February 13, 2016

Yanmar 3GM30F Fuel Injection Pump removal - a boring technical post

Because I had a bit trouble with this job, I thought I'd write up all the steps required to pull the Fuel Injection Pump. It's also a useful reference if I ever have to do it again!

1.                  Remove air filter and cover. This uses 2 over-center clamps

2.                  Remove air filter base plate from intake manifold (3 bolts, 10mm socket)
(this step is to make removal of the aft most fuel injector fuel line possible)

3.                  Remove alternator from bracket and set aside. Leave wires connected. I figure most people reading this can find the alternator.

4.                  Remove the cooling water high temp switch wire (unscrew the ring terminal from sender at front of thermostat housing, on top of fresh water pump, on top of front of engine)

5.                  Yanmar seems to have made this engine first as a sea water cooled engine, so this step wasn't required because the engine didn't have a fresh water pump. Otherwise why make it so hard to remove the injection pump without removing the fresh water pump?

The fresh water cooling system will leak water all over the engine, so drain the fresh water system using the small valves at the aft end of the heat exchanger near the exhaust elbow and on the side of the block.

            Anyway, remove the fresh water pump. There are 3 hoses connecting the fresh water pump so loosen the hose clamps for each of these. (If these hoses are old and swollen, consider replacing them as preventative maintenance.) There are 4 bolts, 12mm wrench holding the pump in place. Do not loosen the smaller 10mm head bolt. These bolts are behind the water pump pulley so you cannot use a socket wrench and you will only loosen the bolts, not remove them.

6.                  Remove throttle lever nut and remove throttle lever (where the throttle cable connects). 12mm socket. But do not disconnect the throttle cable from lever.

7.                  Remove the small access plate from stbd. side of injection pump (right in front of the throttle lever). (3 bolts, 10mm socket). This will also remove the throttle stop screw on a separate plate marked in red.

8.                  Remove the fuel line connecting the engine mounted fuel filter to the injection pump (14mm wrench). There is an additional engine mounted bracket that requires removal (12mm socket) on my engine. Yanmar parts books shows several different types of fuel lines so just remove the one supplying the injection pump.

9.                  Getting closer now. Wipe up any dirt or debris around the fuel injection pump. Remove the 3 high pressure fuel lines from the pump and the fuel injectors. Loosen the forward most cylinder line / forward most connection on the pump and then proceed aft in turn. Use a 17mm wrench.

10.              After all high pressure lines are loose, remove the two clamp fittings (shown in blue above) holding the lines together and to the engine (10mm socket, 4 bolts total)

11.              Loosen the nuts holding the fuel injector pump to the engine block. The pump will be loose but still held in place.12mm socket with extension. You might need to break the seal between pump and mounting flange by prying gently with a screwdriver at first.

12.              Put a finger into the side access hole you uncovered in step 7. Feel for the throttle lever that pulls the fuel injection pump rack pin forward and back. You need to slide that lever backward or forward until it pulls free of the rack pin as you lift the pump slightly.

Now lift the pump while moving the rack pin forward or aft. There is a opening in the mounting flange shown on left picture below that the pin needs to pass through. Pull the pump up while simultaneously moving the pin forward and aft and the pump should come free. You do not need to force the pump if it is free of the flange. I repeat - don't force the pump. If comes free very easily if you have the rack pin lined up with the notch in the flange.
13.            Do not lose the thin shims between the pump and mounting flange. You will need these for reinstallation. Mine had 3 shims.

            When reinstalling the injection pump Yanmar specifies “Screw Lock Super 203M” between the shims. I think it’s pretty close to a blue Loctite 242 so that’s what I used. Remember that the thickness of these is critical to injection timing – so don’t use a thick silicone gasket sealer when re-installing. The governor case below is only splash lubricated with lubricating oil so it won’t take much to seal the pump to the mounting flange.

- Evan

January 21, 2016

It's really windy here

It's very windy in Simonstown. Here's a snapshot of the past 7 days of wind speeds. These are in km/h so divide by slightly less than 2 to get knots. i.e. 74 km/h = 40 knots. 37 km/h = 20 knots

This weather station is at a lighthouse slightly more than 1 mile from us. It's actually a bit windier in the marina due to some wind funneling affects. We had a day a few days ago where 40 knots was considered a lull. As in "It's lulling 40!", instead of our more usual "it's gusting 25...".

