Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Hot Flash

"You know at my age I'm bound to have a hot flash or two" -Corleto

Charlene and I decided to go and take Corleto out for an early March sail. She had been very much alone for most of the winter. Her only movement came at the end of Feb. when she was relocated to a temporary berth as her normal home dock was to be replaced.

She was a bit grimy from the winters rain, but with a long glow of the plug, her engine came to life with little effort. As we dropped her dock lines and slipped out to the open water of Howe Sound, everything appeared to be normal.

I was pleased that we were beginning our third season and was pleased that we had a bit of wind so we could put the sails up. Over the winter I had both the Jib and the Main into the sail loft at North Sails for some repairs. I was anxious to have the new tell tails on the main fly and to test out the new leach line on the Jib. With Charlene at the ready, I hoisted the halyards. Charlene wrapping the sheet around the winch. I pulled the tiller to bare off the wind, Corleto's sails filled with a snap and Charlene winched in the Jib sheet. I shut the engine off and just like that we were sailing calm and relaxed, the way it should be. I glanced up at the new tell tails. They were flying straight and true. It was a zen like moment and as we both smiled at our place in time on the water. We settled in for a nice comfortable afternoon.

Charlene and I, our first sail of the season on Corleto

After a bit of tacking and gybing, we broke out the sandwiches and looked out over the water hoping to see a whale or a dolphin, you just never know in these waters. Before we knew it it was time to head back to Horseshoe Bay. Charlene had said she was beginning to get chilly so after a brief run with a wing on wing in very light air, I decided to turn on the engine and get us moving.

I left the main up, but we doused the jib and began to motor our way back. About 10 minutes or so after I started the engine, Charlene says to me, " I think the engine sounds funny". I listened, the exhaust sounded different. I looked over the back to see what was the issue. The following sea had the exhaust thru hull under the water. It was bubbling, so I figured that is the problem sound But a little feeling in my gut suggested otherwise, so I immediately checked the TEMP gauge. It was about to pin.

Shit, an OVER HEAT. I immediately stopped the engine. Then got the boat on more of a downwind course so at least we could sail toward Horseshoe Bay. Then I went below to see what the problem might be. The first place to begin is with the raw water strainer. I had replace the original one with a new higher volume one last summer. That new one had caused the Brothers Kincaid a problem last Aug. when a clogged strainer had choked off the water to an electric pump. The pump ran dry and blew an inline fuse.

A check of the strainer confirmed my theory. It was clogged. I removed it and took a tooth brush and cleaned the circular screen and flushed it with water, reinstalled it and started the engine. I watched the TEMP rise again. I stopped the engine realizing I had not checked the fuse. A quick call to my "Phone a Friend" Kinc, to inquire about the location of that fuse. He described where is was and I checked and swapped it out with a new fuse. I clicked the ignition to see if I heard the pump engage. It did not.

I dropped an F Bomb.

The pump had burnt itself into oblivion.

The wind was with us and I decided to sail back as far as we could then start the engine and get us into the dock. I was praying that I would not melt the head gasket or have the engine fail just as the ferries were coming into dock.

It took 30 minutes of so for us to get close to Horseshoe Bay under sail. With the boat now in the wind shadow of White Cliff Point, sailing was no longer an option. I dropped the main sail, started the engine and inched toward the outer marker of Horseshoe Bay. The temp began to climb. I shut her down again. Charlene suggested I call for help to one of our friends at the marina.

The tow of SHAME was not an option for this stubborn skipper.

I managed to get Corleto around the marker and again shut the engine down. She had enough forward momentum for us to continue on toward the dock. Several power boats came past with big wakes that killed our forward motion. We were about 200 yards to the dock when I decided to go ALL IN and start the engine and at very low rpms, brought her into her dock.

Back safe after her Hot Flash

Charlene was at the ready with the dock line and as soon as her foot hit the dock, I cut the engine. We were finally home. We had managed to come in with zero ferry traffic, that was good timing. A simple day's sail with some engine drama.

One thing about Corleto, there's never  a dull moment.


  1. Great adventure story, Glad you made it back safe and sound.
    Tarka overheated one time too... found that the intake thur-hull was blocked.

  2. Great story well told, as usual.
    However as the older and wiser of our duo I must call you out on...."I hoisted the halyards".
    A halyard, by definition is "any of various lines or tackles for hoisting a spar, sail, flag, etc., into position for use."
    Lets discuss this and other nautical nuances over many many games of backgammon.

  3. Crap! Busted by the Principle,,,,,, I am going over to the corner and I will feel SHAME. Thanks Nanci and Dave.