Nov 1-14, 2010 - Cruising Log for S/V Freedom - a Gemini 105 - Jim and Deb Faughn

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Nov 18 - Just in case you want to go back and get the story about our engine going out, click on Previous Log above or below. It isn't pretty!!!!

Speaking of Pretty, the sunset the other day was just wonderful. I had to run back and get the camera just to catch the first part of a warm front coming in. You can always tell a warm front because you can see the first tell tale signs of those cirrus clouds coming in.

 
It really is pretty amazing. I'm standing on the dock watching boats go by all day thinking what am I missing. Then I was awarded with a beautiful sunset.

So lets get to the part that all of the Gemini people are waiting for. The engine arrived yesterday. Garry who is our mechanic from Marine Tech Services transferred our accessories from our engine including our transmission to the new long block. I need to get you the "money shot" which shows the Mitsubishi numbers on our new engine but it won't help most of you. Bottom line is that I thought they were building me up a new 30B3 long block but instead we received a 30C3 long block. The mounting stuff all hooks up and our transmission connected to the bell housing all connected good. And best of all, it runs VERY VERY smooth.

So what did we do. We bought a new long block, purchased new hoses for everything, along with the new damper that goes between the engine and transmission. Two of the springs of the damper are loose after 2000 hours which is consistent with my findings at 2500 hours when we found 4 springs loose when we changed the transmission. I'm keeping the damper we took out for a spare but you should think of replacing yours at 2500-3000 hours.

Meet Garry with Marine Tech Services. Garry was my mechanic and even though I am frugal - I'm not cheap - I felt like I got a fair shake on the diagnosis and work. They let me do quite a bit which saved me a number of hours and their work was very good. I just hate paying for others to do work that I can do, however if you need expertise you don't have it is good to meet people that won't take you to the cleaners. Let me expand this. When somebody has your engine, they have you by the "Balls." If you choose the wrong company then you are just paying multiple mortgage payments. It is a real gamble out here! So, where do I think these guys rate? Pretty darn close to the top. The estimates in the end were pretty close to what we discussed and the differences were shipping along with taxes. So if you are in this neighborhood and have to have your work done, these guys can help you out.

By the way, the engine slipped in pretty well but it took us some time to get the bolts in on the plates for the front engine mounts. Regardless, we got everything set and I was able to get everything ready to run it the next day. Note: you won't find every company that allows you to do some of the work yourself and you really want to make sure if you do some of the work then you better be able to deliver. The old saying is that if a customer helps it costs the customer twice as much. In my case, it saved money.

Now for the other question. We got the house. I'm now calling it the Money Pit. Do you remember the movie?

We are now broke. Deb said, we either did the stupidest thing of our lives or we made one the best investments ever. We have a monumental job on our hands but after talking to the permit office in Lee County then we are on the right track. All I have to do is simply tear out all the Chinese drywall, replace the wiring, repair the affected plumbing, and of course replace some of the HVAC. Then all I have to do is put all the drywall back in and reinstall all the trim, doors, and of course the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Sounds simple doesn't it? Don't you just want to come and help????

We are quickly going broke and very happy with our decision - for now. If you don't take a few risks every now and then ---- are you really living?

So to the right you see, again, the house that I get to rebuild. I have to say to those of you that don't want us to quit cruising that we just couldn't pass this up. Now we have a place for our boat on-the-water and we can live in it for the rest of our lives.

We close on the 30th and we haven't even seen the house in person. I'm hoping that Deb's second option may actually be right.

 

Ok, I just had to show you a few more pictures of the house.

Kitchen to the right and pictures of the canal below. Are you sure you don't want to take off work for a couple of weeks and help me carry all this stuff to the garage to store while I then tear everything out????? Sure you do. It's time for volunteerism after the first of the year... Perhaps you want to donate a refrigerator and stove for those missing places...... Just kidding.

 

We leave on Saturday and will be heading south. Pictures of our cruise south will be coming soon.