For sailors approaching False Bay, here's the real time link, though sometimes it goes down:


We found the wind acceleration effects started right on the eastern side of False Bay, getting stronger as we approached Simonstown. Earlier in the day we were sailing with 10 knots and as we got into Simonstown it was hitting 25.

Another weather station in case the above one is not working:

This one is from Fish Hoek (a town about 4 miles away from us, on the same side of False Bay).



January 17, 2016

Friendship in a Bottle

As far as a letter of introduction goes, I’m going to call Maia’s letter to Sara and Stof the most unique. Just over four years ago, on November 3, 2011 actually, Maia threw a bottle over the side when we were in the Grand Passage near New Caledonia. Specifically we were at 18° 39’S 163° 09’E.

Despite this accuracy of detail, none of us remembers the moment the bottle went in. I recall Maia suggesting we have wine—and reminding her that we rarely imbibe while on passage. In the end we found an empty wine bottle, she scrawled a message in green ink and over it went. The bottle then travelled against the current and washed up on remote Huon Reef where Sara, Stof and their friend Dave found it on the beach when they stopped in for repairs three weeks later. Happily Maia’s letter-in-a-bottle skills are well developed and she gave her contact information. A month or so later the email arrived from the crew of Takalani.

Huon Reef--Sara and Stof's photo
Takalani and Ceilydh almost met multiple times crossing the Pacific. We sailed from Mexico within a few days of each other and crossed wakes and swapped anchorages (ending up with many common friends (Graham)). We both even went solo into the remote northern parts of Vanuatu—both thinking we were the last boat left and that it was time to turn west.

A nice note saying they found the bottle is where it may have ended. But several months ago we got another note—Sara reminded us who she was and told us that she and Stof were back living in Cape Town with two adorable new crew, and would we like to meet? So we joined them in their home so they could meet Maia, return her letter (even Dave was there) and of course, have a braai.

Next up was a fantastic day (01-16-16) spent swimming 16 of the (very cold and colder) tidal swimming pools around Cape Town for Sara’s b-day, followed by a braai.

Meeting local people is one of the best parts of the cruising life. The first time we went sailing we carried a stack of hand written letters introducing us to people around the world (it was pre-easy internet). The letters were like something out of Downton Abbey—each a request to the recipient that they give the bearer (us!) every possible assistance.

These days, the letters of introduction are a bit more casual and come through facebook, friends, family or our blog. South Africa has been remarkably rich with wonderful introductions. There was one introduction which resulted in a curry lunch at the Oyster Box hotel, another ‘friend-of-a-friend’ has graciously ensured we have someone to call on in every port we visit. A South African sailing friend we first met back in our Annapolis days (now in BC) gave us an entire list of names and we hope a meeting won’t be too far in the future.

 We were also lucky enough to share in another boat’s family introduction to the very lovely Shaun Visser, Tania & Lynette. We had one afternoon of so much laughter and fun my stomached ached afterward. This was followed by an incredibly warm welcome to a ‘traditional’ Christmas dinner complete with Mother Christmas and lamb on the braai ( Photos and great post by Neil and Ley on Crystal Blues).

Our next fantastic meeting came a few days later when we arrived in Port Elizabeth. Neither Maria nor I can recall when we started writing to each other (we’re both writers, with daughters near the same age called Maia/Maya and they are planning to head off sailing) but we’ve been planning to meet them ever since South Africa went on our agenda for the year.

It almost didn’t happen when a weather window opened up, which was going to take us through to Simons Town, meant we’d speed on by. But cue the well-timed rudder problems—which we would never have recovered from in < 24 hours without Maria and Mike’s fantastic local knowledge (and the fact they have some crazy good connections). The outcome was a total stranger drove to East London, talked his way into a closed workshop and repaired our rudder fittings.

The next hop took us to Maria, Mike, Maya and Murry and a fantastic braai (seriously, no South African encounter can happen without one--which we love), a great New Year’s Eve and we even squeezed in a visit to the stunning Addo Elephant Park.

The good news is we’ve been socializing a lot and now have a very healthy stack of bottles saved up. Maia’s next task is to start writing more letters. I think tossing a bottle or two off the Cape of Good Hope is the way to go.

January 10, 2016

Breaking stuff - for fun

I noticed some chafe on one of our spectra (dyneema) lifelines. This spot is at the forward most stanchion, where I was in the habit of clipping a spinnaker halyard. Its also where the lifeline makes a sharp angle down to the deck. This photo shows the new lifeline place. The chafe was very obvious on the old one.

