Monday, June 2, 2014

Update post 12 to 2nd June 2014

Hi  again,
Now in yet another shipyard I had to find out what happened on that 3rd race. My first concern was the engine of course, it had already been playing up since the launch, stopping when least expected, and  now this terrid noise. I had a small leak on the seawater pump too. So to cut a 2 week long story short this is what I found,
1) Noise was because transmission coupling had come loose and slid off the splined drive shaft ! losing all oil from the gearbox because coupling boss is where the oil seal  fits.
2) Water pump oil seal had failed at the same time as water seal, and seawater had been getting pumped direct into engine sump and bilge!
3) Primary fuel filter was completely blocked starving engine of fuel!
Solutions applied
1) With mod. to coupling, I replaced it . At the same time I had to remove the complete and failed shaft geny I had installed. (another story) oil seal still needs to be replaced as now has a slight leak.
2) Water pump seals and bearings were ordered, received and fitted after draining and flushing the engine 4 times.
3) New fuel filters fitted.

After that lot I had to find why water had been coming in, and why I couldn't pump it out.
Extra water from eng. water pump didn't account for quantity of water, but one failed bilge pump, and one pump severely blocked with debris did, and with a slipping belt drive on engine  pump, all compounded to the disaster!      
Solutions applied
I had been so impressed with the rescue boats salvage pump performance, I purchased one of them and fitted it in with all new separate piping, the automatic float switch being set at an emergency higher level position. My normal pumps were replaced for new ones.
A new tensioning screw fitted to engine emergency pump.

I was now able to re launch GL and go round to anchor in Falmouth Harbour, which I did.
after a few days I left and went round to Jolly Harbour for shopping.  In the time scale of the above I hadn't at this time found the engine full of water or the blocked fuel filter.

Unexpected, as I left Falmouth and poked  my nose out with reef one side and evil rocks to leeward, my engine started to fail! there was a huge ocean swell running, 6 to 8 feet at least, I didn't dare to try and turn round as this channel is so narrow and now if my engine stopped I would be on the rocks in seconds!
I nursed the dying engine into clear water and ran foreward and raised the jib, wind too was extra strong like 28+ knts and there had been no warning of that either. 
I clawed my way out against the wind into deeper water for sea room, once clear I then set course for Jolly Harbour down wind. After the water got to 60mtrs the swell increased to over 10 feet! I was then surfing down them doing over 10 knts as they overtook me. All this had happened in about 15 mins from the calm and peace of Falmouth!

Then ....CRACK!..... BANG!..... what the......I turned round to see my dingy  floating  away with the front end missing and sinking!!!  Bloody Hell....what the.....I was flummoxed in total disbelief. I was now bearing down on the Old Road headland the next rocky lee shore, doing 10 knts just about every wave, I knew if I tried any stupid salvage heroics here, GL would be on those rocks!
I watched helpless as the dingy with a compromised fore buoyancy chamber and lovely reliable Yamaha engine on the back, settled down until a wave gently rolled it over upside down and pushed it that much closer inexorably towards those waiting hungry rocks!
After rounding the headland I had a lovely days sail round the coast of Antigua, with calm water inside Cade Reef, doing over 8knts with just the jib up, topped up my sun tan, but my dilemma now was, no engine, can not sail into Jolly, no dingy to get ashore, ??? what next?
Arrived at the channel entrance at 17.15hrs and tried the engine, it started! so I put it ahead and took down the jib, whilst engaged with that, the engine stalled yet again, now with no choice as to position I threw the anchor over the side to await my fate!

I  rang my friend Barry later and gave him this update as to my predicament.
My special thanks go to him and Dr Marks for arranging a temporary berth along side to fix these problems, which I did.
So after the engine flushing, oil and fuel filter changing, purchase of new geny, dingy and outboard motor, I left the dock for trials, then anchored for a few days. This then left me time for my next planned stop at St John usvi.

I left Antigua and departed for St John  USVI. I arrived safely and  I had a few days to meet up with friends, then off to Jost Van Dyke bvi on 23rd May for
the 40th 'Foxys Wooden Boat Regatta'!
This year there were 8 wooden boats taking part, check the Foxys web page for the names and pics.
We all had a magic weekend of parties and really cool racing! I won 3rd place with Karen a very nice girl from St John as my crew!
I came back to St John the following Wednesday which is were I am now, its been my first incident free holiday for quite awhile.
Next on my agenda is St Thomas, to meet up with all I got to know there.
Will keep you posted when I can.
PS You couldn't make this shit up.

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