  Nov 20 - Sometimes things just don't work out. I'm not talking about the house, I think that is going to work out very nicely albeit a ton of work. The problem is that we may never get there. Or at least it seems that way. So I must be talking about the engine. I kept adding and adding antifreeze and every time I thought it was full, it would take some more. We had a great sea trial that lasted about 30 minutes. Engine runs so smooth and is much quieter than the one that failed. But it needed even more antifreeze after we got back. This is a problem. I called the mechanic and asked how much it was supposed to hold since I couldn't find it in my book. Ended up it was supposed to hold 1 gallon and I had put over 3 in so far. None was showing up in the bilge so that meant it was going out through the exhaust. I suspected the heat exchanger and when the mechanic brought over a specialized tool for pressure testing the cooling system we could hear the leak in the heat exchanger. Now you might be thinking - didn't you guys look at that? Actually we did. It was cleaned and pressure tested but still failed. Marvelous. I hate it and so does the mechanic. He's working with me and I do need to buy the part but the labor is going to be n/c. Even though I hate sticking around another week and a half to receive the new heat exchanger, I still think the company is pretty good and backs up their work. By the way, we called Westerbeke and they couldn't get the heat exchanger to us for a week and a half so I called Torrenson Marine who could get me one in the same time but much less money. There is a company that makes a direct replacement at 1/3 the price of Westerbeke. At least there is some solace in the savings and I wasn't in the marshes of Georgia when it went out.

So, we are stuck. I guess I will spend the time cleaning up the boat and putting new polyglow on it so it looks great again. Afterall, when we arrive in Ft. Myers the only thing I will be working on will be the house but that probably won't start until almost January now. I still have to buy a vehicle that can tow my trailer and go get the little trailer filled with tools we left in Missouri. All of which takes time. Regardless, we will get there and we will make it all happen.

 Nov 22 - Not much to update. We are cleaning the boat when we aren't feeling depressed about being stuck. With that said, I can't say enough about how nice everyone here is at the Marina. You've seen Bill who has become a pretty darn good friend and he loans us his car to go and shop for food or like yesterday, take an hour and a half and talk about appliances at Lowe's. Then we've met Ben next to us on a Catalina 350 and Bill on his hunter 33.5 Legend who has had us over for dinner and I checked out his charging systems for him. Not to mention the dock hands and a bunch of other people some of which I mentioned before. So, I have to admit for being stuck the only thing that would make it better is to have the stores right here at the marina.

Like I said, we went yesterday and talked about appliances. Just thinking about which to purchase verses having none. It is really nice when we are both of like minds and I guess that kind of happens after about 28 (we both seem to forget) years of marriage. Two new things to report. You already know that Garry and Shirline will be our neighbors about 12 blocks away. Also, another Gemini person who has been following our log has bought a place on the water and it is in the same canal. We will be having Gemini conventions soon. The other thing I wanted to let you know is that it looks like my friend Paul has found us a vehicle. Paul has a winter place on the Okeechobee and is only an hour and a half or so away from us. This is actually the dream vehicle for a person like me. A 92 year old guy has owned it since it was new and now he can't drive. Looks like we will get a 2001 Chrysler Voyager mini-van that was only driven to the store and church on Sundays. Truthfully, it only has about 52,000 miles on it and is gold in color. It does have a pretty good dent on the passenger side in one of the doors but the door works. Since I won't have to look at the dent and we are getting the van pretty darn cheap, Paul will drive it today and we may have purchased a vehicle that needs tires but otherwise in good shape. The tires by the way are original.

As you can see we are looking at arriving in Ft. Myers and can be on the run fairly quickly. With Paul's work, he has probably made up almost a week of time we are loosing by being here in Hilton Head since I won't have to find a vehicle now. Of course you've already figured out we are buying a vehicle sight unseen too. I guess it is a new trend for us. 

