April Fool’s Day, 01.04.2019

April Fool’s Day, or April Fools’ Day if the plural is intended.  But since I am talking about myself, it is singular.  Traditionally a day for hoaxes and jokes to suck in the gullible, this year, it has marked me with a “kick me” sign on my derriere.   

We have been experiencing a beautiful spring with lots of sunny weather.  It gets chilly at night, dipping near freezing but the days are warm and the whole town has been in a rush to get everything going for spring.  I’m no different and as a result Leda is back in front of the house in Tee Harbor a month earlier than planned.  It hasn’t been without a price.

I spent the last few weeks going over the motor on the boat.  I rebuilt the raw water pump.  Pulled off the starter for inspection and servicing.  I made some changes in the plumbing for the cooling system that allow better access to the sides of the motor.  I went through the fuel system and replaced seals and made a few changes.  I encounter a number of problems with making all of this work and not a few headaches, some cut and bleeding knuckles and over used my quota of swear words.  It is after all a boat!  What I was most proud of was making an oil pressure manifold that is connected to the engine oil port with brake line so that all of my sensors and gauges are in a spot where I can access them.  I needed a new buzzer for my oil alarm and ordered one.  It will be delivered today.

The harbor here charges by the month, so staying into April was going to cost me for moorage that I didn’t need.  So, the plan developed to take advantage of the nice weather and move the boat to Tee Harbor on the last day of March.  We motored out of Auke Bay and due to last minute preparations on the boat it was rather late in the day.  We were debating as to whether or not to sail or just motor and get the job done.  

It was about the time that we cleared Auke Bay and started into Favorite Channel that we lost oil pressure.  Since I had not waited until today, there was no buzzer on the oil pressure to alert us and I was instead alerted when I could hear the lifters rattling on the cam.  The motor was shut down immediately.  

I discovered a burst oil line to the remote oil filter.  About the same effect as a burst aorta.  Immediate loss of pressure and flow.  I did an emergency repair on the line but sadly the motor now has a knock and vibration that is not normal nor is it something that we can recover from without tearing the motor down.  

It’s a Perkins 4.107.  A great little motor and worth saving.  I think.  I hope.  This changes the plans for spring and summer.  I need to work this project into the line-up of spring projects and see what happens next.  I won’t really know more until after a good inspection.  

It’s very depressing to have this occur after spending a couple of weeks going over the motor.  I will have a better look at the oil line and see if I can determine a cause of the failure but replacing those oil lines would have been a good thing to add to my list of updates.  It’s easy to say that now.  When things like this happen, I always feel like it is my failure to have predicted and prevented it.  Well it is, isn’t it?  It’s ironic that my oil alarm buzzer arrives in the mail today.  It is set up to go off if the pressure drops to 15-pounds.  It might have been enough time to save the motor.  Probably would have been.  So often we learn lessons that we didn’t need.  I already knew that an alarm that went off before zero pressure was reached was a good idea.  

On the bright side, I will have a chance to refresh the entire motor.  The bilge is a mess.  So I will get to clean that up as well.  I’m still planning to write up the lessons learned and the things I’ve discovered after 20-years of having the boat out sailing.  I’m not sure yet of what the final lessons are from this experience.  It usually takes a while to figure that out.

We did sail home after all.  It was not as much fun as it might have been.  We managed to dock the boat under sail, which is a good accomplishment but was not celebrated much.  We were tired, hungry and sad over this latest development.  Today is April Fool’s Day.  But this is not a joke!