Here's the chafe point - clearly a lot of the strands are broken:

Once I replaced the lifeline with a new piece of spectra, I decided to do a bit of semi-scientific testing of the old lifeline. I broke it. I attached the eye splice to a deck padeye with a spectra lashing and then led the lifeline to our primary winch.

It took about 90% of my maximum effort to get the lifeline to break. In other words I really had to crank very hard. Our primary winch is a #46 power ratio. Typical maximum handle load using a single winch handle is around 50 lbs for a "strong" user. Using a double handle as I did, the maximum load might rise to 65 lbs or so. So the most force I can exert on the line is about 46 x 65 = 2990 lbs. The chafed portion broke at what felt like 90% of that or around 2700 lbs. That's low compared to a new wire lifeline.

Here it is after breaking:

But what about the non-chafed portion of the old lifeline? I tied a bowline in the end, and loaded it as much as I could with the winch. I could hit a pretty good musical note with it. But I couldn't break it. So the load on the line was around 3000 lbs. The bowline is supposed to reduce the breaking strength of single braid spectra around 50%*. So the unknotted portion of this used rope probably has a strength of >6000 lbs. Approximately. Anybody with a small load cell that they want to send us?

I think these old lifelines were Samson Amsteel 60 grade. They are 1/4" diameter with an average breaking strength of 7400 lbs and minimum breaking strength of 6500 lbs. So I think that these lifelines, after 7.5 years, mostly in tropical UV conditions, were still close to the original minimum breaking strength, and still quite stronger than typical vinyl covered stainless steel wire lifelines. New vinyl covered stainless steel wire lifelines with a 3/16" core have a breaking strength of about 3700 lbs.

In summary, older spectra lifelines are still showing adequate strength, after several years of use. Here is the lower lifeline, aged 7.5 years. I adjusted the lashing to check for chafe. The left side of the lifeline is the portion that used to be inside the stanchion. It shows a small amount of chafe.

- Evan

*Evans Starzinger found that bowlines in regular polyester double braid only reduce the strength of the line by ~25%  http://www.bethandevans.com/load.htm. He found that bowlines would slip in single braid spectra at around 50% of breaking strength but I was using well worn rope and the rope didn't slip. Other bowline like knots such as the water bowline had a strength loss >50%. So assuming a non-slipping bowline reduces strength by 50% seems to be a reasonable and conservative assumption.
He also has some data that 8mm spectra can suffer uv damage resulting in strength loss of between 30 and 60% after 5 years and suggests that typical strength loss is somewhere in between these extremes. 

December 29, 2015

Indian Ocean 2015--Notes from the Northern Route

On New Years Eve 2014 we didn’t have much of a plan beyond, ‘get to Malaysia’. We’d just spent eight months cruising Australia and Indonesia and were thinking about a leisurely explore around SE Asia, when the three of us suddenly realized we were ready to start for home. Between us and Vancouver though there were still a couple of oceans, and the Indian Ocean was looming large.
it's time to get this teenager home...
 When we originally conceived the idea of sailing around the world—the plan always included the Suez Canal. But then, pirates. Still, more than 15 cruising boats ventured through the canal this year—but many had the added hassle and expense of armed guards and weapons aboard: a choice that wasn’t for us, for a whole host of reasons.

So this left two options: Take the Northern Route across the Indian Ocean—leaving in February. Or hang out in SE Asia for a few more months and take the Southern Route. The Southern Route is perhaps better known: Cocos Keeling, to the Mascarene Islands and on to South Africa (with the option of adding Chagos and Madagascar). It’s a faster route (boats leave as late as September and arrive in South Africa in November) but the passages are longer and the rough weather can be rougher.

In contrast, the Northern route covers more miles, more countries and straddles two cyclone seasons. It’s a route we hadn’t even considered before friends on Totem showed us their passage plans—but then it looked ideal: interesting countries, pleasant cruising and shorter passages. In retrospect, the trip was perfect for us.

Country #1 Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
March 5-19
Passage: 1100 nm from Langkawi
Fee: Visas $30 USD per person, agent and harbour fees $218 USD
Notes: We had a 30 day visa but opted to leave after an inland trip and some local exploring.

