1st Quarter of 2013 by the Numbers

We’ve been on the boat for just over 9 months now so without further ado, here are the numbers for January – March 2013.

How we got here
Miles travelled – 1012 nm
Hours spent motoring – 76.2
Total days underway – 30
Average Distance travelled per day – 11 nm
Average Distance travelled per underway day- 34 nm
Average hours of engine time per day – 0.8 hours
Approximate miles of motoring – 380 nm
Approximate miles of Sailing – 632 nm
Longest passage – 77 hours / 277.6 nm
Shortest Passage – 120 minutes/ 8.7 nm
Nights at a dock – 2
Nights on a mooring – 15
Nights at anchor – 73

What it cost

Total amount spent – $2,964
Total amount budgeted – $6000
$ per Day – $33
$ spent on Groceries -$1,432
$ spent on boat upgrades/maintenance – $109
$ on “utilities” propane, cellphone, Ice, etc – $175
$ on Diesel – $413
$ for entertainment (not restaurants)- $69
$ spent eating out – $428
$ spent on moorings/dockage – $234

I finally have gotten to start using my new pole spear to help supplement dinner, and have been having a great time. Most, but not all of the fish caught were speared.
Number of fish caught
Spiny Lobster – 5
Porgies – 4
Conch – 3
Snapper – 12
Grunts – 4
Grouper – 2
Lionfish – 6

Bycatch – creatures that for whatever reason were captured and then released
Remoras – 2
Conch – 4
Yellowtail Jack – 1

Total money spent on fishing equip ( from entertainment category) – $10
Estimate of money saved on fish meals – $ 360

Miscellaneous happenings
10 – Number of new visitors to the boat
2 – Countries Visited (USA, Bahamas)

We hope you enjoyed this random selection of Rode Trip facts and figures.

Engine Update

This blog post gives a summary of what was ACTUALLY wrong with our engine leading up to this point. It conveniently compresses two weeks of troubleshooting down into one post. If only I had read this post before starting the process…

When we suspected that our raw water pump was leaking into the engine the first step was to disconnect the pump from the engine so that no more water would get in. I continued to monitor the engine oil level even though we weren’t running the engine while waiting for the new pump. Even with raw water pump separated from the engine our oil level continued to rise! This meant that we must be getting water in through our exhaust system. As soon as I disconnected the exhaust hose leading to our muffler I found our “smoking gun”. I had finally found the real problem. The exhaust hose was full of water and it was at a level high enough to be running into our exhaust.

The short version of this problem is that the exhaust system was installed improperly, and has been allowing saltwater into our engine for a long time.

The long version is that three things were wrong at the same time which allowed water to backfill into the engine.
1. There was no anti-siphon loop on the water injection into the exhaust. This should have been installed with the engine.
2. The water lift muffler was mounted higher than the exhaust outlet. This is supposed to be at least a foot lower.
3. Our raw water pump was allowing a trickle of water to leak by when the engine was off.
The combination of these three items allowed the water into our engine.

This video shows these parts of our engine.

Once the problem was located we took steps to fix the situation. All of our resources indicated that with this much water coming in through the exhaust our engine should be at a high risk of “hydrolock”. Hydrolock is when one or more cylinders inside the engine are filled with water and since the water can’t be compressed the engine can’t turn over. Not wanting to do any damage to the engine trying to start it. I disconnected the exhaust system from the engine, and flushed the oil system. I moved the oil through the engine by turning the engine over by hand using a large wrench. After cleaning the lubrication system thoroughly we refilled the engine oil including a dose of Marvel Mystery Oil an oil additive designed to help clean the engine. I reconnected the muffler at a level lower than the engine exhaust and ran the engine long enough to get it up to temperature and drive out any residual moisture. The engine started much easier and ran smoothly!

An Endeavor 37 here in St. Mary’s also has a Perkins 4.108 and we went over and listened to his engine to make sure ours wasn’t make any highly unusual noises. The owner Josh was nice enough to start his engine up for us and let us listen at a variety of RPM’s. Josh’s engine was just as loud as ours, and sounded nearly the same!

After I setup a proper exhaust system our engine will be running better than ever. Hopefully having saltwater in the system hasn’t added too much wear to the engine.

Why the holdup?

To answer the question that I am sure all of you blog readers are asking…no we have not moved in to St. Mary’s, GA permanently. Very soon we plan on getting underway again and heading for the Bahamian islands.

Our engine has been continuing to exhibit some strange behavior with very inconsistent oil levels. It would go up for a little while and then it would go back down, and we decided to take a little bit of time to get it completely sorted out before we leave the country. The engine troubleshooting indicated that our oil level would go up while the engine was not running, so we found a good secure anchorage next to our friends on Anthyllide and proceeded to not run the engine. After about a week the oil level had risen very significantly, so it was time to drain the oil and see what was in our oil pan other than oil.

We managed to pull out this liquid


This is water that was sitting in the bottom of our engine oil pan! YIKES! Thankfully we didn’t run the engine with this much water in there, but it indicated that we have been collecting saltwater and then evaporating it out of the oil for a while now.

The good news about having water in the oil is that there are very very few options for how it can get there. The mostly likely cause is our cooling water pump. It bolts on to the front of the engine and has the possibility that if seals fail then it can leak into the timing case on the engine.

We had a problem with this pump dripping previously and a rebuild had appeared to fix the problem, however now it looks like the rebuild just changed the location of the drip to a location where we couldn’t see it. We currently have a disabled engine, but have a brand new raw water pump in the mail. While it is shipping we are going to continue to monitor our engine oil level to make sure that disconnecting this pump actually fixed the problem.

After identifying the fact that we had salt water in our oil we changed the oil and oil filter twice to try and remove any salt from the system. After we reinstall the new pump we will run the engine for about 25 hours ( not continuously) and then change the oil one more time. Hopefully this will end our engine excitement for a long time!

Meanwhile we are enjoying the reasonably warm weather here in St. Mary’s. The town is full of very friendly people who have made us feel very welcome here. We even met another boat registered out of Portsmouth. The owner Ron has sailed his 33ft steel boat around the world in the high latitudes around Cape Horn. He has amazing stories and is giving up cruising (at least temporarily) to bike around the United States. If anyone is looking to join us we can check out his boat for you…I’m sure we could delay another week before we get under way.