  Nov 23 - Yesterday we saw pictures of the van along with a driving report. The driving report concerned both Paul and myself because he couldn't take it to a shop to have it looked at. This is more like buying a pig in a poke so buyer beware although it will probably still be a pretty good deal if I don't just make the guy mad with a low offer to cover the unknowns along with tires and hitch. I'm guessing that we won't get this van. Anybody in Florida have a truck with hitch, or something else with a hitch for pretty cheap? We will probably use it a year to a year and a half and then sell it once we are finished with construction and all the other house stuff we will want to do.

Now for the fun stuff. I have a person we will call Bob, because that's his name, who wanted me to come up to the Chesapeake and deliver his boat with him down to Ft. Myers. With everything going on, I have had to turn him down. It would have been a fun trip again and I'm sure I'll be doing some of that next fall and spring when we get settled out. Ends up, Bob is going to be my neighbor even on the same canal. After a couple of emails and a phone call, we reached a deal that he is driving to see us later today and will be visiting on the boat tomorrow. We will go over charts and the entire trip he will be taking along with a bunch of tips on the boat. It should be a fun visit and something to break up the time here at Hilton Head. I'll let you know how it's going tomorrow. 8 days and still counting.

  Nov 25 - Deb and I have a tremendous amount to be thankful for. First, all of our family, friends and of course all of you who have followed our website. An example of this is Bob. Bob drove down from the Chesapeake yesterday and I was having so much fun talking to him about his first trip down the east coast that I forgot to take his picture. Now you can already tell I NEED TO TAKE SOME PICTURES, but I can't fix it right now. After a bit over 5 hours including lunch, Bob had absorbed everything I could think of from navigation, anchorages, great places to stop, where to watch out, and of course a review of all the systems on the boat. We had a great time and ended up with the key to his house before he left. No, I didn't pick his pocket. Why would you think that??? He volunteered to let us use his car when we get there as we find a vehicle of our own and to start the permit process on our house. What a great gesture. Thanks Bob.

Some more great stuff happened yesterday. My heat exchanger arrived. EARLY. They must have had one in stock at the factory so it came in and my mechanic and I slid it into place real quick for me to hook up later in the day. I did that after Bob left and it is working wonderfully. That means we can leave as soon as we get the paperwork taken care of on the house. That meant a quick phone call to my realtor to see if we would actually be closing on the 30th. Answer - More than likely not. Bank is wanting to get rid of the property, I want to pay for it, but the title agency hasn't had enough time to do the due diligence. That means it may be as late as the 10th before closing. Perfect! I need to fax an extension on Friday and take care of any bills here then we are probably going to depart Saturday morning.

Moving pictures along with a very happy Captain and Admiral will be forthcoming. Today, I have some more cleaning on the boat to finish and then start the Thanksgiving Turkey. I have a wonderful turkey breast that I'll be starting at about 11 this morning for an early afternoon Thanksgiving Dinner. We truly have many things to be thankful for and will be thinking about all of you throughout the day.

Here on Thanksgiving Day I took a picture of a heat exchanger. YEAH. Life is good on Freedom. All is running excellent and we aren't drinking antifreeze like wine We still drink Chardonnay but the engine is sober as can be.

I hooked up everything and it is wonderfully wonderful to no longer be land locked.

I just want to say one more time that I was happy with Marine Tech's and their service. Thanks for everything and working to help us make the best of a bad situation.

In addition, if it weren't for Bill on Slo-Go-Motion, I'm not exactly sure what we would have done. I think we've made another friend for life. Thanks Bill.

Now what did we do today for Thanksgiving?

