Saturday, June 27, 2015

2nd post of voyage to St Lucia

@ Deshies (pronounced Day Hey) Guadalupe Saturday 20th June

daylight inside chain locker

cracked frame

top bow it measures a 1/2" gap

bottom bow

Started on the temp repair. I had found a length of 1/2” stainless all thread studding long enough, with nuts and lock washers, I had also found some bronze plate 3/8” thick and some teak 1” thick by 4” wide. Then I drilled a hole right through the boat and knight heads, third plank down, cut the bronze in too and drilled 1/2” hole in each, cut teak in too as well for battens with a 1/2” slot. Assembled all this on the all thread rod, and hammered it through the hull, then tightened the nuts up really hard, this pulled all the planks back tight to the hull, success. That took me all day to achieve, and will have to be fixed properly later.
Moored in the anchorage @ Deshies

studding inserted starb

and Port side

U bolt that failed on running backstay and fitting for temp repair (long one)

completed repair port

completed repair starb

Sunday 21st
I made a repair to the running backstay fitting, I took the old one out and had to re drill a new hole in an adjacent plank, for a different fitting, with a batten under the deck to spread the load, and bronze plate, this will have to be fixed as well later. After I finished that about 1700hrs I went ashore to relax a bit.

Monday 22nd
Tidied the boat up again and tried to clear customs, every time I went there it was closed, so failed.
Tuesday 23rd
A very bad storm all day prevented me from leaving the boat to go ashore, read a book about the Caribbean pirates and storms of the past, didn't quite help with my present frame of mind.
Wednesday 24th
Quite a good days weather so decided to leave again, tried to clear customs 3 times with it shut each time. Took the decision to leave anyway and left at 1600hrs bound for St Lucia with a serious amount of trepidation as to the outcome.
All went pretty well but forecast wasn't that good, and the actual weather wasn't good either. Battled my way down Guadalupe and out into the passage on course for Dominica, made that and the bow was holding as was the running backstay, even more of a battle down behind Dominica and eventually I had to hoist the big jib to get more to windward. Then out past Dominica into the sea again towards Martinique, I made that just as it went dark about 1830hrs, but the weather had calmed a lot and I flew past quickly, arrived at the passage to St Lucia at 0100hrs Thursday 25th.
This was with only 24 Nm to go to Rodney bay, I decided to heave too on the same tack and wait for morning, during this manoeuvrer the port sheet lead pulled out of the deck fitting and I had to tie the sheet to a cleat, but once back on port tack I wouldn't need it any more, with boat speed now only 1 to 2 knts and me being very tiered I put the alarm on for an hour and had a kip. When it woke me I came on deck to check around, I had gone nearly a mile, that's all, so went back to bed, when I woke up again it was 0500hrs dawn was just starting to happen, I had traveled only 2Nm during that time. I tightened the steering gear up cos it had come loose, then I blew the jib, the boat took off like a greyhound out of the trap and accelerated to 8 knts towards St Lucia, I made it there just after 0900hrs, dropped the sails and proceeded to the marina were I was put on the 'D' dock number 24.
So here I am safe in port again a week late but a survivor again with more stories to tell. Preparations will start on Monday next for installing the new engine while I relax for the weekend.


Friday, June 26, 2015

@ Jolly Harbour Wednesday 16th June 2015

With a reasonable forecast I left Pamala's dock to clear customs and proceed to St Lucia.
When all that was seen to, and all goodbyes said, I proceeded to sea. Modified engine driving at approx 3 to 4 knts, and passing the fairway buoy at 12 noon.
It was a very good sailing day, and if all had have been good with GL I would have been doing 8+ knots. As it was I was babying the boat, because of the bow planks with Main and staysail only, and still doing 4 to 5 knts.
I made many checks around and all seemed to be good until about 1800hrs Approx half way, when I noticed the bilge pumps were working nearly none stop with a lot of water coming in. I checked again and noticed water was pouring through the bottom bow planks, a lot more than before. Putting my head over the side I checked the planks, and to me they had all moved even further away from the stem post. This was a bit alarming as I had still had 33 miles to go before reaching shelter behind Guadalupe, this being the biggest gap between islands, and Atlantic Ocean not Caribbean Sea. I was trying to keep the boat as upright as I could, easing the main etc. but the pumps were taking longer and longer until I knew I would have to use the engine emergency pump as well.
The engine started no problem and I engaged the pump, this emptied the bilge quickly and as the engine was only ticking over anyway I left it engaged, which kept the bilges dry, even though more water was coming in.
Decision Time.
Should I turn round and head back to Jolly Harbour or continue. Turning round would put the bow high and maybe less water would come in, but could put more stress on the stem not having the planks fastened to it, ie planks would move away even more! Or should I continue and hope I can find somewhere to stop and maybe make a fix. I was now over half way to possible shelter and night time had descended in a dark murkey haze......I continued.

