Wednesday 21st November - Becalmed with Engine Hassles

Jon & Carol Dutton
Wed 21 Nov 2012 10:24

31:55S 174:56E

Wednesday 21st November – Becalmed with Engine Hassles

Tricky day today.  No wind to speak of since the last report so we’ve been motoring.  Now not much hope of any useful wind before we get to Opua.  We’d previously had a problem with a leaking engine fuel pipe just before we got to Suva.  That filled up the engine bilge nicely with about 20 litres of smelly diesel.  We’d got every sort of pipe/tubing we might need aboard the boat except of course that stuff.  So, Jon bodged the job at sea with Rescue tape (a heat/oil proof sort of stretchy self-amalgamating tape) and that got us to Suva.  Since it was working OK he should, of course, have let sleeping dogs lie until we got to NZ.  But he didn’t.  He bought some new fuel piping in Suva and fixed the job properly.  Except that it wouldn’t fix properly without another bodge.  Because although it was proper fuel tubing he was using it wasn’t quite as flexible as the original.  So, the seal wasn’t as good.  However the bodge worked until this afternoon when the oily smell returned and an investigation of the engine showed the fix having unfixed itself and diesel spewing all over the engine again.  So, three hours later we finally got going again with another bodge.  Look guys, all we need is about 4” of precisely the right plastic tubing and it won’t be a bodge.  But, no hope of getting that until we get to Opua, now about 200 NM away. 

Meanwhile the engine control panel has decided to be difficult.  The rev counter now refuses to work and the morse lever which controls the engine speed finds it amusing to give you a bit of an electrical belt if you touch its metal parts.  Or its rubber end if it’s raining.  Very amusing.

And now, as I glance at the switch panel at the chart table, I note that despite the fact that engine is running, the domestic battery bank is slowly discharging.  Which means that it seems that the alternator isn’t charging it.  Great – it’s now 2200, so about 4 hours after dark.    

I suspect that someone has tipped Mr Perkins the wink that ENDEX (end of training exercise) is imminent.  As all soldiers will know, this is always a really bad idea.  No matter how professional the boys may have been up until that moment, you’ve henceforth lost their attention.  Mentally they are down town in the bars mixing it with the local tottie. 

Look Mr Perkins – sort yourself out.  I’ll tell you when you can switch off.  For you, my friend, that won’t be until this beast you are driving has made it back to the gun park and is safely tucked up in its gun shed.    With luck and a bit of cooperation from you that won’t be much more than a day away.