After A Month Wait, The Engine Gets Fixed – Just In Time For A Tropical Storm To Overrun Us

By Rich

Sometimes things happen living on a boat that you just couldn’t make up if this blog were pure fiction. Last week, after a month’s wait, it was looking like our repaired diesel injection pump would be fixed near the end of the week. Just as it looked like we might get paroled from Break Down Prison, though, Tropical Storm Henri formed offshore in the Atlantic. Most early models predicted that Henri would take an easterly turn and would not affect the New England coast. Around mid week I got a warning from my friend Glenn that his weather service predicted that many models had under estimated the chances of a New England landfall and that Henri posed a “material threat” to us. We began to consider options for preparation, but there was no certainty the engine would even be fixed before the prospective weekend landfall, so there was no certainty that we had any options to prepare other than removing the sails and canvas. By Thursday the forecasts made a New England landfall look much more likely, so we began calling marinas. We learned that haul outs were first-come-first-serve, and that the only marina that might be able to take us was New England Boat Works (NEB), which was 6 miles north in what used to be called Bend Boat Basin. Ironically, Bend Boat Basin is where my family’s brand new Pearson 40 was delivered to Mathews & Fales, our Pearson dealer, in 1979. On Thursday, NEB said not to leave Newport until they were ready to haul us because there were too many boats converging on the Basin, which meant they had to hold them outside of the basin in the Bay and lead them in one at a time for haul out.

By Friday morning, the forecast looked much worse for us. Here is the forecasted track we awoke to:

Friday’s forecast for a bullseye hit on Newport.
Continue reading After A Month Wait, The Engine Gets Fixed – Just In Time For A Tropical Storm To Overrun Us

Last Week Was Not a High Point: Still No Engine, More Breakdowns, Almost Out of Water

By Rich

Like the “vacation week” I tried to take during our cruise last year, last week was a “character builder” for me when it comes to the live-aboard lifestyle. We continue to wait for the part needed to get our main engine operational again, which could take three weeks to arrive from Japan – although the actual delivery time is a total unknown since the mechanic sent the pump to a rebuilding shop, who ordered the part from a distributor, who ordered the part from Yanmar. So chock up the arrival time on that part – and the continuation of our cruise – to “?????.” Note to Yanmar: you suck for not offering this pump for sale anymore. There are tons of us out here with this engine!

In the meantime we have been on the mooring and taking advantage of Newport, but last week things took a turn downhill on the mechanical side. Unless we want to be towed to a VERY expensive Newport slip, we are 100% dependent on the generator for power. And with water running low early in the week, I planned to commission the water maker, which also relies 100% on the generator and will dramatically increase it’s scheduled runtimes. On Monday the generator started to stall during the evening charge. By Tuesday morning it was becoming so unreliable that I shut it down to investigate the problem – easily ruling out clogged fuel filters since I had recently replaced both. I traced the issue to a dead fuel lift pump – a part that, luckily, I found was in stock at the local NAPA, which meant a shore crew could be sent in to fetch it and I was able to install it after work. Problem solved, but not without some stress and very good luck that this pump was in stock because it is also used on old carbureted cars. Since they had two in stock, we bought both to have a spare onboard.

Continue reading Last Week Was Not a High Point: Still No Engine, More Breakdowns, Almost Out of Water

An Absolutely Immaculate Sabre 36 Just Came On The Market, And Yesterday I Got To Sail Her

By Rich

Editor’s note: the author has no affiliations with the sellers of the boat in this article and was not compensated in any way for writing it.

Regular readers of my blog know that I am a huge fan of the second-generation Sabre sailboats designed by Roger Hewson, and that I plan to buy another one in the future. As such, I follow the market for these boats pretty closely, and last week I saw a post on the Sabre Sailboats Facebook Group about a 36 that was coming on the market. As luck would have it, the owners were cruising to Newport that weekend so I was able to reach out to them and convince them to let me dinghy over to see her, and even to come along for a test sail later in the week.

Continue reading An Absolutely Immaculate Sabre 36 Just Came On The Market, And Yesterday I Got To Sail Her

Passage Making Cruisers: Adopt These In-Port Bilge Pump Checks!

By Rich

There are two fascinating difference between our prior boat, the Sabre 42 (and most similar coastal cruisers) and our current Hylas 54 from the standpoint of automatic bilge pumps. The first big difference: on our Sabre, a variety of sources would cause the (single) automatic bilge pump to run regularly quite apart from any leaks that would be alarming to the crew or a threat to the vessel. For example, rainwater would run down the center of the mast into the bilge which could cause the bilge pump to run periodically during rainy periods. Also, the Sabre’s air conditioning and refrigeration drained condensate directly to the bilge (neither of which were particularly desirable) which would trigger automated draining of the bilge by the pump. Whatever the cause, while aboard we regularly would hear the bilge pump run and therefore had an awareness that that the bilge pump worked.

Continue reading Passage Making Cruisers: Adopt These In-Port Bilge Pump Checks!

J/22 Thursday Night Racing

By Rich

Photo Credit Alan S.

With Rover still ashore getting the final touches put on our winter projects, we have been doing quite a bit of local racing! In addition to Wednesday nights on the Beneteau 36.7 and a few weekend double handed races, Lisa and I have teamed up with our friends Lynda and Craig to race a rented yacht club J/22 on Thursday evenings. I am driving the boat while Lynda does tactics, Lisa does foredeck and Craig trims.

Continue reading J/22 Thursday Night Racing

2021 Cruising: Getting Ready!

By Rich

We are beginning to shake off our winter slumber and get Rover ready for the 2021 cruising season! Brian has been working very hard cleaning & polishing the boat and managing a variety of contractors who have painted the bottom, made repairs to the plumbing in the forward holding tank, and repaired a variety of leaky hoses and other related items on the generator. Below is the dodgy repair I had to make last summer to keep a cracked cooling hose from failing; hoses like these have all been replaced along with a badly corroded heat exchanger. The contractor raised the generator off of its mounts to do the work – something I could not do while were still cruising and living aboard.

Continue reading 2021 Cruising: Getting Ready!