Engine /prop issues

Wed 12 Dec 2018 19:30
Hi everyone,

so here is the run down on our little issue yesterday.
we ran up the main engine to charge the batteries. we opped her in neutral and increased the revs and were faced with severe vibrations. the engine looked like it was trying to rip itself off it's mounts. not a nice thing to see. so we shut down and pondered the situation. we were sailing around 8kts but we had less than 50% battery power left which wouldn't have got us to the Finnish line.
so we strapped a gopro to a boat hook and stuck it over the side to see if we could get some video footage of teh prop and see what was going on.
we had sailing through a lot of dense sargusso weed so we wondered if we had some ont eh prop.

tough to see what was going on but essentially none of the blades had feathered and were flat to the direction of flow. it looked like we had soemthing on a blade.

we tested all sorts, gears working in and out, all sorts. eventually we managed to establish that the blades had feathered, somehow. we ran up the engine and managed a good charge of power into the batteries.
overnight we had good sailing and a 170nM run which was excellent. however we were experiencing a vibration from the engine even with it in astern to hold teh blades feathered. it was managable.

this morning we fired up the engine again and managed to get a full charge and run teh water maker to fill up tank 1 to full.

the breeze has now dropped off to a gentle whisper but we still have some swell. we are coasting at less than 5kts now. we tried to fly the cruising chute but we couldnt make decent ground towards our waypoint so we are back to a poled out headsail and main sail. we just had a brief spell of 6kts but now we are slopping around at 4.5kts.
so we tried to run the engine in gear. nope. no way. big vibration straight away so we shut down.
gopro on a stick again and one blade is stuck 'open' with a large amount of weed around it. it maybe that there is some plastic fishing line/net around teh blade which is prevetning it from opening when the shaft spins, this would cuase the prop to be unbalanced and create vibrations.

so here we are 113nm from teh finish line. we've gone from 8kts to 4.5kts and we cant motor.
so our arrival time is now slipping towards late afternoon. if we get in after dark then i will have to anchor as i cant get a tow until first light. that gives us a frieday arrival.

everyone is frsutrated and wishing the breeze would return. the ARC forecast was for a decent breeze but it simply hasnt arrived.

so for now we are making slow progresss. we are going to have to work for every mile.

From my point of view, we are safe, movbing forwards, have lenty of water and food and can charge the batteries. it's now a matter of time. oh and how much damage has been done to the propeller and or gear box and what that means for the post arrival sailing.


SY Gitana