Making your engine blue water ready

Salt water in the engine is very common after the first big ocean passage.

Making your engine blue water ready

I was interviewing candidates for my next big trip from New Orleans to Panama this May 2016.  (I will elaborate more on my reasons for taking the Slow Boat to Panama in upcoming newsletter.)  A potential crew member that I ultimately invited mentioned that he crewed on a boat bound for the Galapagos from Panama City when the engine was ruined by salt water coming up the exhaust.  I e-mailed the skipper and owner of the boat, and he said that tacking back to Panama City with a ruined engine was the hardest thing he had ever done.  Unfortunately, this happens regularly to sailboats that attempt their first big ocean crossing.

The dean of sailboat repair and the author of the diesel engine bible for sailboat owners Nigel Calder writes on page 254 of Marine Diesel Engines, 3rd Edition, 2007:

“Every year I get a number of e-mails from people with flooded engines, mostly sailboats.  More often than not the engine has functioned fine for years, but then a long-dreamed of cruise was undertaken and at some point the engine flooded.  The common thread is that on an offshore passage, the boat got in rougher conditions or bigger seas than it had seen before.”

There are three ways that salt water can stuff your engine.  It can foul the fuel tank through the tank vent, it can back flow through the exhaust, or it can siphon through the salt water cooling intake.  We have had lots of water contamination problems on our outboards, and dealt with water in the gas tank on our previous boat.  Thus, this became a top priority on our outfitting for the big trip in 2016.  On the Slow Boat, we moved the vent from the side of the boat to high on the cockpit coamings, and put in a water alarm on our new, easy-to-change Racor diesel filter.  Also, since we got back from the Bahamas, we installed a new exhaust outlet with a flapper valve to retard water back filling.  Also we installed the gooseneck pictured below which should make siphoning more difficult:

That leaves us to deal with the potential of salt water siphoning from the engine salt water intake and flooding the engine.  Closing the engine seacock while the engine is not in use is one alternative, but our boat shares a seacock with the head for flushing with salt water.  Thus, we will probably look to install a vented loop between the salt water pump and the heat exchanger before we set off.

Replacing an engine on a small Pacific island, is a huge expense and headache that any boat owner will want to avoid.  None of these preventive measure is 100 percent effective, but they increase the odds that your first ocean crossing is not your last.

The Wrong Gift for Poseidon

Here is a the Gulf Stream crossing chapter.  I gave the sea god something he did not want, and I paid for it.  Like all Greek tragedies, you are inserted into the mayhem with little introduction.  In Chapter 20 of Slow Boat to the Bahamas, it is just me and my faithful toy poodle battling the elements while my daughter and wife plan to join the boat in a few weeks.

Bimini wreck.JPG Slow Boat crew had a great cruise to the Bahamas.  Many of you have put Slow Boat to the Bahamas at the top of the Bahamas Travel Guides and Sailing Narratives bestselling eBook rankings at various times since it launched over a month ago.  If you have read it, let other readers know what you thought of it by posting a quick review on Amazon.  The book is FREE to Kindle Unlimited subscribers and through January 3, 2016, the eBook is HALF PRICE at $4.99.  On January 4, 2016, the eBook price goes back to $9.99.

In 2016, I plan to tell newsletter subscribers more about our travel plans from New Orleans to Mexico, Cuba, and Panama. Nevertheless, a sailboat only has destinations, not schedules, and the best laid plans of sailors often have saltwater splashed all over them.  Many projects are underway for that big trip, and I’ll keep you posted.  In addition, I have already started on the second book, and I hope to let newsletter subscribers sample some early drafts of those chapters.

The Slow Boat crew wishes you fair winds and following seas in 2016!

Kindle Countdown Deal

Create Space SLOW BOAT TO BAHAMAS cover50% off on e-books to ring in the New Year!

From 12:01 A.M. on January 1, 2016, to 11:59 P.M. on January 3, 2016, (New York time), Slow Boat to the Bahamas will be half off and selling for $4.99. On January 4, 2016, at 12:00 A.M. it will go back to its regular price of $9.99. This is our first Kindle countdown deal. You heard it here first!  This promotion only applies to the e-book. The paper book will still be selling at its regular price and is not on sale. TakeSlow Boat to the Bahamas off your wish list in the New Year, and start making the cruise of your dreams a reality.

P.S.  I promised that I would include the free copy of my forthcoming Good Old Boat article“Weightless Water” again in this newsletter. Don’t forget to subscribe to Good Old BoatEnjoy!

Happy New Year from the Slow Boatcrew!

Weightless Water

Faster than the Waiters in Paris

If you are like me, you have too much stuff.  Give your loved one something that encourages him or her to pursue a dream that does not add to the clutter.  Slow Boat to the Bahamas is a funny look at getting the sailing bug, preparing for, and going on the big trip with a four year old and a four pound dog. With one or two shipping days until Christmas, you don’t have to give your favorite sailor an expensive gift card.  Thanks to everyone who made the e-book a number 1 bestseller in sailing narratives.  All you need to gift the e-book of Slow Boat to the Bahamas is the e-mail address of the recipient of the gift.   The Kindle e-book costs less than a key chain at West Marine!  You can also get the print version for the paper chart enthusiasts on your boat.

Weightless Water

Nothing that you haul on the boat will be heavier than the 40-pound, 5-gallon, jerry cans of water. If you want to avoid back injuries from lifting a blue container one-handed onto the stern of a pitching boat, you need to find another answer for getting water while on the hook or a mooring. Exclusive to newsletter subscribers is a sneak peak at my Good Old Boat magazine article“Weightless Water.”  You can put a bladder tank system together for about one-tenth the cost and one-twentieth the trouble of the least expensive and simplest desalinator (or watermaker).  I put this system together while cruising the Florida Keys on the way to the first Gulf Stream crossing in the Slow Boat.  Good Old Boat subscriptionsand Slow Boat to the Bahamas are packed with useful stories that will make your cruise go much more smoothly.

Happy Holidays from Slow Boat crew!Waterbladder6