Fuel woes: Be gone!

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Sep 252012

I’ve had problems with the engine fuel on a few occasions, as the faithful readers of this blog will remember. Very annoying. It never happened in critical situations, though. But I don’t want to tempt fate… So I just finished putting together the new fuel filter system. Maybe it’s an overkill this time, but it should provide much better reliability compared to the single CAV-type water separator that was originally put in there.

So we have:

  • QL Decontaminator. Not sure if these ones actually work, maybe it’s just fluff… Because I’ve had a bit of slime growth despite having it before…
  • Dual Racor Turbine filter separators with large water reservoirs and the possibility to empty water under operation.
  • Valves to switch filter bank under operation.
  • Take-offs on input and output to facilitate scrubbing and other maintenance operations.

Plus the whole thing is now mounted outside the engine compartment, so it’s much easier to check for excess water in the separator.

May 302012

I’ve been having a bit of trouble on and off with my fuel system. What I know is that I originally put in a filter system that was too much of a toy. So I’m going to replace it with some more professional equipment. In the meanwhile, I wanted to make sure there was no water or dirt in the tanks before I put the boat on land. So I thought I would run all the fuel through the  filters a couple of times using a circulation pump. But in the process of doing that the suction side of the pipes got completely blocked. After taking everything apart to its pieces, I found this sitting in one of the hose nipples:

It is a small piece of silicon. A perfect block. I would really like to know what it is and how it got in there!!!

Aug 122010

So we have arrived in Västervik. First of all I am very tired after not sleeping much for two nights, which made me press the wrong button when updating the website, and a lot of things broke. I’m too tired to fix that right now…

Anyway. We did not get very far on our first attempt. About 1 Nm outside the harbor the engine stopped abruptly and refused to restart. We got an anchor in before we drifted too far, and then a tow back to the harbor, where we discovered a blocked fuel line.

The second attempt was better, but there are still problems with contaminated fuel. But we got to our target. Now it’s time for rigging work!

Jun 212010

At 5 o’clock in the morning on September 11, 2000, I arrived in St Johns, Newfoundland after a rather difficult crossing from Qaqortoq on Greenland. The following 30 hours were some of the weirdest in my life, with a complex set of personal events intermixed with the approaching hurricane Erin and the terrorist attack that took place a few hours later. I could write a very very long text about this, but what is important today is the fact that we were short of fuel.

Now St Johns is a fishing/commercial/naval harbor, with zero yacht traffic except on rare occasions. There was simply no refueling place equipped with a small enough nozzle to fit in my tank fill. And Canadian laws are very strict about environmental damage by diesel spills in the water. So they all refused to fill our tanks using a funnel.

We were moored behind a small charter trawler, whose captain (like most Newfoundlanders, I later found out) was an extremely nice and helpful guy. He called down a fuel truck, but that met with the same problem, the nozzle was to big for the small hole. After the second fuel truck who was called for had the same problem, my newfound friend got in his car, drove 30 km to his home, and came back with a large oil barrel and a manual pump. We proceeded to call one of the fuel trucks back, and had them fill the barrel on the dock. Then we pumped the fuel by hand over to our yacht.

I decided that I did not want another 9/11, so the Journeyman is equipped with dual work-boat size (50mm internal diameter) fills. Some trucks also has quite high pressure in their pumps, and will refuse to fill your tanks if the air breather outlets are not the same size (too small breather outputs cause overpressure and thus spills). So I use three breathers instead of one. Plus they all have water-locks at their hull exits. Never again…

In the picture you can also see the valve for the breather pipe of the ballast tank. Why is there a valve on the breather, you ask? Because in case of an emergency I want to be able to seal the ballast tanks shut. This will give an extra 4-5 tons of buoyancy to the hull.