Thursday, March 7, 2013


Returning from the Marine Store, I had picked up a little trinket to make light of the bilge issues that had plagued us since the beginning. It would become the mascot of the boat and it lives in the bilge, always on guard for problems, bringing smiles and good boat karma. His name, Jacques.

Meet Jacques-keeper of the bilge

We had discovered that the fuses being used for the pump were under the required rating of 7.5 to 9 amps. It seemed that the ones supplied to the boat were just 5 amps. When Kinc and I timed just how long 5 amp fuses last under pumping conditions, the answer was 15 seconds. Eureka! We appear to have solved the great mystery. Another trip to the Marine Store, pick up fuses, return new pump and back to the boat. Things were beginning to fall into place. All we needed was the weather. It must be Jacques' addition to the boat that has brought this change of fortune.

Jacques in the bilge

I woke early Wednesday morning, cold tired and a bit sore from the beating we gave ourselves at the hands of the winds and the waves the day before. I called the the Vancouver 24 hour Marine Weather broadcast to see if we would get a break in the weather. Unfortunately it hadn't been updated as it was before 7am. It still predicted high winds and Gale warnings and I felt discouraged.

I checked on Jacques. He was not swimming, so the bilge was dry. Thank God for small victories.

When 7am rolled around, I turned on the VHF and listened in. The crackle of the radio woke Kinc. We listened intently. The voice relayed light winds and favorable conditions for the Strait of Georgia South- that's us!

We sprung to life to prepare for our departure. My spirits were high as we prepared to cast off. Finally we were going to catch a break. This was the day I had been waiting for.

"Corleto" though had other ideas. Not so fast lads.

Kinc turned the key.


How does an engine that started on the first crank yesterday, not even turn over today.


Just as fast as my spirits had lifted listening to the weather just a few moments ago, now deflated. A sense of doom came over me. I was paralyzed. I could not even think at that moment.
Kinc sprung to the rescue. He is no stranger to engine wows. His adventures 4 wheel driving with his buds on the May long weekend are the stuff of legend. Any man who can design a working shower to run off the fan belt of his Jeep can surely laugh and trouble shoot any engine issue.
His cool demeanour, he began to assess the situation.

"There has to be a wire or something that has been knocked out of place." He mused.
He stuck his head into the small space behind the ignition panel. Sure enough there was a wire that had come loose in the beating we took just 24 hours earlier. It was a hard reach. I ended up in the hold to re attach the wayward wire.  No doubt this would be our salvation.
After a few minutes I had the wire attached. We would be on our way.

In the port locker-fixing wires.

No. This time the engine turned over, but just once. Not starting. It seemed a battery was now at the center of this situation. All I could think of was we were going to miss this weather window and that this freakin' boat was perhaps not such a good idea.

After some discussion, we determined that the battery charger did not charge the batteries and that our power consumption at the dock drained them down to the point that they could not provide enough juice to crank the engine.
We discussed solutions. A boost? A new battery, a crash cart or jumper cables.
This would require another walk to the Marine Store.

I was greeted with "You guys haven't left yet?"
"Nope, starter and battery problems today."
One of the guys at the store offered to loan us his truck to go to an auto store to get some jumper cables. It was a gesture that personified the nature of all of the staff at LFS Marine and Outdoor in Bellingham.
With cables in hand, and new battery in tow, we headed back to the stricken "Corleto".

With the brand new battery in place, Kinc at the ready with the key. I closed my eyes and hoped I would hear the engine come to life. And just like that it did. Victory was mine.
We were delayed near two hours from the original turn of the key. We could make it to Point Roberts before dark. Lets haul ass and get outta Dodge.

Kinc on watch for Crab Buoys as we leave Bellingham Bay

With me on the helm, Kinc programming the GPS and Jacques in the bilge, the crew of the Corleto was finally underway and heading North.

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