Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Never Leave Port On A Friday - With Bananas Onboard

And never sail with a woman onboard - well we won't go there.  So we broke all the old rules last Friday and were severely punished!

We cleared out of Singapore heading for a 4 day break on the Johore River in Malaysia.  We anchored over night and departed just before dawn with favourable light winds and current.  Then the dawn peace was shattered by an engine alarm - coolant temperature was high.  Despite having the necessary parts on board we soon found ourselves limping back to Singapore under dinghy power.

Crystal Blues Uses Dinghy Propulsion
 When the alarm sounded we shut down, quickly hoisted the sails and slowly made our way through one of Singapore's big ship anchorages.  As we sailed we started stripping the engine cooling system, starting with the gearbox oil cooler - if the impeller had failed the parts would be pushed through the system to that point.

A handfull of rubber bits confirmed our assumption, so we then started removing the seawater pump.  We kept sailing, letting the engine cool down and when the breeze stopped we dropped anchor just east of Changi airport.  The water pump location on the Cummins is tucked well forward, where access is mainly by feel, not sight, through a small opening under the galley sink.  Our 11mm ring spanner was too long for Neil to use in such a confined space, so on the back step we used the angle grinder to cut it down.  All was going well until the last bolt head sheared off as we released it.  Now we had no wind, no motor and 9 nautical miles to return to the marina.

Dinghy Propulsion

A handful of impeller blades
With the dinghy sprung with long lines, just aft of midship, we hung all our fenders overboard to protect the hull.  Well smothered in sunscreen and holding an umbrella we did shifts in powering forward, sitting in the dinghy.  Steerage was via the autopilot as we moved at 3.5 to 4 knots back to the marina.

Half way back the 18hp Tohatsu outboard motor started cutting out.  It would start again after a few squeezes on the inline priming pump, but it was quite stressful as we were drifting in a ship anchorage.  We were sun burned, dehydrated and not having much fun!  Fortunately our good neighbours, Peter and Somkuan of MV Inn Lieu came out in their large RIB dinghy and towed us the last few miles home. Once inside the marina we maneuvered under dinghy power and quietly slipped into our pen.  Now the "holiday" can begin again.

We passed two Dockwise boat / yacht transport  ships in the anchorage - maybe we could have asked for a "lift" home?

Monday, 1 August 2011

B.O.A.T Day!

We had a B.O.A.T (bring out another thousand ) day, yesterday.  Fortunately these don't come around too often, but when they do they are nasty.

1. The Genset Saga Continues
Our dear Onan - a love hate relationship

Ley had noticed that there was a light grey, dusty film in the lazerette.  Installed here are a myriad of pumps, washing machine, genset, watermaker, inverter, charger and house batteries - each and every component could be guilty......so we checked everything.  Two Jabsco pumps and a magnetic (refrigeration) pump were recently replaced, the washing machine just over a year old, the batteries were clean and dry, so we pulled off the cover of the genset......a light grey film of dust had delicately settled over its innards, not good.  We started the genset up and saw a puff of grey smoke waft out from the back of the Onan.  Why is it that when something fails the problem is always at the back of the machinery, deeply hidden?  We have pulled this genset apart too many times to count for other problems, see here, the exhaust system will be a new challenge.

2. Followed by the Battery Charger
Mastervolt Mass Charger on the right

But this was just the icing on the cake.  Early in the morning we started the genset, and if you are wondering our latest impeller (30 hours of use) is doing fine, but we didn't seem to be charging our AGM house batteries via the Mastervolt Mass 12/80 battery charger.  We could see spasmodically just a few amps of charge, not the 60 plus amps that are normally thumped in.  The 240 volt refrigeration system was working fine, so we knew the gentset output was okay.  After checking the Mastervolt service book, Neil pulled out the giant tool box and other stuff that is stored in this section to make a pathway for him to lie side-on, over the house batteries and the look at the charger.  The Mastervolt charger was bolted in position when this aft section of the boat was not fully populated with stuff, and as it is a low maintenance piece of equipment, we thought this location was okay. After a few hours of observation and testing we decided that the charger was faulty.

The burnt electrical socket.

3. Seriously Sad Wiring

As Neil was lying across the batteries he noticed that the 240 volt plug from the air conditioner was loose in the GPO socket.  He tried to push it back in, but found out that the plastic fitting was melted, brown and deformed -  a very lucky discovery.  So we totally removed this piece of wire, reinstalled and terminated the connection from the GPO plug to the air con unit.......this was the only bit of wiring on our boat that we had let a contractor do.  We supplied the wire, double insulated, the black cable protector and the Australian approved 240 volt plug, sloppy workmanship was provided in Thailand.

On Monday we talked with Bob Wisniewskii from Power Protection Solutions in Australia and ordered a new battery charger.  We have also sourced Onan manifold and exhaust gaskets locally and from Australia for the genset.

Practice flag carrying for National Day
Ah, a Long Weekend

Of course none of this would be so urgent as most of the time we are tied up to the dock, but next weekend we have a four day holiday to celebrate Singapore National Day and we hope not to be tied up for a few days.  Instead we want to be anchored off Telok Sengat and Sebana Cove in the Johore River in Malaysia.