I’m tied against the pontoon in Napier with 20kn of wind (30 odd outside the harbour) giving a 15 degree list on Sirens’ Song. I love being tucked up cosy on windy days, reading a book and getting my laundry done.
The week started out with so much promise (finally heading for Cook Straight), but has ended on a bit of a downer due to gremlins in my engine…
Before rounding East Cape (imaginatively named because it is the easternmost point of NZ), I had found some coolant liquid in my drip tray below the engine. It was one of the reasons I delayed rounding the cape until favourable tides and winds. I thought I had sorted it by cutting off the end of a slightly delaminated hose and re attaching it, but NO.
Next thing, the engine note changed so I did a thorough inspection and found a loose bolt on the engine mount. I felt around underneath and decided that shims had deteriorated so jacked the engine up with my bench clamp (on its side and mounted on a soon to be ruined nice piece of teak). I then fashioned 6 half shims out of aluminium labels and inserted them under the engine block and tightened it all down. The engine was still making a racket (obviously not aligned) so I jacked it up again, removed the shims and tightened down the engine mount bolt – this seemed to work. The nearest port was Gisborne (about 100 miles away) so I pulled in there for repairs.
My heat exchanger was holed (that was the real source of the leak) so I decided to braise that, re-weld the engine mount for the exchanger and sort out the engine alignment. The guys at Harbour Marine in Gisborne sorted this all out for me quick sharp for a very reasonable fee.
I got on my way again, on a tight weather forecast for getting to Wellington before 35 knot winds arrived. The trip should have taken 2-3 days. After a 6.30 am start with light winds and motoring all day, I turned off the engine for some peace over dinner. I am in the habit of usually doing an engine check every time I start the engine – I start at the top and work my way down:
Glass fuel filter bowl – clear; Oil engine cap – clean; Injector heads – dry and tight; Belt – tight and no dust; water pump – no leaks; coolant drain – no drips; salt water filter – clean no drips; stern tube – clean, occasional drip…what’s that….my newly welded exchanger bracket had sheared in two – there was a sharp edge rubbing on the gearbox and the exchanger was kinking a pipe it was sagging so much…
This was bad news, more delays. I turned around and sailed into the wind and back on myself towards Napier whilst doing a supportive repair. Eta was 2am so I called ahead and booked a berth at the council pier.
With a tired and fuzzy head at 2.30am I tied bow to the wall with lines out to two piles. I sat and had a glass of wine feeling a little beat but having enjoyed the pilotage and night sail through to the harbour. I LOVE coming into somewhere completely new, and I LOVE doing it at night, so I was strangely happy but pissed off at the same time.
Napier has turned out to be a fabulous place with the guy refusing money after welding my bracket – I’ll buy him beers tonight. I have moved over to the yacht club pontoon where the staff are so so friendly. There’s laundry and a bar and there are great little pub/restaurants just round the corner.
Next step is to leave on Sunday I think (weather gods willing). Keep an eye on the tracker on this site to see where I end up as I might be out of signal for a while.