Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Art of Fixing Your Boat...

I apologize for the lack of posts of late.  Don't worry, I am still alive and well and pursuing the dream. I even have a number of things I would like to write about, but time has been an issue.

The past couple weeks I've been spending most of my excess time trying to put together the trip for moving my boat from Brunswick Georgia up to the Chesapeake bay area.  It seems that each time I would start getting a plan together, something would fall apart.

You see, my boat isn't setup the way I would like for single-handing (the anchor windlass can't be controlled from the helm and lines to raise, lower, or reef the sails are not run to the cockpit).  And, even if it were, I would feel more comfortable having a second hand as it makes things much easier.  Add in the fact I need to move pretty far north and that would include a couple overnight passages along the coast and having a helping hand to take a watch becomes a necessity.  Of course, as I mentioned in a previous post, my wife cannot come help me for this move.

It has been surprisingly difficult to find a helping hand.  I finally had someone that could help me get from Brunswick to Charleston and even help me get the car moved as well.  Unfortunately my boat had other plans...otherwise I would be on my way to Charleston instead of writing this.

Yesterday, In preparation for the trip, I went to move the boat from my slip to the fuel and pump-out dock. Unfortunately the port engine, which worked a week ago, failed to start. I don't know how many times I've heard that "Cruising is the art of fixing your boat in exotic locations"...but I'd hardly consider Brunswick Georgia exotic. The problem sounded similar to how your car sounds when your battery is almost dead.  I checked the battery and it showed a full charge resting voltage of ~12.7 volts.

For several hours, I went through checking and cleaning connections to the battery and the starter and all paths in between, but the starter just wasn't happy.  All indications pointed to the starter or starter solenoid needing replacement (they are integrated on this starter). Not wanting to start the trip one engine down, I had to cancel the trip.  Unfortunately the help I had found can only do weekends and, because of mothers day, next weekend was out.  So, I'm back to square one on the trip planning again...and a starter that isn't behaving.

I ended up pulling the starter last night and took it to a local auto parts store this morning to have them test it.  Imagine my surprise when it worked just fine on their test bench.  So, back to the boat I went with my apparently working starter.  I cleaned all the connections again.  I also cleaned the mounting surfaces and bolts for the starter (starters ground through the case to the motor and the starter was partially painted "Westerbeke red"). I replaced the start switch line blade connector as well since it wasn't in the best shape.  Once I got everything back together, the starter once again worked and the engine roared to life.  Now why couldn't it have done that yesterday.

So, now I just need to find someone to help me move the boat...again.  If you happen to be interesting in going for a sail from Brunswick Georgia to somewhere along the route to the Chesapeake bay area in the next week or two, drop me a line.


  1. I wish I could afford the plane ticket to come out and help you sail up the coast. Of course I would probably only be useful for ballast since I know nothing of sailing!!

    Good to see you posting again tho.

    1. Hey Dave,

      You are probably selling yourself short. I really just need someone willing to do a few night watches, help a little bit with docking lines, and generally just a helping hand.

      No worries though, I have a couple leads I'm following up and think I should have things squared away pretty quick.

      And sorry about the hiatus on the posts...just too busy to write sometimes...really puts me in awe of the few bloggers that used to do daily posts...guess it helps when you aren't trying to hold down a day job as well.

      Take care,