Friday, January 30, 2009

The Devil is in the Detail

I recently did a blog entry that described all of the cool maintenance that I had done to Gypsies. Well, it appears that I did not tighten everything quite enough. We left Kennebunkport about 10:00 AM on Saturday, August 30, and about 5 minutes out of the harbor a very loud piercing alarm sounded. It took about 30 seconds to realize it was the dreaded high temp alarm on the port engine. Now high temp alarms can be caused by a number of things, but none of them are good!

We quickly shut down the port engine and I disappeared into the engine room. Tammy remembered to also shut off the synchronizers since with one engine we didn’t need to keep the engines in sync. Upon arriving in the engine room it was clear what the problem was. Since the bilge was full of coolant and the walls were covered by coolant and one little pipe was still leaking coolant, I came to the conclusion that we had a coolant leak. Pretty cool deductive reasoning, huh!

Since we had stocked spares for coastal cruising, I did not have enough coolant on board to fill one engine. So, rather than return to Kennebunkport, we decided to complete the trip to Wentworth by the Sea on the starboard engine. We kept the engine at the same rpm as we normally do and we were able to make about 6.5 knots instead of the 8 knots we normally cruise at. It took us about an hour longer to get to Wentworth than it would have on both engines.

Since we had not run on one engine before, I kept going down to the engine room to be sure everything was going fine. The only issue we had was the coupler where the shaft meets the shaft seals ran about 75 degrees hotter on the port engine since it was turning but was not getting water to cool it. Seemed like it was not a big deal so we kept going. The other minor issue was that the stabilizer system gets its hydraulic power from the port engine so we had no stabilizers. The seas were luckily pretty calm so it wasn’t a big issue.

Upon arrival in Wentworth, I tried to contact the local John Deere dealer to get some John Deere Cool-Gard to fill the engine. They, of course, were closed until Tuesday because of the holiday weekend. No problem, we were going to stay in Wentworth until Tuesday anyway. We got the coolant this morning by delivery from Manchester by Kathy, Colleen’s sister, and Colleen's Mom. We were underway by noon and Gypsies ran perfectly!

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