Technical hitch

Lars Alfredson
Tue 25 Oct 2011 18:39

24102011 Mar del Plata


After much discussion it is decided we will try and catch a weather window which should allow us to slip by a big low that is going

to bring 40kt southerlies which will be right on our nose. Inshore the winds will be considerably less and hopefully have a little more east in them though the northly easterly sea could make it interesting.


So its fire up the generator and load up the washing machine for a final run. Ten minutes later and before we have even switched on

the washing machine there is a nasty knocking from the genny. Lars and I listen and even with my deaf ear its obvious something amiss.

There is the smell of exhaust fumes in the engine room so off with the covers and Lars is back in his favourite position hunched over the demon machine.




Our judgement is its probably the head gasket that’s gone. Further investigation with a fellow sailor off a neighbouring yacht who brings

his test gears seems to indicate fuel starvation. This is an old problem with the activator rod sticking .. this is cleared but the terrible knocking

is still there and now although the gasket seems sound there is back pressure in the air inlet which looks like a sticking valve.


An engineer is summoned who has the whole thing running in half and hour but takes the head off to find the source of the banging.

This investigation reveals the rockers have not been bolted up tightly and one valve slipped out totally also the oil galleries are blocked.

It would appear that the engine has been running on only two of its four cyclinders for some time.

Hardly a testament to the Brazilian engineers who rebuilt the engine in Angra. This also explains why its has been reluctant to start since then.


This exercise sees most of the day gone and its 2:30 when head to the club for lunch. The afternoon is spent finish the other  project to repair a broken sail batten.

Having dropped mainsail its as much as three of us plus a little help from a winch can do get the sail back into its track from this position.

The usual manner would have been to hoist it up but with a stiff breese from the stern this is not an option.


Sebastian who helped get us the engineer comes aboard for a G & T and tells about our neighbour over the pontoon.

A gentleman in his 70’s who is quite famous hearabouts as when the Captain of an Argentinian Icebreaker he took the worlds record for travelling the furthest south anyone has been in a ship.


Tonight we head to the fishing port for a meal at a restaurant we have been recommended. The wine is excellent but the mixed fish platter for three is a bit disappointing.

the icecream sweet for three was a little more spectacular with mountain of various flavours and fruit supported by a scaffolding of biscuits.


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A nightcap and so to bed. Alright for some but the wind has changed direction and a fender between the mooring pole and the hull directly by my bunk

is shrieking like a banshee everytime the boat moves, liberal application of washing liquid could solve the problem but I’ll just give it my deaf ear and tackle the problem in the morning.   


Bob the Blog