I decided that this was a great day and we prepared a turkey breast just for the occasion. So I don't forget, I'm going to tell you what I did and it was delicious. I pulled the skin away from the breast and mixed up some butter with italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper. This concoction went between the skin and the breast. Then I made a foil pack and cooked it in the pack for 1 3/4 hours after oiling up the bird so it wouldn't stick to the foil. Then when it reached 155 degrees, I uncovered the skin part of the bird and cut enough foil away to make sure it wasn't a problem but keeping my pan clean. Cooked another 1/2 hour while I got everything else ready. In the last 15 min, I sauteed the onions and celery for the dressing and put the juices from the turkey into the dressing. Yum, Yum. Then pressure cooked the corn and green beans while finishing the dressing and the mashed potatoes. Finally keeping all the good stuff warm, I did the gravy along with the bread sticks.

Deb and I had a great day together and next year we are expecting some great company too. Are you up for it???? We have enough left-over's for about 3 days. Again, Yum Yum..

The only thing left for us to do is listen to Arlo Guthrie sing about Thanksgiving in Alice's Restaurant Massacre -it happens to be a tradition - everyone needs traditions.

I cleaned the dinghy up today so it is ready to go. Tomorrow I'll finish cleaning up Freedom and then I'll take a swim at slack tide to clean the bottom. Stuff grows on the bottom when you sit still and we've been sitting more in the last month than we have in the last 9 months. Ready to move.

We are definitely off on Saturday at daybreak. I'll be varying the RPM on the engine until we get to St. Augustine. I'm figuring I'll set a 10 min timer and just vary, vary, and vary some more. After 50 hours I need to change oil, re-torque the head and then set the valves while cold. I'll probably do it all again once we get to Ft. Myers just to be very save. I don't want to change the engine again although I do expect to tear into the outdrive once we get settled and finish the house. I'm way overdue for something to happen there based on everyone else's experience. With that said, I'm one of the fans of the outdrive because it has been so reliable with proper maintenance along with the fact it makes the boat so maneuverable. I can turn this boat in just about the length of the boat and I just love the outdrive. With that said, I'm sure it needs a new prop shaft, seal, zinc, and a really good painting.

We'll take care of that in June before hurricane season arrives.

  Nov 28 - We left yesterday morning only to return. Evidently we didn't have one air bubble out. Who would have known? An hour and 15 min later we left again and this time were gone. We still made 50 miles and had a great dinner. Checked everything and it looked good. Today, the winds are blowing pretty good from the north. That ended up being a blessing for us. The engine decided at about 10 a.m. that it wanted to stop. Sounded like it was running out of fuel. I switched tanks but we weren't out of fuel. Temperature was also up which was weird. We set the main sail instead of just the jib and sailed for the next 1 3/4 hours while everything cooled off and I could check out the engine. Deb did a great job at the helm and called for help everytime we had to make a turn which meant we had to jibe. If you don't check that main sail then the slam is impressive and you think the backstay will break or the mast will come down in 20 knots of wind. We learn pretty quick. My nose was in the engine and I found nothing. After I was SURE it had plenty of antifreeze I started it again and everything was perfect. Now that is weird!!!

I think I have it figured out and I think the problem is a ground. I don't think anything was overheating and the engine stalling was the fuel pump loosing power. We started the engine again at about noon and it ran just fine the rest of the day until we anchored after a 55 nm day which would be about 63 miles for all of you, at a little before 4. Again, I went over everything but this time I took off the ground wire and cleaned the connections so we could see tomorrow what happens. I was going to add another ground but I would rather figure the thing out. (For the Gemini owners out there, I was working with the ground that is on the bolt connecting the brace next to the oil filter.) Some more facts. I found the oil pressure gauge was wondering down while the temperature was going up when the engine stopped. It was either catastrophic or an electrical problem. Since it ran fine for another 4 hours that means electrical which just happens to me a specialty of mine. We will keep an eye on everything again tomorrow and hopefully it was just a typical problem of when you tear everything apart and put it back together again. Stuff happens and the adventure is figuring it out.

Even with all of that, we still averaged over 6 knots for the day. At times we were doing over 8 knots over ground on the GPS. It was really cool.

