Day 86 – BRM Kaput

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 9 Mar 2022 12:49
Noon Position: 41 55.8 S 013 04.4 E
Course: ENE Speed: 5.5 knots
Wind: SW, F4 Sea: moderate
Swell: W 3 m
Weather: broken cloud, mild
Day’s Run: 140 nm

I followed Nigel’s trouble shooting guide. The BRM's compression was pretty good, nothing blocking the air intake, air filter clean, exhaust valve open … so its got to be a fuel problem. I had bled the fuel system up to the injection pump multiple times but the BRM didn’t even sound like it wanted to fire, even with the throttle wide open. Next step was to crack the injection lines, crank the engine over and see if any fuel was making it to the injectors. I cracked each injector line in turn and cranked the engine over. Not a drop of diesel could be seen even dribbling out of the lines. My conclusion is that there is something wrong with the injection pump. Perhaps the dirty oil has caused a blockage or some other damage. I have no real idea what the problem might be but there is no point continuing to crank the engine over in the hope that it will suddenly start. For now I will leave it be. At least the crankcase now has relatively clean oil in it.
While I worked on the engine, Sylph continued running with the NW’ly breeze off her port quarter. As evening approached the wind freshened and I shortened her down to two reefs in the main and 50% jib, and later, with a front due to pass over us sometimes towards dawn, I reduced down to three reefs and 30% jib poled to starboard. We were a bit under canvassed but still making six knots and we were comfortable.
At 0450 I awoke to some rain. Clearly the front was getting closer. Sylph was still moving comfortably but I didn’t want to waste the opportunity to collect some fresh water so I dragged myself out of my bunk, donned wet weather gear and rigged the rain catcher under the gooseneck. I am pleased to report that we managed to collect ten litres of water, not a lot, but it all helps.
The front proper passed through pretty much spot on with the Ineffable’s prediction, and at 0925 I gybed Sylph round onto starboard quarter run as the wind swung into the SW. Since then we have gradually increased sail as the wind has eased after the front’s passage, and currently have one reef in the main and 80% jib poled out. From here we will continue our way east aiming to stay below 42S so as to ovoid any contrary currents. However, unfortunately it looks like a rather intense low pressure system is going to be rounding the Cape of Good Hope at about the same time as us, on Saturday 12. I might have to break out and prep the drogue.
In the meantime the sun is shining.
All is well.