Last episode, we had issues with our centerboard, which were — surprise! — caused by yours truly. We ended up running aground, because unbeknownst to us, our board had dropped down; the temporary line we had slung under the boat to hold the board up had slipped off the keel. After building a new mast plug to properly crank the board back up into the trunk, we had to haul out to free the stuck centerboard pennant. This whole ordeal turned out to be Bad Thing #1. Finally, all was well, and we were back on the river, heading south.
The mast unstepping and haul out had us feeling pretty ragged, and in desperate need of a hot shower. We arrived at our first marina only to find they had no such thing, only port-a-potties. They did have diesel, so we quickly filled up and rushed off to the next marina with water, forgetting to put the fuel cap back on the deck fill. This led to Bad Thing #2.
At the next marina, Kirk thought it would be a good idea to clean the boat, as she was incredibly dirty after spending three days in the boat yard under the Skyway Bridge. With the fuel cap still off, this meant all the water he sprayed was washing right down the deck and into the fuel tank. *Facepalm.
Water in our fuel was very very bad. The guys in the service center at the marina told us if it was a small amount of water, we could probably get away with replacing our fuel filter and all would be well. We set about changing the filter — for our first time ever.
After the swap, we started the engine, and it fired right up! We ran it for 30 minutes, and this, we read, should mean we’re in the clear. As this took us the better part of the afternoon to figure out how to change the filter, we decided to continue our journey the next morning. We spent the evening applying sound deadening material to our engine room.
The next morning, we fired up the engine (again!) and set off south. We made it 1/4 of a mile… and the engine DIED. Bad Thing #3. We drifted, slowly losing steering. Kirk threw the dinghy in the water and rowed us the last few hundred feet toward a dock, but before we could get there, we ran aground, again.
What did we do wrong? Why wouldn’t the engine start? We wracked our brains. You need three things to run a diesel engine: compression, oxygen and fuel. Kirk knew it couldn’t be the first two — we didn’t change anything with those. It had to be a fuel problem, but we had ran the engine for a half hour already. How could there still be air in the lines? We tried bleeding them again, to no avail.
Then, we remembered towing was included in our insurance coverage, and we figured, this is as good of time as any to call for a tow. An hour later, an incredibly nice tow boat operator from BoatUS brought us back to the marina we had just left. Now, to figure out why the engine wouldn’t start…
We’ll let you watch to find out what happens. ;)
Hope you enjoy!
Lauren & Kirk
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