I’m not sure this actually feels like cruising yet, but I guess by definition it is. Our third night after leaving Lake Union, and our third spot to spend the night. And we have already had a big boat project we didn’t expect. So yes, this is cruising, but I suspect I’ll feel more like a real cruiser after a couple nights at sea once we finally turn the corner and head south.
After our night at Bainbridge Island, I met David in Seattle and we went back to the boat and started north. It didn’t take long to decide we needed to pull into Shilshole and pick up a few last items, and also Stuart was kind enough to pick up a couple charts of Southern California that may come in handy and bring them down for us. About this time the fun really began when I noticed that my likes to run about 10 degrees hotter than it should engine was running about 45 degrees to hot. We limped into Shilshole and I sucked it up enough by a few gallons of gas just so we could stop at a dock. After fueling up across from the very impressive tall ship Lady Washington, we snuck into a guest slip, unloaded the lazerrete and started in on the engine. It was quite low on coolant so we filled it up, didn’t see anything else wrong, and set out for parts north again, about 7:00 pm, and quickly discovered we hadn’t fixed the massive overheating issue. I should have made the call to turn around, but I spoke with a mechanic I know up north and thought if we could make it close to him he could take a look at it for us. Originally we were thinking Anacortes, and had a nice southerly taking us north. But after weighing some factors, like a lack of anchorages up the west side of Whidbey Island, the current late hour and the distance Anacortes, we decided to aim for Everett.
David had been up since 4:00 am, so he took a turn sleeping while I drove for a bit, then Jenn took the helm while I curled up in the cockpit with the instructions to wake me with any questions. And she did, but I still got some napping in till I took back over to drive us into Everett’s marina section, with some nerve wrackingly close sailing to the Naval Base. After passing it we spotted what looked like guest moorage, gybed in the channel between the breakwater and dock, and slid right up to a side tie. At 2:00 am it seemed a little late to tackle the engine so it was off to bed for everyone.
Tuesday morning we discussed possible problems and inspected the engine again with no luck. David was able to use his autoparts account to get a pressure tester delivered to the marina. Our working theory was the boat was loosing coolant out the heat exchanger or water cooled exhaust manifold. Pressure tester in hand we began trying to figure out where the leak was occurring. In the end we found one hose with a slight trickle of a leak, took it off and cleaned up the contact point, clampted it back down, and began running the motor. After both idle and running in gear at the dock for over half an hour, the engine was running at normal temps, not even the slightly high temperature it had been running at. Fingers crossed, we cast off in mid afternoon, and finally started heading south. So we could clear the south end of Whidbey Island and start back north again (I swear, someday I’ll be heading south for real.) Sadly it was a light northerly wind, so we motored to Port Townsend with me making frequent nervous checks on the engine temperature. Although the gauge in the cockpit continues to read wildly high, the laser thermometer never showed more than the low 180s, right where it belongs.
Although I suspect I’ll remain skeptical and continue to check temperature for years, right now it looks like we may have not just solved the big overheating issue, but the minor one too. I kind of wish we had found something more obvious wrong, although I’m happy not replacing a $400 plus part. So a day of cruising, a night of moorage on the Everett dock and a leak pressure tester may be a pretty good deal for an engine that doesn’t overheat.
As we reproached Port Townsend, we heard small craft advisories on the Straight for tonight, with a 25 knot westerly forecast. Suddenly a night in PT sounded pretty good! We should be able to get a good nights sleep, stock up on a few last minute groceries and fuel up in the morning before tackling the straight which hopefully will have calmed down by then. While I may change my mind once I get there, I’m eager to get out in the Pacific and start clicking off miles in the right direction.
For some reason WordPress doesn’t want to upload pictures right now, so I’ll try to catch up on them later. Right now it is off to the fuel dock to top off, and out into the Straight. This might be my last update for awhile, but if I get internet somewhere I’ll try to write another entry.