Thursday, 17 December 2009

Smoke and heat!

It's been a few days of extraordinary ups and downs, not a lot new there then...
The engine continued to smoke and the strange rattley noise defied all attempts to quieten it. But despite these problems we decided that we had to cast off the lines and start to make tracks for the open sea.

We have had a great stay at Monkey bay marina, everything that we wanted after all. Quiet, chilled, unpressured. Lovely places to sit and a big freezer for the cruiser's use. Bliss! We loaded our ice blocks aboard, moved all the frozen meat into our chill box. Topped off the water, paid the bill and with as much grace as I could muster eased gently backwards out of our slip. Big cloud of white smoke but the prop did it's thing and propelled us out into the main body of the river.

Having been reading Nigel Calder again, it's a sort of boater's hyponcondria bible, I was convinced that either we had trouble with the injectors in the engine of the head gasket was/had gone. If it was a terminal condition we might as well find out sooner rather than later and with heart in mouth I eased the throttle forward and off we went. Lots of smoke but that could be from the injector cleaner that we added to the diesel, or it could be from the diesel bug cleaner that we also added. I kept an eagle eye on the temperature gauge as we floated slowly down river toward the Golfete.

Up sprung a nice breeze, oh come on lets sail, its not far and it'll be fun. Out came the main, the yankee, off with the engine and we tacked up the lake. The boat went beautifully and after a few false starts we got the tacking going...oh it was nice to feel the boat doing her thing in the water...

As we approached the anchorage on went the motor for the final approach. Oh dear also on went the temperature alarm as rapid overheating started. Off went the engine and we coasted in to drop the anchor which held firmly first time round.

My heart sank.This is it. The engine is knackered. Lucy and Alex's holiday scuppered...

We ate, went to bed and lay awake worrying all night.

Yesterday TBH set to. First checking all through the raw water system. No blockage on the intake, oil levels ok then EUREKA! a mangled impeller. Oh joy unbounded a simple straight forward mechanical failure.

After a horrific viewing of a totally disintigrated rubber impeller, a rodding out of the heat exchanger tubes and refixing a leaking pipe we were away. The engine fired first time, water expelled in quantity from the exhaust pipe. Alex and I looked at each other both realising that the rattle had gone, the temperature nice an cool.

We looked over the stern, NO SMOKE! Unbelievable. we must have been running for weeks with a damaged impeller without sussing it.

We are slow learners but we get there in the end!

So a quiet day, finishing off jobs, charging computers, planning our route, watching the weather. Fingers crossed we'll be over the bar tomorrow then an overnight anchorage whilst the next cold front blows through and we will be away!

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