Friday, February 26, 2016

Heading Back to Fort Myers

We didn't go "boating" today as much as we went "surfing and wallowing".  We departed St. Pete's Municipal Marina this morning around 0800, headed out of Tampa Bay and then south on the outside....about 3 miles offshore.  NOAA had forecast seas at 4-to-6 feet, and that was pretty close....with an occasional 7-footer tossed in.  It was a following & quartering sea for the most part, and Ghost Rider's autopilot struggled with heading -- plus or minus 10 degrees was the norm today.

Lumpy Water
The good news is that we had the auto-nav function working today, and we were the only boat out there, so it wasn't like our meandering path was all that concerning, although it did make dodging the (sometimes numerous) crab pots quite the guessing game.

I learned something valuable today -- I should make my breakfast before we depart the bay and head outside. Plus we need to do a better job of securing stuff stored in the SubZero fridge; the crashing noises coming from the inside of that thing whenever we surfed off the top of that occasional 7-footer was disconcerting.  We elected not to open the fridge door until we tied up at Venice late this afternoon.  Surprisingly nothing had broken, and we managed to catch the few things that did fall out when we opened it.

Some boat stuff:

  • We reduced but did not quite eliminate the slow-drip leak coming from the main engine's transmission; more work to do there.
  • Located and fixed the coolant leak coming from the front of the wing engine; thankfully it was just a loose hose bracket and not the water pump.
  • The stabilizers worked well (and hard today); didn't even think about comparing the ride "off" vs. "on".
  • The autopilot definitely needs some tuning for following sea conditions; need to study the Simrad book.
  • Big problem:  the main engine won't get past 2000 RPM under WOT; it also vibrated and we had some smoke in the engine room (yikes!)
That smoke cleared as soon as we quickly backed the revs down to normal cruise. It's a puzzling problem, as the boat ran perfectly at 7.4 to 8.1 knots today at 1680 RPM with no issues whatsoever. I've got some calls & emails out to our diesel guys to see if we can get some troubleshooting help. More to come.

(Edit 2/27....this morning we changed both the primary (Racor) fuel filter as well as the secondary (on-engine) fuel filter, and that completely resolved our WOT issues on the main engine. Yay.)