Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Can’t you help me when I call?

My mom, galley slave extraordinaire


We headed into Landrail Point today on Andy’s brother’s boat. My mom’s flying out tomorrow morning, quelle tristesse, and she wanted the luxury of clean hair for her all-day journey. I don’t begrudge her that at all--she’s been a trooper. It’s not every 56-year-old who’d put up with peeing in a bucket, no running water, and no refrigeration for two weeks.

I even think--hope--she’s had a good vacation out of the deal. She got to eat fresh Bahamian conch, lobster, grouper, and snapper--she found a beautiful little reef crawling with rock lobster and big frilly fish, she lounged on the beach and got a lot of sun and saw dolphins and swam with a barracuda. It’s only the plumbing issues, sail manhandling, and scraping bottom growth that make it less than the Bahamian cruise her coworkers imagine.

So we got a room tonight, a splurge, at Pittstown Point Landing, the one genuine resort on the island. It’s fancy, but still cheaper than the ridiculously overpriced Wyndham we were convinced to stay at in Nassau, and, let me tell you, I appreciate it far more now than I did two weeks ago. I am dismayed that they didn’t let us do laundry, even though the scenery is exquisite. I guess it’s not exactly a backpacker-style hostel. We even got to catch up with some old friends: David, the manager, and the Finleys, our neighbors from the Landrail Point anchorage we used last fall, who are just a short walk down the beach.

Then to the real business of the night. My call to Karl. I must admit, I had lobbied a little bit for Pittstown because I knew they’d have internet access. But my call didn’t go through! It’s been blowing 25 knots here all day, and he couldn’t hear me over the wind. I was so depressed after hearing his sad little voice echo “hello, hello,” for a full two minutes that I curled up in bed and didn’t even really enjoy the beautiful room.

I miss my captain. Secret just isn’t the same without him. Nothing’s the same.

Tomorrow morning I have to make my decision about whether or not I’m heading back, and I think I know what my decision is going to be.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mellisa, You may have water in the engine,thats why it will not turn, can't be compressed. Remove the injectors if it's a diesel, or the plugs if its a gas engine. The water will be exhausted out of the holes where they were removed as the engine turns over. Hope this helps. Cheers BillH

Anonymous said...

Mel,
If you haven'ttried this yet...,I have seen engines that seem stuck,but if you take the injectors off and wd40 it,let it set for a day and put a socket on the big nut on the front of the engine w/abreaker bar and standon it,righty tighty,it could free it up. This actually happened to my bother,and the engine worked fine after. Also check the crank case if you haven't yet. Most likely it is not that,but take it out of gear and see if the shaft spins.

if you cant get the injectors open, you could try going through the air intake with the dump vales? I don't know what they call them but they hold the cyliners open, on top of the cylinders open. Then spray the wd in that way.

John

Melissa said...

All of these comments are so cool, because they basically predict exactly what we did. We removed the injectors, sprayed down WD40, and attached a big bar right to the bolts at the front of the engine and stood on it. It was beginning to wiggle, but we didn't get it to actually break free.

I really think, given another week, it would have been purring like a kitten. I knew all along we just wouldn't have enough time.

Thanks everyone for the advice--anyone want to fly down there with me to assist in implementation?

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
Just got back from the Keys this afternoon (July 5)and found your updates.
I have the same Yanmar as you, I think, (2QM 20; you may have a 2QM 30 , but they are essentially the same)
When mine was not run for eight months, it was "seized" and needed to be freed up with oil, done in any of the ways mentioned by others to you, or by spraying WD40 into the air intake.
Be sure to push down the decompression lever on top of the engine. Put it aft and it will slant down a bit.
Then screw several bolts into the threaded holes in the front flywheel (you may have to scavenge and unscrew one or two from the bell housing on the back of the engine, just in front of the transmission).
Then put a bar (borrow it if you have no tire iron sized bars on board. Your dad's 2x4 with two holes in it at the fulcrum would not easily do it)to get leverage on the front flywheel.
I had to stand on mine, rocking slowly back and forth, until it began to give just a little. Add more oil, rock more, add more oil, rock again. Be patient. Keep at it. You will feel it give ever so slightly. Sometimes it takes overnight for the oil to get to the stuck parts. It is worth the wait. "Seizure" here is NOT more than superficial sticking after eight months of not moving. The inside of your engine, however,is protected and is whistle clean, but dry with the thinnest film of rust. It will slowly creek loose, then suddenly begin to move a little more as the oil is able to get on the sliding surfaces, until it finally will begin to turn relatively easily again. Then, leaving the decompression lever pushed back, try to make a hand crank to crank it into life. Get it moving fast, then have another person snap the decompression lever forward suddenly.
Or,get a new solenoid if you can. Or have a mechanic sand your points on your solenoid and starter. Likely they are fine, too.
Above all, don't act like you have ruined your engine. Expect that some repair will get it running again.
You have a common and popular engine. You need to be able to contact a diesel mechanic to ask for the next "tip." What you have is not not uncommon with an engine idle for eight months. Andy should have turned the engine for you. You should have asked him to.
With your experience, probably investing in a tow to the nearest diesel mechanic's town dock would be the most practical thing and put you in the position to get advice from others with Yanmars or any diesel. They abound.
Patience with setbacks and less apochylyptic thoughts will help I think. You simply lack experience, and tend too quickly to Armagedden like thoughts, maybe. Faith brought you here; faith should serve you further.
You can also get a jury rig to attach your sail if you are towed to a town. Be sure to choose a calm day, and be sure to attach the line to your mast, not to your bow cleats. Also, use bowlines set for easy release.
If you ever decide to become a diesel mechanic, it will take an apprenticeship, patience and tips from those with experience. Many would love to have you for a student.
Again, your engine is not seized, but sticking, and will be fine, but you need to get clean fuel into it before running it far.
Hang in there. Karl will be proud and abiding. You have come a long way. Stay stubborn until you get Secret back. Stay faithful to your beloved Secret!

Walter Renn,
Captain, Dancing Star

Melissa said...

Thanks, Walter, for your encouraging advice. Secret's Yanmar is a 3GM30F, similar to the Q series, but slightly different. The Q's in my service manual, so I have the gist of their differences and similarities. I'm mostly pleased with everyone's advice because it makes me feel less aghast at my own naivite: yes, other people leave their boats for eight months, yes, other people's engines "freeze."

We also did leave the engine in the capable hands of Andy and Jorge. The only wrinkle with this plan is that Jorge has about twenty gigantic diesels to work on down at Pittstown, and we most certainly cannot match his budget from down there. Still, I have faith that he can get it running. That's the plan, at least.