After being held up waiting for parts in Langkawi we arrived in Sri Lanka a little later than planned. Our disappointment faded quickly though when we were welcomed into Trincomalee by officials who were clearly bemused by the large number of yachts who were making the formerly off limits port their Sri Lankan port of call. While the harbour is great, and well protected, until addtional ports are opened to cruisers the true reason to visit Sri Lanka is the inland travel. In a week long trip we covered tea plantations, national parks, ancient cities and more. Highlights included cycling through Anuradhapura and seeing a leopard in Wilpattu National Park. This was also where we first met the wonderful crew on Morning Glory—dear friends who went on to make the Indian Ocean a very excellent journey.

Country #2 Uligamu in Haa Alifu Atoll to Gan in Addu Atoll Maldives
March 25- May 24
Passage: 720 nm from Trinco
Fees: Approx $900 for visas, cruising permit and agent fees for a two-month visit.
Notes: While the cruising fees are very high, a second month didn’t add much to the total fee. We also found that there was very little beyond basic groceries to spend money on—so our overall expenses in the Maldives were quite low.

We straddled the monsoon in the Maldives. As we moved south the monsoon moved north—so we ended up with a stormy week near the end of our stay but beyond that had good weather. The charm of the Maldives is being able to day hop your way down the chain of atolls. We had spectacular diving, explored some interesting villages and had many little islands completely to ourselves. Two months felt like a good period of time to make it down the atoll chain without feeling rushed. The tricky part of the Maldives is there's limited fresh food (the eggs, ugh...)—we should have carried more from Sri Lanka.

Country #3 Chagos BIOT
May 27- June 23
Passage: 285 nm from Gan
Fees: £50 for a one week permit up to £200 for four weeks
Notes: We needed to prove our yacht insurance included wreck removal and that we had medical evacuation insurance. Several boats used DAN as their proof of evacuation.

Chagos is a dreamy stop—though a deeply complex one. It’s the place I spent the most effort trying to make sense of in stories for both the BBC and Vice (be sure to watch the fabulous video by Aline from Shakespear on the BBC link). Our big worry with Chagos was having enough food from our stop in Gan to last the month in Chagos and then get us to the Seychelles. In retrospect it wasn’t such a big worry. Paula on Evita wisely suggested putting aside passage food early on during our Chagos stay—then the fishermen (Andrew on Utopia) kept everyone in fresh fish for the duration. With new boats arriving every so often the potlucks stayed interesting and no one went hungry.

Country #4 Seychelles
June 29-August 18
Passage: 1000 nm from Chagos
Fees: The fees varied with different boats experiencing different charges. We paid approx $500 USD excluding park fees.
Notes: Six weeks was longer than we needed for the Seychelles but Evan was having an infected root canal treated so we ended up hanging out in Port Victoria longer than planned.

I’m not sure I can give a fair review of the Seychelles—we didn’t cruise around that much and our main exploring was around Victoria. I think the three of us were a bit worn out by the time we arrived and quite happy to park, but if I had it to do again I would have shortened our stay in the Seychelles up and given ourselves more time in Madagascar. Overall we loved the hiking and exploring, but it was an expensive stop. Provisioning was excellent though.

Country #5 Comoros
August 22- September 5
Passage 800 nm from Seychelles
Fees: Our first taste of Africa came with a flexible fee structure. Visas came in at 30 Euros PP, Port fees at 50 Euros a boat, Police and Gendarme fees that were as much as 40 Euros each and an agent fee was set at, "whatever you think my services are worth."
Notes: Our informal agent Maketse in Mutsamudu was well worth his flexible fee.
Phone: 002693324340
E-mail: maketse.yssouf@gmail.com

Very few boats stop in Comoros and it’s definitely not for everyone: that said, we loved it. But if we hadn’t already checked into a number of moderately challenging and quite poor countries our first impressions of Comoros may have been enough to make us flee: there’s no official garbage collection (much of it is burned at the edge of the sea or dumped into ravines), pointing and yelling are part of basic communication, and the French spoken doesn’t sound like the one you learned in high school. But from the way the wind smells like y’lang-y’lang and the streets are scented with cloves, to the bright colours the women wear and the way the kids wave from dugout canoes Comoros is almost a cliché. The market is vibrant, the medina is intriguing and the people are quick to smile and laugh (and return your change when you overpay and walk away.) It’s just not an easy place—but it is very rewarding.

