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Are We Having Fun Yet?

You know how guys like to buy stuff and can’t wait to use it. You know, strap it onto their car or put it on the bench in the garage. We all get the glazed over euphoric look in our eyes and kind of a big ass grin with mumbling words like I can’t wait to get this baby home and use it. I’m sure you ladies out there know of a man or perhaps even your man has acted like this. There have been many shiny things I’ve purchased for Dazzler over the years so I know from whence I speak. Then there are things that you buy and you aren’t really sure why you bought it or even where you will use it. I’m guilty of that also. You know, you might even have to convince yourself that it would be a good idea to have it anyway.

It was a blustery day just two nights ago. The winds in the low twenties. I’m looking up from the port side at some two plus meter seas. The sea swell was mixed and close in frequency. It was getting close to dinner time and we made the decision to quit beating ourselves up and hove to. For those novice to sailing, this is a very simple maneuver that is like parking your boat in the ocean for free. There are none of those sneaky meter maids like on Washington Blvd. in Venice, CA. You know the ones that know how much time each meter has left and have the parking ticket half filled out. They’re just waiting for the meter to click over to red so they can hit the print button. Yes you have it timed, but you weren’t as quick as the meter maid. Not that kind of parking. The fee kind. Those of you salty seniors say they all know how to do it. Then there’s the new sailor who claims to know how. I say swallow a little pride and actually do it yourself. It’s a very simple technique. Your crew and partner will love you for it.

We decided to wait out the weather for about six and a half hours. So, when the sea state calmed a bit and winds subsided, we fired up Dazzler and were once again off to the great around the world race. No not really Grape Ape. He likes racing around in the dinghy. Anyway, back en route to New Zealand. About and hour into our trip, I hear a pop and a hissing sound. That can’t be good. I immediately check the exhaust discharge and see that exhaust is coming out WITHOUT any water.

The exhaust should have water in it to aid in discharging the sea water passing through the heat exchanger that cools the engine. No water means there is an issue with the cooling system. So, I immediately hove to again to investigate the problem. Once Dazzler is set, I head down to start taking the companionway stairs and motor cowling off to access the front half of the engine. The engine room is filled with what looks like exhaust smoke and it’s very steamy.

I know how this story goes. I first decide to check the seacock and strainer for flow free operation. Here is the fun part that Jilly just loves. “Babe! We have to remove some of the contents of the quarter berth.” Basically our in-house, I mean in boat, garage. I can’t even call it a man cave because there isn’t any room for me in there when it’s packed. But, it stores all that extra gear you hope you really don’t have to use like storm sails, extra bilge pumps, diving gear and Bocce balls for that ever so frequent game with the locals on the beach. Ha ha ha! Whatever it is, it is in the way to access the starboard and aft area of the engine room so it has to be moved out of the way and into the salon area. Kind of looks like what happens after a bomb explodes. Stuff goes everywhere.

Once I stuff my huge noggin into the aft area of the engine room to access the sea strainer, I see a small hole in the top of the elbow of the water lift muffler. That looks very unusual, it’s out of place and shouldn’t be there. I checked the sea strainer and found it to be clear. Before moving onto the next phase of diagnosis, I decide to contemplate how I’m going to fix the hole. I remember that in my bag of tricks, I bought one of those shiny items at the marine store that here in the South Pacific is called Minute Mend emergency epoxy. Some of the locals in New Zealand call it dog poo. It comes in a plastic tube. The contents look like a green cylinder of a clay like substance. You know green dog poo. You cut off as much dog poo as you think you might need. Strip off the thin layer of plastic off the outside and start squeezing and mixing this magic epoxy. On this particular dog poo the exterior is green and the center is white so you know when your poo is properly mixed. That means both colors are now a new minty looking flavor of dog poo. I had prepared the surface around the hole on the exhaust elbow by cutting off the excess shards and sanding the paint off its exterior. I then took my mint flavored looking dog poo and started pressing it into the hole making what I hoped would be a sound solution for the repair. We won’t know for twenty or thirty minutes.

In the meantime, I decided to check the raw water impeller. It seemed to be fine, but I remembered the last time something like this happened I ultimately had to replace the impeller. So, saving some time I decided to pull the impeller out. This is somewhat of a poor design on the Yanmar. Such a critical component should have easier access. But, alas I’m not a diesel engine designer or engineer. I’m the guy that has to shove his fat fingered hand into a space it wasn’t designed for, hold tools and actually use them in that same space. Thanks Yanmar! I finally get the old impeller out and find eight of twelve vanes split about about halfway each. I grab a new impeller pop it in with my big fingered hand after of course lubing the impeller up with some silicone grease. Yummy! It’s about as easy as trying to put those spring loaded surprise snakes back in the can. You know it has to fit, but it just doesn’t want to go. “Scotty I need more power! I just can’t do it Captain!” Needless to say persistence pays off and I got the new impeller fitted.

