to less than 2 knots from any and many directions. Although the sea was still riled up and uncomfortable. So, we found ourselves needing to do the one thing we didn't want to do....motor.
I told Kim we could just drift around a few days till the trades filled back in and then sail to Moorea... but that got promptly overruled. So motor we did. I was checking our repair every hour and it held, but I then discovered 2 new cracks on 2 of the remaining 3 bolts that hold this thing together. We never ran the engine above 1200 RPMS which gave us a very slow boat speed and about 6-7 hours of motoring.
Seeing how things were deteriorating I decided we needed to just head back to Tahiti and see if we could get these problems wrapped up before we had to leave in November. So we have been in Marina Taina now in North Star's slip where she will spend a hopefully uneventful cyclone season.
So, we are doing a major refit on North Star's exhaust and cooling system. We have pulled the header tank, heat exchanger and exhaust manifold and in the process, we hope, of upgrading everything. We have lots to tell you about the upgrade and lots of pictures to share, but that will be the next post.