We got underway after noon on Saturday on the shakedown part of the trip. That’s where you try to make things fail so that they are close to help for fixing. Well, fail they did. After four hours or so of pushing into 20+kt winds and 4-6′ seas, the overheat light came on. So we powered down until the engine cooled off and began to motor sail.
And the light came back on again, and we let her cool off. But now we need to tack towards land. On a cutter-rigged sailboat, that means you set a “running backstay”, a piece of rope that allows you to tension the mast against the force of the jib half-way up the mast. As I brought it up to tension, the knot holding it together slipped, and I had a loose piece of rope in my hands. To make a long story a little shorter, I called BoatUS and a boat came out (just like the AAA guys) and towed us into Oxnard’s Channel Islands Harbor. Sunday morning began with the news from the mechanic that we should completely rebuild the engine (which has on 700 operating hours). Things were pretty glum on Snow Shoo. It looked like she would spend the summer sitting in Oxnard rather than sailing through the fjords of British Columbia. And then we’d probably have to truck her up, because sailing her would be too expensive to crew for winter sailing up the coast.
Monday dawned with conversations with the mechanic who surveyed Snow Shoo. He insisted that, while there was lots of maintenance to do, the engine was sound, and before we did anything, we should simply figure out why it overheated.
We found the cause:
The blob on the left is what I pulled out of the raw water pump. The nice looking part on the right is what it’s supposed to look like. So with a replaced impeller, the engine runs cooler than it did during the sea trial back in November, and under heavier loads.
End of this chapter: Show Shoo will hit the bounding main in the morning, and though we say we are going to take it as a cruising schedule for the next few days, we just may try to catch up and get back on schedule.
Abort, retry, fail? RETRY is the word for this crew and boat!
Wish us luck!