"There is nothing more pleasant than cruising on a boat with the whole family."
Letter from Empress Catherine the Great

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

May 16 -18 -- Committee Boat Service and Not Much Else Useful

At the work party, PC Jeep asked if I would use ILENE as the committee boat for the race of the fleet of J-24s on Wednesday night.  I did not figure on the rain and said yes. And racers do not let rain cancel their plans. Jeep and the other three members of the crew of Jeepers came on board and wined and dined themselves and me -- generously -- once the flag for the starting line and ILENE's anchor were both set. They knew what they were doing and once situated, I had only to observe, learn, eat, drink and enjoy their company and the compliments they gave to ILENE. Three matched competitors (no need to calculate  handicaps!) sailed two races and then it was time to pick up the flag floating at the other end of the start/finish line and head back to the mooring.

That's when the trouble set in. When I turned the key, instead of the gentle hum of the engine there was nothing but a click. I tried several times but no luck. Jeep helped me tear a lot of stuff out of the aft cabin so we could look down into the engine. This had happened seven years ago when we were leaving Boqueron, Puerto Rico. Then it was a loose wire to the starter. So I figured that was probably the problem again. But in the dark, in the rain and with a weak flashlight, I could not solve the problem and hence resolved to sail back to the mooring using main and small jib. We tried to pick up the flag before we left. And we did pick it up, but not in the manner intended. Rather, we missed it and saw, when we got back to our home and made some turns, that it then popped up. So we had dragged its small anchor for about a mile across Eastchester Bay. No wonder ILENE's performance was sluggish! We did sail and hence this little escapade goes into the books as a "sail" day. Near our mooring we realized that it was too dark for us to pick it out in the dark, at the beginning of the season, with its new neighbors not yet present. So we called the launch and were towed and dropped anchor in the field.

When I got to the boat Thursday, our launch operators had already moved ILENE onto her correct mooring ball, 30 yards away. I checked the engine drawings in the manual and using flashlight with freshly recharged batteries, quickly found the problem.
What you see here to the right is the port side of the engine. To its left, the larger, lower cylinder is the starter motor and the smaller higher one is the solenoid. The red, medium diameter wire with the yellow clip at its right end is the errant one. It was hanging loose. It had to be slid back onto the tang protruding from the forward end of the solenoid. Then the key's turn created the blissful hum immediately. For the future, though once per seven years may seem like it is not a big problem, I want to crimp the terminal more firmly so it applies more friction and is less likely to slide off.

Friday was scheduled for a work day: to scrub the dirt off ILENE's deck in anticipation of compounding and waxing it. But it turned out to be an "Other" day due to time. I took Mendy to work on Ohana's freeboard but Lene used the car in the morning and then Mendy was a bit late, traffic has unusually heavy we had a brown bag lunch and after dropping off Mendy at the Morris YC and driving back to the Harlem (less than ten minutes), I discovered that I had not given Mendy the magic erasers he needed and had to drive back to give them to him. By the time I was back at the Harlem and ready to go, there was not enough time before the launch stopped running at 4 pm to take a round trip launch ride, rig up the mooring lines and fenders, drive the boat to the dock and back and also to wash her at the dock. So I had the pleasure of a bit of goof of time on the island before picking up Mendy to head for home. The work will wait.

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