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Not what you want to hear when you turn the ignition key

Not what you want to hear when you turn the ignition key

We decided to get out of La Paz for a few days. It’s been 2 weeks since we arrived and we wanted a break from the urban anchorage in front of downtown La Paz.

We motored out of the channel and had a really nice mellow sail with our old ripped up main sail and light 4-6 knot winds. It was so nice to be sailing again! As we neared the anchorage we had chosen to accommodate the west winds for the next few days, we furled the jib and went to start the motor as we do before we bring down the mainsail. Turn the key and nothing. Actually, turn the key and horrible noises from the old Perkins 4108 engine. OK.

We launched Millie, our dinghy, lowered the outboard onto her transom, and lashed her to the side of the boat like a tugboat alongside a barge. That worked great, and we got the sail down and maneuvered into a good spot to anchor.

Now to figure out what to do. Worst case, we can sail back to the mouth of La Paz channel and use Millie as a tugboat. Now that we have the worst case figured out and it is something that we can live with, and the fact that we were safe and had plenty of water, power in the batteries, and food, we can relax a bit. We consulted with some friends and some very experienced cruisers and reviewed options and plans. We really like satellite communications in times like these when we out of reach of cellular coverage and internet access.

We woke up this morning and got to work. The noise could have been a number of things, only a few of them are catastrophic. Some are easy enough. To make a long story short, we started with the fuel filters since they hadn’t been changed since we bought her 2 years ago, and who knows before that. Once that was done, we worked out way through 6-8 bleed fittings making sure there was no air in the fuel supply. I had noticed the cold starting aid (similar to glow plug on most automobile Diesel engines was smoking and disconnected it. The final step in the bleeding involves turning the engine over with the starter and full throttle. Lo and behold, even with the supply lines to 2 of the 4 injectors loose, she started running!!!!!!!


We didn’t turn her off until we got to our anchorage in La Paz, needless to say.

Tomorrow we find a mechanic who makes boat calls.

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