Day 6 - Head fixed - Solenoid starter fixed

Blue Note
Marco M.
Mon 22 Dec 2014 14:06
Date: Monday 12/22/14 - Time:  13:57 UTC
Position 12:37.811N  38:43.861W
COG 245M SOG 5.5kt, Wind 54T 13 kt,
Temperatures: Air 27.8C, Sea 23.6C
Last 24h Sailed Distance: 142 NM
Last 24h Decrease Distance on rhumb line: 97 NM
Sailed distance since departure: 894 NM
Time since departure: 6d 1h 7m
Average Speed since departure: 6.09      kt
Average VMG since departure:   5.01  kt
Intention: sail to Virgin Gorda
Distance to End on rhumb line: 1522 NM
ETA: Friday January 2, 2015

Detailed Track (50 is the maximum number of point, i.e. once the last point reaches 50, the last point always is 50):

  Yesterday afternoon as we go to start the engine to charge a bit the batteries (our apparent wind is too low for the wind generator to create enough charge and the solar panels do help but are not enough to keep up on the boat consumption) the engine failed to crank.
Blue Note for many years had some problem to crank the engine. It usually take several key attempt to engage the starter and crank the engine. But yesterday it did not want to engage the starter.
Suspecting perhaps a bit low batteries (voltage was 12.1) we even tried with the spare AGM starter battery but the starter did not want to engage.
Silence fell on Blue Note. The crew start to envision  10 more days of sail with no refrigerator, no head working, no hot water for shower.

Chris immediately went for Blue Note library and the "bible" Nigel Calder "Mechanical and Electrical Manual" page 318.
While turning the key we did ear a click at the solenoid, so Chris suspected a faulty starter.
A really bad news since with no spare starter there is no way to start the engine.
I was a bit more optimistic since the known issue with starting Blue Note that from an article I had read was suggesting a problem with resistance in the wire going from the key switch to the solenoid.

But to make sure the starter is ok, we followed the bible instruction and with a screw driver shorted the + and - terminal of the starter.
To our relieve the starter was spinning but no cranking the engine.
That is because (as a later reading of the bible fully explained) the type of starter Blue Note has is a "preengaged" starter.
In this type of starter the solenoid first engage the pinion into he engine freewheel, then it energize the starter.
Following instruction of the bible again with a screw driver we shorted the + with the solenoid + (effectively activating the solenoid - the job that the key switch should do) and the engine immediately cranked and starter.

Crew was very much relieved - the only issue left was the clogged head.

Given our experiment with the starter and solenoid all point to a problem with a high resistance in the path form the key to the solenoid.
We did cleaned the contact from the wire to the solenoid and this morning there a clean engine start !!

This morning, after the epoxy cured overnight the bypass hose was installed and we have A WORKING HEAD  !!!

All is working - so far - on Blue Note and we are back into Atlantic cruising mode with a tuna lure in the water.

solenoid fix
Working on the solenoid

The bypass hose (clear hose to allow a full inspection of any deposit ...) going directly into the thru-hull

Launch bottle

Launch of the wish bottle for uncle Simon (Dec 21 Lat: 13:51.97N Lon: 37:08.283W)