A little bit of everything, and why life is a dish best served a little burnt. A photo essay of a single weekend trip to Portland Island and back.
It was a violent night. Princess Bay is fairly exposed to the SE and we had gale force winds develop in Haro Strait. The rolling got so bad we had to up-anchor in the dark and move much deeper into the cove, which improved things immensely. It was still a bouncy and noisy night though, and in retrospect I probably should have anchored in the small cove on the north shore of the island, although that anchorage is exposed to ferry wake. When it comes to seamanship aboard I’ve become a little slackass.
Come early afternoon we had to weigh anchor and head home. Just outside of Oak Bay, after passing through the biggest tide rip I’ve ever seen – it was on a very strong ebb at the time – the engine died without warning. No gas in carb, plenty in tank. Checked fuel filter and that wasn’t the problem. Looks like the fuel pump, which appeared original, had packed it in. Blast and damn.
Still, the fault is all mine. After so many years afloat, I know about preventative maintenance and fuel pump should have been part of that. But it’s been very hard to take Peanut seriously. She’s a toy, an implement for literally “driving” on the water. It’s not a real boat. Hell, she’s almost 60 years old and apparently has never used ground tackle, and the only instrumentation ever installed was a depth sounder. She didn’t even have fairleads installed; I”m not sure how she was moored previously but my current setup is cutting grooves in her and I’ll have to install chainplates. It seems she spent her whole life in a boathouse, occasionally taken out for an hour or two running around in circles.
It’s irrational, but because I don’t take her seriously like I did my 36′ sloop Fainleog which was equipped in such a fashion that I could have sailed her around the world, and so I haven’t done a lot of the things that good seamanship demands, any more than you would with an inflatable dinghy. Like replace vulnerable components. I did change her fuel filter once, but don’t even carry a spare aboard.
If I run into trouble I call Seatow. Meh.
I recognize I need to get over my prejudice, because for all her dock princess pretensions, Peanut is being operated in challenging and at times dangerous waters and she needs to be better equipped, and with more spares aboard. Maybe it’s true that I can easily call for backup if her powerplant fails, but sooner or later that will happen in much more difficult circumstances; I hate to think what would have happened if her engine had died when I was in the middle of that ugly rip off Ten Mile Point. While I hate the fall from grace she represents to me, and yet she is a beautiful boat and has some wonderful attributes for such a modest vessel.
Accordingly, while I was under her engine anyway, I decided to replace her raw water pump impeller. The pump is right in front of the fuel pump and since I was gonna remove it anyway, it seemed a very good time to replace it. I have no idea how many hours are on it, and yet by replacing it I avoid yet another breakdown. It was just last summer that I ran into this debacle due to poor maintenance of the engine.
I didn’t take any pics, but I also replaced the pump with another SBC mechanical. These are beyond obsolete, and getting hard to find (locally). I will also wire in an emergency inline electrical fuel pump. It was frustrating that the simple lack of a fuel pump marooned me. Not again.
I also discovered that my belts – replaced last summer – had stretched a lot and were both quite loose. I’m glad I had a good look at a part of the motor I rarely see. Given that I never did complete my refinishing Peanut last season, never mind getting to her engine, I can see that it’ll be a busy year and a lot of work completing her restoration.