Tuesday, February 2, 2010


For non boaty people I have to explain that Elephants Child has what is called a "wet exhaust system" which means that when it is running normally quite a lot of water splashes out of the exhaust. So when I had pulled up the anchor and was just turning arond in the crowded Norman Island anchorage to leave and heard no water splashing out I knew something was up so spun around, reanchored and stopped the engine.

A few minutes checking showed the intake was clear the filter was clear and water was getting to the pump so I thought it would be the rubber impeller and I knew I spare ones so set about taking the pump off. But as I put my hand on the pulley it became clear that it was not going to be that easy. The pulley was wobbly and the bolt was missing. It actually came off in my hand as I moved it

I soon had it off and it was not good. It had been loose for some time and had chewed up both the shaft and the pulley. I knew I spares for most things, the previous owners were very good in that respect but had not seen a complete pump although I had noted a spare used pulley.

The boxes came out and I found that yes I had a pulley but it was damaged too but useable at a push. However the bad news was the pump spares did not include the shaft, the one thing I needed. What to do?

The anchorage cleared our as the charter boats charged off to the next stop on their frenetic six day trip. I could whistle up a water taxi and jump across to Tortola but I had no idea if it would be a case of order and wait for it to be Fedexed down. I had not had to do that with Carpe Diem. Thinking back to Carpe Diem my previous boat I reassured myself that I did know how to sail off from anchor and anchor from sail too. The engine could be run for a minute or two without overheating if I got into trouble.

So it was up with the main, up with the anchor and it was all a bit of a non event as we fell back on to the correct tack and under main alone proved to be easy to handle. The genoa was unfurled and we were off. Tacking was more difficult than I expected. Note to self remove inner forestay if tacking is on the agenda. The big genoa got hung up on the forestay and was very difficult to muscle around. These sails are a lot bigger than I had on Carpe Diem.

Still we made it into Road Town and anchored off the ferry dock after a look at the more protected inner anchorage. It was Sunday so there was little point in going looking for spares.

Found a new pump on Monday at a Road Town Perkins Dealer and fitted the better of the two pulleys and it works, copious rain comes from the exhaust pipe!

But it is not a "proper job" I need to find a new pulley. Now I knew that the engine although a Perkins by name is actually made by Mazda and had checked to see if tings like pistons and gasket sets are available but it turns out that the pulley is not available.

The pulley I have on might do if I got a new keyway cut 180 dgrees from the old but the original one needed some skilled machining to be useable.

It turns out that there is a small engineering company run by a skilled Scot so I am off there tomorrow after what I hope is a non rolly night in the inner yacht basin just off the Moorings base.

I have had the VHF on all day earwigging on the traffic between the charters and the Moorings fleet of high speed repair boats, most entertaining.

1 comment:

  1. I hope this is just part of the bedding in period, not a harborer of things to come. Still it hones your sailing skills again. If you are going to be doing much single handed sailing me thinks it is time to get the reefing lines led back to the cockpit.