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[ THE WIRE ] Diesel drama and drifting

Scotty “It’s not ideal at the moment…”
Ty “Yeh, I figured that when I heard someone talk about fire extinguishers”
A slightly high octane 24 hours here on Disco. I left you with the worst loaf of bread ever created on a boat, and a cricket called Ben. There is still no improvement on the bread front (now referred to as crusty dough), and Ben is still alive and noisy.We continued on into the night, making fairly good speed considering the wind, the phoenix of the genoa performing admirably. Late into the evening we decided it was a good time to tackle the generator. The generator’s fuel pump decided to give up on the first day out of Panama, so it’s been living life on the edge since then, and wholly unreliable. In a recent starting attempt its start battery was run flat, so our Las Palmas jump leads (2 long bits of battery cable with no clips…) were dug out, the engine run up, and the starting attempted (a three man job). After several attempts we gave up, realising that the generator just wasn’t pulling any fuel and cranking it was futile.After deciding to charge the batteries from the main engine until we came up with another solution, I decided to randomly look in the engine room, for no particular reason other than feeling like I should. I think instinct is an invaluable asset on a boat, and today proved another of many occasions whether this was proved true, as I was greeted with the sight of atomised diesel spraying everywhere. Not good… A small amount of shouting later the engine was turned off, and suddenly fixing the generator had shot straight to the top of the priority list. Without a working engine or generator we have a real problem, unable to run any lights, comms, or nav equipment.

Henry and I spent a good few hours hugging the generator; diesel, fuel lines, socket sets, and rags everywhere, all in the most indescribable heat. Just another midnight in the Pacific Ocean.

Ty got up just after the commotion of the ‘atomised diesel everywhere’ moment, and the immediate conversation went something like this:

Ty “Everything OK?”
Scotty “It’s not ideal at the moment…”
Ty “Yeh, I figured that when I heard someone talk about fire extinguishers”
Scotty “Yep, that just about says it all right now”
Ty “Anything I can do”
Scotty “Put on some good music”

*Good Australian music comes on throughout boat at midnight*
‘Generator fixing begins’

Luckily with good music comes good work, and the generator was finally up and running again. It’s amazing what productivity necessity can precipitate.

Next job, engine fuel leak. It turns out one of the rigid fuel rails that carries diesel from the engine filters had fractured, hence the spraying of diesel everywhere. Not an easy fix and in a difficult location. However, before we could get into it the wind had started to pick up, and sailing took precedence. We quickly got the genoa down and the yankee 1 and staysail up, and soon we were trucking along at 8kts, right on course. The dream. The wind was building quite fast, and we thought it might herald the early start of much stronger winds due, so decided to focus on getting the boat prepped for life at angle once more, and I went to get my head down, as it’s best not to go into stronger winds completely lacking in sleep, knowing there will be many sail changes and decisions to make in the near future.

That anticipation came to an end this morning, when the wind disappeared completely, leaving us to aimlessly drift for many hours. The engine began to be tackled. Henry came up with good idea for an epoxy based fuel pipe bandage, which sounded like it would work well. After a few attempts to get the right amount of hardener in the heat of an engine room, the bandage was in place, and as we waited for it to set some of the team went to do a rudder and keel inspection. Good news; the rudder and keel are still there. It was also our first opportunity to have a proper look at the prop after the SCUBA installation antics of Antigua. Poppy the temporary Bruntons propeller is also present and correct.

With baited breath, the engine was cranked over and once the obligatory fuel line bleeding was complete (and we actually remembered to turn the fuel back on again…), we had an engine back to life! 2/2 so far, not bad.

The afore mentioned pesto pasta did in fact take place last night, however this was marred by a culinary misdemeanour carried out by the same culprit responsible for the worlds worst loaf of bread. For some reason it seemed appropriate to put tea bags in the kettle to brew, which is never appropriate. This was bad enough, until Ty, unbeknown to him the tea-like state of the kettle, used the water to cook the pasta. The world’s best meal now had a hint of tea throughout. Luckily the answer to this is just more pesto, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Making progress again, until tomorrow.


NAV STATION
Date: 5th March 2017
Time: 1758z
Position: 08°38.5N 085°03.2W
COG: Variable
SOG: Nil
Wind: NIl
Swell: N 1-2ft
Sky: 0/8
Weather: Fair


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