Lost Engine 100nm from La Paz
31 March 2011 | but the fire was pot out easily
The need to add transmission fluid went form every 8 hours to 2 hours and without a doubt we didn't have enough lubricants of any and all kinds to last us until we reached La Paz. The decision was made to turn off the engine and start sailing so that we could save our 3 gallons of lubricant (notice I didn't say ATF transmission fluid) for when we got closer to La Paz. After cleaning off the transmission so that I could spot the mystery leak, we tried firing up the engine and that's when our situation got more exciting. The starter flashed into flames and a ball of smoke. We have fire extinguishers spread all through the boat so within 3 seconds I had the closest one in my hands as was spraying towards the base of the fireball. By this time the crew knew there was a fire (they were all out in the cock pit) and were watching smoke and fire extinguisher dust pour from the companion way hatch, but in less than 30 seconds, it was over.
The fire may be over, but our ordeal, I mean adventure, is just beginning. Without an engine we are now officially a sailboat and have started our tack almost straight up the Sea of Cortez and away form our destination of La Paz. We are still about 100nm from La Paz so what our expected arrival late tomorrow afternoon is now pretty much wind dependant as we tack right into the wind towards La Paz. We plan to use our 15Hp outboard and dingy to get us into the La Paz estuary and safely to anchor, but the next 100nm will most likely be the longest we have had since casting off.
No one is really worried or even panicked honestly. We are far enough from shore that there is currently no chance of hitting anything hard, but the stress will most definitely increase as we near La Paz and the rocks of shore. When that will be we now have no idea.