We made it to Pensacola but it wasn’t all smooth
sailing. Saturday night there had been some thunder storms in the distance and as
I was about to grab a short nap, I noticed a temperature and wind change. Thinking
we may get some rain we closed up the boat and turned on the radar. This was the
first time I’d used this radar, but it showed the storms clearly and
through a couple of course changes we were able to avoid getting wet.
Next – about 7AM Sunday morning as we are motoring
along the engine rpm fluctuate and then the engine quits. We were motoring
because we wanted to go north and the wind was from the south, which generally
a good thing but the winds were only 4-6 knots so it would have had us arriving
after dark, something I didn’t want to do.
When a diesel engine quits like that it is normally a fuel
problem, so I check the fuel tank – plenty of fuel and then the fuel
filter – no problems there either. At a loss as to what to do I decide to
try to bleed the engine (purge it of any air in the lines) and see what
happens. The first owner had added an electric fuel pump that is used to prime
the system. All I had to do was turn it on and loosen some fittings in succession
allowing the air out and then closing the fitting then turn off the pump. Soon
the engine was running again but I didn’t know why it quit.
Well about 5 minutes later the engine quits again. Since the
fuel tanks and filters are ok I’m beginning to consider that the fuel
lift pump may not be working. This is a mechanical pump on the side of the
engine that moves the fuel from the tank to the engine. To test my theory I
again turn on the electrical priming pump, bleed the engine and this time leave
it on when I start the engine. Engine now runs fine, so it’s time to
change the pump.
Fortunately I have a spare pump, but changing it is one of
those jobs that requires laying on the top of the engine, hanging over the edge
and working upside down. So rather than waiting for the engine to cool and
fixing it at sea we motored the last 25 miles with the electric pump running.
So now the engine is running again we are closing in on
Pensacola and the thunder storms are building. Time to close up the boat and
turn on the radar. This time we weren’t able to dodge the rain, but we
did manage to stay clear of the lightening.
We arrive in Pensacola Sunday afternoon and I went to update
the blog. I had turned off the computer when we were near the thunderstorms and
now it wouldn’t boot up. After several attempts I called it quits and we
went ashore for a drink and dinner.
Here is a picture of the oil spill we went through. There
was one section that we went through that was worse but it was not a solid
layer of oil. The boat has a little oil around the bow but nothing major.