Voyaging – Off Fort Bragg

It’s 2000. Everything is shut down for night vision. I hate having to be in the dark, but it goes with the territory!

There is a fog bank off to the west. Captain thinks we will out run it. It would be the first time we did this part of the coast – headed south, and this is our fifth time, and not have fog on this leg. We will just have to see – or not see – as the case may be.

We had a good run today. I must get getting “saltier”. It wasn’t flat for the first half, but I still thought it was a pretty day. And, after my afternoon nap, the seas and the winds had died down, and making dinner was no problem.

I know I bore you with our dedicated maintenance. How we have uneventful trips. How we do the best we can to have an almost perfect running boat. No matter how hard we dedicated boaters work at preventative maintenance, there is still an off chance that something could go awry. But, even then, if you have properly maintained the boat and have spare parts, odds are you can fix or repair whatever has failed.

On our last leg, we had problems with our fuel. We knew it was due to the last fueling, because we are dedicated to stripping our tanks, and had done so before we started out voyaging this summer. No, this was the result of fresh fuel that had gunk in it. Most likely we ended up getting the last of a tank, ending up with the bitter of end of an unclean fuel tank ashore. Bruce installed vacuum gauges on all the primary Racor fuel filter bodies a year ago. It totally bugged him that he couldn’t see what was happening, knowing that the fuel filters can plug, and if they failed the consequences could be deadly – to the engine! Several hours into our trip from Newport to Eureka he watched the vacuum gauge gradually rise, to the point where he switched to the backup fuel filter, and awhile later switched the fuel filter on the other engine. While in Eureka he changed out the filters, hoping that the worst of whatever we took aboard had been caught with the first and second defense fuel filters. Late this afternoon, I was in the galley beginning to prepare dinner. I had the window over the stove open. Bruce came aft, lifted his nose to the air, “I smell diesel!”. Hm, really? Sniff sniff. He dashed to the engine room, me to the helm. He was back in a flash, bringing both engines to neutral, then shutting down the port main engine. There was a pin point size hole in the new secondary fuel filter, and it was spraying diesel. It had to have just started. He had been in the engine room just a half hour before.

So, no problem! We took the RPM on the starboard main engine to about 1250 and I drove. To drive straight with only the starboard main engine I had to keep about 7 degrees of right rudder on. I did it! My son said he was proud of me. Heck! I AM PROUD OF ME! šŸ™‚

Within half an hour, both engines were back up and running. No harm done, very little fuel sprayed,most of it cleaned up and we went on our way with a current of 8.7 knots! Nice.

Safe passage is a combination of proper preventative maintenance, all the information you can afford – like the vacuum gauges to help you see what is happening, and watching, smelling, and listening. I am very grateful for a Captain/Chief Engineer that is totally dedicated to our safe and successful passages.

Note – This was typed partially with no light, and partially with my red flashlight held in my mouth. Please be kind in noting typos, and etc. errors! šŸ™‚

We have the Point Cabrillo light flashing in our faces. We can see commercial fishing boats off to the west.

Oh! And look up – ALL those stars! Haven’t seen the stars out like this in ages. Nice! I really love voyaging with the moon, but the stars are a nice alternative.

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