Country #6 Madagascar
Sept 7- October 26
Passage: 230 nm from Comoros
Fees: $100 USD
Notes: Best for last
An early Halloween party kept the kids in tune with the seasons--or something like that.
So much of Madagascar was wonderful. We loved catching up with (and getting to know better) cruisers who took different paths across the IO and who all arrived in Madagascar within a few weeks of each other. It was great having our friend Allison visit and to play tourist with her. And easy protected sailing and a friendly, low key local population made Madagascar a dreamy stop. I could list a dozen reasons why I loved cruising here (here are four) the gist though is it combines everything we set off to find: it’s beautiful and intriguing, affordable and unique and the food is yummy.
Crossing the bar at Bazaruto
 Country # 7 Mozambique
November 1-5
Passage: 680 nm from Madagascar
Fees: $40 in park fees
Notes: We never checked in but sought shelter here

We went for two walks on the beach and that pretty much comprised our Mozambique experience. The bigger bonus was getting a chance to know the awesome crews of Crystal Blues and Sage better as we sorted out weather.

Country #8 South Africa
November 10
Passage: 513 nm from Mozambique
Fees: None!!
Notes: In progress. So far, quite excellent.

** Fees and distances are to the best of my recollection and figuring, they may not be accurate.

December 13, 2015

The Delights of Durban

If I know anything about a destination, it’s that your results will vary. Depending on who you’re with, what the circumstances are and what your mood is, it can be love, hate or something in between.

Durban had everything stacked against it: all we’d heard was it was dangerous and dingy and a brief visit reinforced the idea it was worth skipping. Well, best laid plans and all that… Instead of a 36 hour weather window that would last long enough to get from Richards Bay to Port Elizabeth, ours became a 20 hour weather ‘crack’ which let us leap 80 miles down the coast in a very boisterous 10 hours. Once in, our friends found us snug spot in the marina and we hunkered down for blow after blow.

the apartheid museum
At first it looked like we’d only be in port for a day, or three, and then we’d be back on the Christmas track to Simons Town. So I hurriedly planned some exploring, including a memorable curry lunch at the quirky (and gorgeous) Oyster Box hotel. One of my favourite
curries was a local chicken and shrimp version—something I can’t wait to try and replicate with the curry spices we were given.

Next up was the fabulous Phansi Museum—with its incredible collection of Zulu art and artefacts. The assistant curator, Puhmzile gave us the kind of informative (and very interactive) tour through the collection that ensured we could envision what everything was used for—even when we’d rather not.

The puppet room at the Pahnsi demonstrated different cultural dress
My next morning was taken up with an architectural tour of Durban. The benefit of this turned out to be two-fold (three if you count the nice long walk with our lovely friends on Sage): it was great to see the cool buildings, which ranged from gorgeous old Victorian confections (including one that houses the apartheid museum) to funky art deco towers; but it was also good to get a sense of how safe or dangerous Durban really is. It turned out once you’re in the main shops district, Durban doesn’t feel much different than a big US city. And later that day I took Maia and Rivers in for some much enjoyed non-mall shopping and people watching.

Bushman paintings in the Drakensberg
Ley and Neil on our hiking trail
As fun as Durban is proving to be—we’re eager to get south. But with weather windows (and cracks) proving to be elusive, we’re continuing to explore. One huge highlight was a daytrip out to the Drakenberg. We’d been throwing around the idea of going for a couple of weeks and finally made the move with our friends Neil and Ley. The area was even more stunning than we expected and the wide vistas, great hiking and intriguing cave paintings gave us a much-needed jolt of wilderness peace.

At the risk of this turning into a, ‘we did this, this and then this’ post, next up was a fab night out at an incredible jazz bar called the Chairman. After searching through lockers for very uncruiserly pants, collared shirts and dress shoes (that would be the guys) to meet the dress code, we spent the night on cozy sofas, drinking bubbles and enjoying great music and a very cool scene.

checking out the wall of vinyl covers at the Chairman
So now we’re a week into our unplanned, unwanted stop. Today is a carvery lunch at the yacht club, tomorrow may be the beaches or aquarium. After that we hope it’s a weather window south (we really, really do). But in many ways Durbs has been a gift—it’s the reminder that as much as we try to plan, schedule and stay in control, we can’t. Our best option might be a cliché; take what comes and make the best of it. But honestly embracing uncertainty with a smile, and a night out at a jazz club, isn’t always the easiest response. But it is the most rewarding.

* Durban shots thanks to Tony on Sage and the Chairman shot is from Ley on Crystal Blues