Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2008 07:05:23 -0800




 Subject: RE: Engine failure on Eclectic Lady


 Dear Jim,

 Thank you for your response. We have secured "Eclectic Lady" in Fisher's Bay with a second anchor, as requested by Sherman, and tied the dinghy (Betty Jane) to Grabber's dock on the beach at the high tide line. 


 Before we left "Eclectic Lady" I inspected her hull below the waterline and saw nothing amiss. I could not see anything clogging the intake for the head, so that problem is either mechanical or internal. We were not supplied with a bucket and brush for cleaning the deck, so we made due with a pitcher we found onboard. Another problem to report from our first day of sailing was the port reefing line was not secured on the mainsail, so when we hauled it tight, the line came through the boom. The line is now coiled and stowed in the cabin.


 When you inspect the engine, you will find that we added very few hours (perhaps less than one hour). To help your diagnosis of the engine, I will describe the symptoms as they arose. 


 I have a "go slow" policy, particularly in unfamiliar waters, so I doubt that we ever reach full throttle. You may recall that the throttle on "Eclectic Lady" is somewhat sticky, so that it is difficult to push it to full. A nice, though accidental, safety feature.


 After Sherman replaced the engine battery, we started the engine and completed our final preparations for departure. We motored through Hope Town Harbor at nearly idle to quarter speed to maintain steerage in the wind, and increased to half speed as we rounded the corner of the entrance channel. At about the second green channel buoy in, I slowly increased to about 3/4 speed, and this is were we first lost power. It sounded like a simple rundown, like a lack of fuel. We quickly dropped anchor to stop our drift, and fortunately the engine restarted in the first try. We then continued at half speed out of the channel and raised our main.


 On Christmas eve, the wind was SE at about 15-20, making for a comfortable reach towards Man-O-War. With such a favorable wind, we needed no help from the engine. Shortly after we raised the sail and confirmed the safety of the rigging (the main boom catches on the back stay on jibes, but otherwise all is sound), we shut down the engine. We proceeded under mainsail alone for an hour or so. 


 When we reached the entrance to our intended anchorage, we dropped the main and started the engine, and ran at idle speed until we lowered and secured the mainsail. Since the engine had failed as I increased beyond half speed, and since we were entering unfamiliar waters, I kept the engine speed slow. However, within 15 minutes, the engine failed. We dropped anchor immediately, and worked on getting the engine reliably running to try and pull in to a more sheltered position. Several starts-and-sputters later, we weighed anchor and made for safer water. Unfortunately, the engine failed within a few minutes and we dropped anchor again for the night. 


 After several more attempts, the engine would not turn over, and the indicator lights were too ambiguous to diagnose the problem. Although I have several thousand miles of experience under sail, I am not a mechanic. I expect that you and Sherman will be able to find the problem, and resolve that the engine failure was not due to our mishandling of the vessel. 


 We tried to reach ABC on Ch 16 while we were anchored at Man-O-War, and went ashore to get an internet connection to contact our only email contact that we had. We were not given a land line contact number. We had been informed by Sherman that we would not get help from ABC until after Boxing Day, so to bring the boat to a safer anchorage for the next 2 nights, we sailed without the engine to Fisher's Bay. When we arrived at Guana Cay on Christmas, we attempted Ch 16 again, but as you mention, we were likely out of range. By Boxing Day morning, we were out of electrical power, so we went ashore, and Orchid Bay Marina attempted to contact ABC by radio on our behalf. They also looked up the ABC contact number, but it was the number of the previous management. On the 27th, We attempted contact again on Dec 27th, by all means that people here could think of, and finally made contact on the 28th. 


 I am happy to hear that you will handle this matter as quickly as possible and trust that we will have fair treatment. Please keep me informed of your progress, and we will continue to be in contact by email.

 Regards, Patrick


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