By this time the 20-30 minute curing mint flavored dog poo has had time to cure in an hour or so which means it should now be petrified mint flavored dog poo. Yummy! Let’s start the engine and see what happens. I start the engine and there is still no water exiting the exhaust port. Humm, I remembered last time that I had to burp the heat exchanger water discharge hose. After burping the water line the magic occurred. Water was now exiting the exhaust port. I now inspected my petrified dog poo repair and it was working perfectly. But, the exhaust hose connected to it was now leaking water. Argh! I tighten the hose and restart the engine. It’s still leaking, but it’s a manageable leak. Ha ha ha! No such thing. It was late I was tired and needed some sleep. The leak was dropping into the bottomless pit of Dazzler’s bilge and not a big deal for now.

We put everything back into their proper places and start heading south again. I decide to hit the sack and Jilly is on watch. About an hour into our trip, Jilly yells down the center of Dazzler, “Dan get up I smell diesel fuel.” Okay! We hove to again! Yes, again damn it!

One of the plastic fuel cans we bought in Mexico has developed a small pin hole leak and we needed to transfer it quickly into the main fuel tank to avoid any loss. At least that is what I thought. So, after hoving to we transferred the fuel from the defective fuel container into the main tank. About an hour later we were under way.

Wait, this story isn’t over. LOL

Last night while smelling the salty air and listening to the engine running. Wait a minute. I didn’t tell you why the engine is running. We had sailed all day. When we had to hove to twice we lost about fifteen miles from our planned travel plans to get us the Marsden Point, New Zealand about a day ahead of a low pressure system. The winds were on the nose at 12-14 knots and the sea state wasn’t too bad, so after dinner we decided to motor through the night in attempt to make up some time we had lost during the day. Additionally, we could get back some of the easting we had lost as well. Anyway, I hear a funny noise coming from the engine. I’ve spent so much time with her over the last few days I feel like we’re dating. I check the exhaust port and the exhaust mixed with water is spewing out like normal. I check the engine room and I see the manageable leak from the exhaust hose is not manageable anymore. “Jilly, we have to hove to and correct another issue with the exhaust.” She was thrilled about waking up from sleeping, which by the way, every time I try to wake her from her sleep it must be like hearring the boxing bell going off for the next fight round. This time she didn’t come up swinging. She apparently thought I was some bad guy in a scary dream trying grab her. Really! We are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and for some unknown reason someone is trying to get her. Like I said, at least this time she didn’t come up swinging.

I dig everything out of the lazarette and head down to the area where the exhaust issue is. A long story short or the Readers Digest version. LOL The two inch hose barb of the elbow on the water lift muffler appears to have a crack on it at the point where it enters the elbow. Tada! I know. I’ll use some of that minty green flavored dog poo. Yummy! I mix up a golf ball size batch of the delectable silly putty and start rolling it into the shape of snake. Wonder Twins powers, shape of snake. LOL I start placing my minty green dog poo snake around the joint of the hose barb and the elbow. I force it into the crack all around the joint until it looks like a bad duplicate from Mrs. Dijacamo’s third grade clay project class. You know that object your so proud of after it comes back from the kiln. You know that prize that can only be described by it’s recipient, your mother. Happy Mother’s Day Mom! LOL I reattached the hose and we waited about forty minutes before firing up the beast. Water flowing out the exhaust port and no more leaks from the exhaust hose. Excellent! The minty green dog poo scores another one.

Remember ladies, when your man brings home something and says he needs it, but he doesn’t exactly know when or where he will need it. Let him keep it. Beside it makes us guys happy that one less pair of shoes is on the boat and that whole drawer is full of those kind of things.

On a side note, we are working on getting the award for the most times hove to in a passage. I don’t know what the record is but I have exceeded it in my mind. LOL

That’s all for now from the South Pacific. Cheers!
Captain Dan

1 thought on “Are We Having Fun Yet?

  1. I hope you guys write a book about cruising. The ups and downs you guys have had is amazing. We attended a lot of seminars and spent time with Margo from Charlie Charts when we decided to cruise. You guys have gone far beyond anything I have read about cruising. Dan is definitely the McGiver of repairmen. Hope the rest of your cruise is much easier than what you have experienced. CHEERS

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