I went even slower than before, engine running, charging and bilge pump on, empty bilges and fully charged batteries, me scared half to death in case something else happened, like a severe squall or something. I was now pointing more into the wind and only heeling 10 to 15 deg, leeway was a lot but that took my speed down to 3 knts prolonging my agony, its then I noticed the running backstay was making a lot of noise, the weather one under tension, the dam thing was moving in and out of the deck, it had come loose as well, but course was good and would see me behind Guadalupe about 0300 hrs. Thursday. I achieved all that and when the wind died made for the anchorage at Deshies, I was a long way offshore and it took another 4 hrs. to get there arriving at 0600hrs. Very tied and hungry. The engine had been running all that time since 1830hrs. Approx. the longest time its ever ran in its life, the last 4 hours it was driving the boat as well as no wind to help, and that with only 2 pistons in it, makes you think that. I anchored and went to sleep. Woke up at 1000hrs. Found I was the other side of the bay and had been dragging the anchor, noticed some free mooring buoys, recovered anchor and picked up a buoy. I went ashore and cleared customs had a coffee in a cafe, got back to the boat and went to sleep again. Woke up at 1400hrs and put GL into moored up mode, dingy lift, covers and awnings on, wind generator deployed, solar cells out etc. and read a book until sleepy then bed.

Friday 19th , survey of boat to see what I can do with a temp repair here on a mooring. There is no one to help here, a sleepy little holiday town. Formulated a plan of action, and work to achieve. All has to be done in the dingy lashed to the bow, even tested how to do that, went shopping, believe it or not there is a Spar shop here, so got some supplies and back to the boat to begin preparing tools needed for the plan.
More coming.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My Engine Solution

Hi all.
Well I had many ideas as to what to do with the engine problem, so spent a few days mulling over these ideas to see which one I could accomplish in the easiest way. There were many varied things that would stop each idea dead. Lister Petter (Hawker Siddeley) I finally decided, has achieved their goal in re-manufacturing this Alfa Series Engine to become less reliable than the bullet proof original, and I quote a salesman in 1992 at Southampton Boat Show, who told me, 'that because it was so reliable, once a person bought one it would last a lifetime, without the owner needing to come back for spares or new engine etc. and this Fact was putting the company in danger of failing due to lack of engines sold'.
Having now had three engines since 1993, (I bought one on the strength of what he said), the last of which didn't achieve 5 years old and 600 hours running, I have decided to change the engine for another companys product.

So getting a new engine will put me having to re-install everything from scratch, which I really didn't want to do, not just the work involved but also the cost as well.

So Plan A is this. Clean up the defunked engine, take out all the bits concerned with the No. 1 cylinder and re-build it with only 2 cylinders, put it back in the boat, see if I can get it working, it will have to charge batteries and get me in and out of harbour, also pump the bilge all at the same time, this will have to be without shaking the boat to bits with vibration. It only has to last me for a three day sail to St Lucia from here at Jolly Harbour, maybe 6 hours at the most. I have ordered a new engine from a BRITISH company called Beta Marine Ltd. It is a Beta 30 @ 30hp, same power, same cylinders 3, and its cheaper to buy in UK and have it sent to St Lucia, its a hell of a lot lighter and to save money I can use the bullet proof PRM 160D2 gearbox on the old engine and put it on the new.
The new engine will have all the bits the old one had so that I will not have to add things to it later.
I started Plan A last week, cleaned out all the shattered piston bits from the sump, also removed the pump and made sure nothing was going to get in the oil, I overhauled the gearbox itself, and finished it off with the same paint job as the new engine, Letterbox Red! I had to renew the Gearbox hydraulic cooling pipes due to corrosion and make a few gaskets, also had to buy a stop pull cable, but engine went back together OK. Tried to think of everything that could go wrong with running the engine on 2 units, 1) modified the fuel supply manifold by sawing the pipe off the 'T', 2)  removed push rods. 3) put a blank gasket on the exhaust for No.1 as exhaust back pressure would pressurerize the crankcase, left inlet open. 4) fuel spill line modified.

Came to the day, Friday night 6th June 1855hrs and after bleeding the fuel lines I managed to start the engine!!!! stopped it then I went to the PUB!!!
Saturday I ran the engine continuous for three hours at 1200 rpm, 1 hour ahead, 1 hour astern and 1 hour ticking over at normal tick over speed 850 rpm with no speed adjustment needed.

On Sunday I had left the batteries to go low over night and re started the engine to test the charge system, this is what I was doing when the engine blew up. It ran for 30 minutes and then horrors it blew up again!!!! So much smoke poured out of every orifice the engine had, and I just crumpled to the floor, I pulled the stop cable while I was down there but the engine carried on running for a good 30 seconds. Can not use the words I want here to explain what I felt like.

Monday 8th June, I thought about it a bit and came up with the answer! It must be the blank gasket on the exhaust! pressure must have blown that open, and pumped oil from the No.1 rocker space into the inlet and the engine was running on Oil!! It still meant taking the engine to bits again which I did! Monday night at 6pm I had the engine running again!!
Engine side of plan A is now complete, it only requires me to get the boat cleaned up and ship shape and get it to St Lucia.
Following are a couple of pics

Engine clean with new hydraulic hoses

view out from the dock

Engine ready to be lifted back in with my boom as the crane

needed something made of steel for the exhaust

I was right, the blown gasket

now a steel one still OK
So everyone I'm just about ready to leave dodge, will let you know what happens