It was a productive day here on Take Two.
I started off with a simple (hah) project to temporarilyre-route the engine fuel lines to jugs.
We need to run the engines out of jugs so we can limp overto the fuel dock to fill up.
You may recall that we ran our tanks dry with our profligategenerator use. We now know that thegenerator uses 0.45 gallons/hour and we burn about $2.50/day. This of course doesn’t consider the wear andtear on the generator, nor the costs of our solar installation, or batteries. But without those factors, this is prettygood. When is the last time your monthlypower bill was $75? Of course this comesonly by foregoing air conditioning. Bumpthe generator usage up to 8 hours a day and our power bill jumps to $360.
Our engineslive in the middle of our hulls. We havelittle stairwells from the main cabin down into each hull. It is two steps down on either side, then twosteps either forward or aft. The enginesare under the landings. When I’m workingon the engines and the covers are off we just step right on the engine head.
But this morning when I stepped on the starboard engine Iwas treated to a spectacular fireworks show right under my feet. The kind that can only result when 3,500cranking amps finds a dead short. Whileit stopped arcing as soon as I took my weight off the engine, the next coupleminutes showed me that I probably need better access to my battery switches. My plan for the day was officially cancelled.
The post-mortem revealed that the starboard engine had aloose motor mount under the alternator.
Stepping on the engine caused it to compress on that side until thepositive post on the alternator contacted with the motor mount, which of coursewas grounded through the block. This wasan awesome thing to find out before we try to cross the Gulf Stream. Jay: 1, Murphy: 0.
The last jerk to touch that motor mount cross-threaded theupper nut and decided to just leave it that way, rather than fix it. The resulting vibration (which I’d noticed,but hadn’t yet found) loosened the lower nut which led to the problem above.
I found four battery cable lugs to replace: the alternator positive,the solar positive and negative, and the starter positive. Unfortunately, I think the alternator is fried. This will be the third time I’ve had themrebuilt, and we hardly even use them. Ialso installed new hour meters on the engines.
It isn’t unusual to be faced with these unexpectedprojects. The boat is heavily stockedwith tools, parts, and other supplies to prepare for them. It was somewhat satisfying to survive today’sunexpected projects without any need to go ashore. The only thing I didn’t have today was a newnut for the old motor mounts. I havefour completely new motor mounts waiting for that starboard engine, but thatwas a bigger project than I wanted right now.
To be clear, I have big nuts, but none that fit.
In other news today, Sam showed he knows 15 letters. Sarah sewed herself a purse. We set the big boys loose on the kayak fortheir first solo explore. And Tanya madeuse of our local cruiser’s net to find herself a haircut. Oh, and it’s cold. Getting time to leave.