Engine Runs 44 Hours and NO Problem HURRAY
27 April 2014 | Brunswick, GA
Sylvia - lovely day
3/28/2014 - 4/27/2014
The Cummins mechanic made it to the boat on Monday and after looking at the system which he told Bill was a good system - right size hoses, etc. he concluded that it was a vacuum in the day tank that was causing the problem. He suggested we put a vacuum gauge on the fuel hose just as it connects to the engine and to make sure the air vent is clear on the day tank. All of this Bill could do, of course. The gauge was attached but the end of the air vent hose was located near the mast and there was no way to get to it but pull the mast. That wasn't going to happen. So Bill took the hose directly off the nipple on the day tank and capped it off. When he took it off about 1-2 tsps. of diesel came out. It shouldn't have been in there. Bill figured that it got sloshed in during some heavy seas and there was a low spot in the hose run where it settled and as we used the fuel from and refilled the day tank it slowly caused the vacuum. Of course, once the hose came off the vacuum was broken. A new air vent hose system was installed so that we could always get to the end of the hose to make sure it wasn't plugged. We then ran the engine under some load at the dock for 7 ½ hours with no problem. But since we were still speculating that we knew the problem and had fixed it we decided that Puerto Rico and even the Bahamas were out of the picture until we had lots of hours on the engine. The problem had last occurred after 16 hours so we figured that a 2 day run from Lake Worth, FL back to Brunswick, GA would be a good enough test to convince us that all was good again.
We needed some stitching done on both of the head sails and with Mack Sails right there we stayed long enough to have them taken care of rather than having to ship them somewhere from Brunswick. Two very nice guys came down after about a week on a very windy day and among the 4 of us we got both of them down and bagged up. Off they went to the sailmaker's. It was a busy time for them but they were quite good about getting to them in a little over a week. After they were returned to the boat, we put them back on and it was time to look for a good weather window.
During this time we did boat cleaning and such, wandered over to the mega yacht part of the marina and gawked at the truly huge boats both power and sail. David and Jim West-Weis, friends in Fort Lauderdale came up one day for lunch with David's parents who were taking a break from the ugly Minnesota weather. It was great to see them all. Then a couple of weeks later Jim and David came back up for lunch again. All in all it was a very quiet several weeks for us.
Finally our weather window came a few days after we had the sails returned and we left Rybovich North at 1800 the 24th. We had to have both a weather window and high tide in the daylight so we could get out the tricky channel from the marina to the ICW that passes by Peanut Island in Lake Worth. We got out of the marina channel just fine and then didn't turn sharply enough around the ICW marker and promptly went aground. We were only about 5' from the deepest part of the ICW channel but it was also only 5' deep there - not deep enough for our 7+' draft. It was high tide and going out so we had to call TowBoatUS again and have them come pull us off. They were based right there at Rybovich and had moved us from a long dock to a slip and later came and helped us get extra bow lines on the pylons before the big blow came in. Then with 3 calls to them this trip we certainly have a great appreciation for the jobs they do. And they were such nice fellas as well.
After getting unstuck and going again, it was a 44 hour motor up the coast. We didn't even go out and pick up the Gulf Stream in order to use it to boost us along. It was 12 miles from Lake Worth (it is usually 4-5 miles away) and it just continues to become further from shore as you go north. There were predicted north winds half way through our trip and you don't want to be in the Stream with north winds blowing against a north moving current. It makes for ugly seas. We were able to motor sail some hours but the vast majority of the trip was straight motoring. The winds did clock around to northerlies so were on our nose. Luckily, they were mild winds and because of all the changes in wind direction as it clocked around the seas were 1-2' for the whole distance. No storms and beautiful night skies both nights. It was a new moon that didn't rise until 0500. We hadn't seen stars like that since Lake Superior.
We arrived at Brunswick Landing Marina at 1500 Saturday afternoon. We were so sensitive to the sounds the engine was making, hoping not to hear the problem sounds, that a different sound we heard just as we passed under the bridge a mile or so before the marina caused both of us to catch our breaths. But Bill decided it was not the engine but rather a bubble in the hydraulic fluid in our transmission system. Whew!!! We made it. We pumped the head, filled the diesel tanks and moved up to Dock 7 to our new location here. All of the T-heads are gone. They have a large number of big boats here this year. We fit fine in the slip and now will have folks on both sides of us for a change. The folks already here on the dock are mostly new this year but most of them came down to our slip after we arrived. They all seem very pleasant and fun. Folks from our old dock 2 as well as other friends have come by either walking or by dinghy. It has been great to reconnect with them and they as well as the new folks will make our stay a pleasant one for sure.
We have decided to take advantage of the fact that we are still in the States and are going back to MN for July and August to get Bill's other hip replaced. He is scheduled for surgery July 17. We will stay at my sister's in Eagan and as Bill heals for 5-6 weeks we will get a chance to connect with lots of folks in MN. Then it will be back to GA until hurricane season is over in November. Then it is plan for the next season - Puerto Rico or just the Bahamas. Who knows?! That is 7-8 months away.