Launch Day Trials
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Launch Day Trials - May 15, 2010
Mark Johnson and my oldest son, Allen IV, were both very instrumental in launching Kelly IV this past weekend! Without their help, she'd still be high and dry!
Mark came out early Saturday morning, May 15 and stayed the entire day, partly because I stranded him out on Sandusky Bay! The details are that all three of us worked hard to prepare Kelly to be picked up by the travelift, set into the well and have the mast stepped. Jim Zima from Great Lakes Diesel, the guy who sold me my new engine, was also along to get the new engine started for the first time. All was going extremely well, the new motor was purring quietly, so Jim suggested we take her for a spin out on the Bay. Eager to do something, anything, on the water, I quickly and foolishly agreed to his suggestion. I say foolishly because I had done nothing to prepare Kelly for a day on the water, no food, no drinks, no sails, and most importantly, not much fuel. Once the four of us were motoring serenly out of the marina, I mentioned that "Guy" (Warren Stewart) and I had emptied most of the fuel out of the tank while cleaning it in advance of the new motor. So I said we needed to get fill the tank.
About halfway across the Bay towards the fuel dock at battery Park Marina, the new engine suddenly quit.
Having Jim on board was terrific as he has the skillset to quickly diagnose the problem and he sonn declared that no fuel was getting to the engine. We assumed that the tank had much less fuel than I recalled, so we now had to get ourselves to the fuel dock. After sharing the news that I had left the mainsail and jib in my car, the crew was contemplating mutiny. Then it dawned on me that I had already put the new (to me) Drifter on board a month or so earlier. I went rooting through the mess down below and came up with the untried drifter. As there was only a light breeze, it was the perfect sail. Allen IV and Mark set the sail precisely and trimmed her to a "T" as the "new" sail gently pushed us along at a gentlemanly stroll of 2 knots. It now looked like we could make the fuel dock.
At least it seemed OK until the wind died completely.
It turns out that Jim has clents and customers everywhere. We spoke with a few sailboats going our way and finally found a kind lady sailor who had been a customer of Jim's in a past experience. She agreed to tow us if Jim went aboard and helped her, as she was motoring solo at the time. The tow finally got us to the fuel dock where we filled the tank with only 8 gallons of diesel. Given a 20 gallon tank, it was clear that we had not run out of fuel after all. Jim bled the fuel lines and we were underway again, but only for 15 to 20 minutes when the engine was starved for fuel again. After chasing it down, Jim was able to confirm that the 30 year old fuel pickup tube in the tank wasn't working. He jury rigged the tank by inserting the fuel line directly into the tank and our starved Yanmar motor suddenly was purring beautifully again.
Jim has installed a new pickup tube in the tank this week so everything should be ready for a final sea trial this Saturday. Mark and Allen IV worked all around the boat the rest of the afternoon as we emptied the car of sails, bent on the mainsail, cleared out the v-berth and both cabin berths, tested the new solar vents, reviewed and tested much of the new electrical system, cleaned out the bilge and tested the backup bilge pump. We ended the day with a very nice Mexican meal at the Margaritaville restaurant, very well-deserved by both crew!