Jul 15, 2014

Getting Ready To Go

It has been a crazy rush since we arrived in Annapolis last week. Showing up at a boat and getting it ready for a 1,300 mile trip takes A LOT of work.

Adding to the difficulty is the lack of a car, and the 21 month old toddler we have on board. There is no end to the trouble Hobie can get himself into. At the same time Hobie is sprinkling in a bit of the terrible twos just for good measure.

We started out at Liberty Marina on the south river. We sailed north about 15 miles to Mill Creek to have a trial run at anchoring out. It went perfect.

I did run into a problem with one of the engines. It will not move past 1,400 RPMs. If I throttle up and try to force it past 1,400 RPMs it starts emitting black smoke.

I spoke to a mechanic who has done work on the engines, and his guess was that the fuel filter needed to be changed. I've never changed a fuel filter on a diesel engine before, but there is a first time for everything and I'm up for the challenge.

Of course the first hurdle to overcome is actually getting new fuel filters. We have no car, so I can't just drive to the store to pickup the filters.

Luckily some cruising friends we met in the Bahamas live nearby. S/V Miakoda, we met them the night before our wedding and the next day the daughters were the flower girls in our wedding.

They offered to let us barrow their scooter. I walked to their house, found the scooter parked in the driveway with the keys. No one was home. I've only driven a scooter once before when I was in a sleepy town on a volcanic island in the Azores. I was pretty much the only vehicle on the road there, so it wasn't very scary (except for the super steep hills).

Annapolis on the other hand, is a busy city, with lots of urgent traffic and I'd have to get to where I was going by memory because I wouldn't be able to drive a scooter while using my iPhone for directions.

Finally I decided to stop being a sissy and just go for it, and I'm glad I did. It was pretty fun! I had to stop a few times to look at a map, but eventually I made it do the Yanmar parts dealer.

I got what I needed, then sat outside the store in a blazing inferno of summer time heat during a work conference call. When the call was over I got back on my scooter, made a stop at West Marine, and then headed home. I didn't have to use the map at all on the return trip, but I did have to ask a mother pushing a baby stroller "which way to downtown Annapolis?"

By the time I returned to the boat, it was about 3:00 in the afternoon. Nice and hot, sun beating down on the boat... perfect time to climb into a cramped engine compartment to learn how to change a fuel filter.

Changing the filter went well enough, however I spent about two hours trying to bleed the air out of the line. I just could not get fuel to bleed out of the top of the CAV fuel filter. Between the heat, the cramped space, getting poked all over by zip ties, and my 21 month old toddler screaming "DADA!! DADA!!" I was starting to lose it, so I took a deep breath and resolved to try again tomorrow. Plus it was dinner time, and a storm was coming.

On my way to throw away the old fuel filter, I met a nice old man and asked him "do you know how to bleed a Yanmar diesel engine?"

He came down to the boat, looked at the engine, asked a few questions, then said "start it up!"

He said I did it right, I was just second guessing myself too much. I ran the engine at about 1,400 RMPs for 10 minutes to verify that the air had bled out of the line.

Then... the thunderstorm came:

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