Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Life on a Sailboat. Problems and Postcards.

I am writing this entry from the mooring field in Ft. Meyers Beach, Florida. We are very well protected. The big northern that brought snow to the northern US, has just arrived. Even though we have some gusty winds, and the temps may plummet to the high 50's, all is good. Before I can write about how we got to Ft. Meyers Beach, I have to go back about a week...

In my last entry, I told you about some problems we were having with our dingy motor. A dingy is very important in this lifestyle. It is your primary means of transportation after you drop the hook to get to shore to enjoy the place you have sailed to. Without a working dingy, you are stuck on the boat.

We are OK in small spaces, so we are fine just hanging out reading a book or writing, but it can get old after a few days.

On November 8, I got up and got to work. I do have a fair amount of experience working on small motors. Racing motorcycles for 40 years has been very helpful. My guess was that we had a clogged jet in the carburetor. I watched a Youtube video on how to take it apart and got busy. The main problem is working on the motor over water. You have to be very careful not to drop something. It is not like looking all over the shop floor for a part that has found a hiding spot. The good news is that it was a calm day and I did not drop anything into the bay. I got the carburetor off and took it apart and my guess was correct. I was able to use a bread tie to clear the very small opening in the jet and then reassembled it. It still did not run correctly. I checked a number of other things including the fuel line, but no luck. I then took the carburetor back off again because you always have to do things twice on a boat. After putting it back on the second time, it worked!

They say cruising is doing boat work in exotic places. Here is proof positive. Beautiful bay, perfect day, working on a carburetor.
It worked for a short time and then it died again, but this time it seemed to be running out of fuel. I played with the fuel line and got it working but I had no confidence in it. I decided to put the dingy up on the davits and have it ready for our next travel day. The weather was gong to get bad anyway. I would rather put the dingy up in good weather. We would be stuck on the boat until we sailed to Fort Meyers. The weather looked good for a move on the 11th of November. 

A northern was coming in the next day, so we just hunkered down and waited it out. We had pretty good protection, but it did get pretty rolly when the wind was out of the direct north, but it was mostly from the NE. The anchor held and we were mostly comfortable.

Our batteries needed some help, so I decided to run the diesel for an hour or so. The bad news is that while checking the engine, I found a sea water leak. It was a slow leak coming from the sea strainer. No problem, I had purchased a rebuild kit. I pulled it off and replaced all of the gaskets, but it still leaked. That is when I noticed a crack in the sight glass. It will be fine for now, but another thing I have to order. 

I was a little frustrated to keep having issues to deal with. I really thought that I had done a good job preparing the boat to not have these kinds of issues. Oh well, at least I know how to rebuild the carb on the outboard and repair a sea strainer.

When weather patterns get unstable, it creates some interesting cloud formations which equates to great sunsets.

I will end this entry there and pick it up with the day we finally left Pelican Bay. Come back to see how that sail and arrival went. It turned out to be a very interesting day.


  1. I have no doubt I would have dropped the whole carb into the ocean. LOL A bread tie? Good ideal! Do you carry a can of compressed air?Glad you got everything under control. Love the photos. Dick & Cathy

    1. No Dick, I do not carry compressed air or even carb cleaner. That is until now. I now have the carb cleaner that would have done the job. It looks like you guys are having fun in Alabama. Miss you.