If a friend of mine is at Amelia Island, we will stop tomorrow. Otherwise, we will be heading further south to make St. Augustine an easy day trip from where we anchor. I'm planning on spending a full day at St. Augustine because I will need to do the new engine maintenance. Change oil and filter along with remove valve train to torque the head and then reinstall the valve train and adjust the valves. Fun, Fun, Fun.

Oh yeah, watched a guy sail aground today. Pictures on the next update.

 Nov 29 - Hey we ware still moving and guess what - Pictures this time.

Let me go back. After we left Hilton Head, we passed by the river leading up to Savannah. You can just see it in the background. At this point we are still nervous about the engine and as you will find out, with some reason.

 

One thing about the marshes of Georgia. STAY IN THE CHANNEL. This guy had the worst experience. It wasn't that he went aground, it was that his mother was in the boat in front of him telling him to harden up the jib. He was pointed the other way at the time and had he done that, he would have simply gone further aground. They had a power boat stop and go by to "wake him." That means put out a big wake which would lift the boat up and hopefully he would sail off. Problem was he was going the wrong way with his mother yelling at him. Don't you wish you could go cruising with your Mother yelling...... NO..... So the power boat got into position again. The mother, son, guy on the power boat were all chattering on 16 and the Coast Guard said, "Channel 16 is for hailing and distress, please shift to another channel." At this point I just couldn't take it anymore. I told everyone to shift to 17 and then I told the kid to run his engine and get the boat turned back towards the channel before the power boat waked him. He did so partially but it wouldn't come totally around. I told him when the wake comes sheet in the jib and main and try to keep the boat heeled over. He gave gave it a shot but ended up still aground with his mother still yelling at him.

I told them all they had to do now was put a dinghy in the water, take an anchor out to pull the boat off, and the tide would come up 5 feet in the next 4 hours so it was a no issue they just needed to wait. (That is called kedging off.) They could be off in an hour and a half or so when the tide came up 2 -3 feet.

We left because I couldn't take it anymore. I actually feel sorry for the kid but hope he figured out to keep it in the channel.

We've been passing some water we haven't been in before. We typically skip parts or all of Georgia. It winds around and it bad for shoaling which means filling in with junk so it is too shallow. On top of that, there are areas with 9 foot tides.

The picture to the right shows you some of the fun you will see. this range marker is also the green for the channel and on top of that it is the green for the intercoastal waterway. Education pays sometimes.

And today we saw another boat aground. They were trying to cut a corner which had a charted depth they should have been able to make it in. However, there was another buoy in the water that told you that shoaling was taking place. Sometimes you have to use that thing between your shoulders called a head to figure out that a problem may exist. Unfortunately, too many people just use their GPS instead of their head.

We passed Amelia and I saw the lunar landing vehicle loaded onto a ship. Honestly, that must have been what it was. Does it look like something else to you? It isn't a dog house so it must have been a lunar lander.

We anchored along the way and just out of the channel. These birds were hanging out and entertaining us for happy hour. So now for the story for all the Gemini readers.

You read yesterday that I had a problem and I thought it was a ground problem causing my gauges to be off. I happened to be right. It actually was very logical. The engine had quit, the temperature was then up, I had been seeing the oil pressure going lower and all the while the voltage from the alternator was too high. The chances of this many issues happening at once is next to impossible. So what could it have been? My only answer was I had a bad ground. I thought about it and came to a conclusion. Next, Icalled my friend Fred and explained the symptoms. He was almost at a loss but when I told him my theory he agreed. Fred is a good mechanic and will disagree with me if he thinks I'm nuts which may be more than not - you'll have to ask Fred. Last night at anchor I took off the bolt on the 45 degree angle bracket which goes up to the heat exchanger and used a flashlight to see there was paint in the threaded part in the block. I cleaned up the ground connector, the washers, and the bolt. Then used the bolt to run in and out of the block to clean the threads. I didn't have a brush for the internal threads.

Bottom line is that the gauges and engine did perfect today. Wow, good news. This would have been an ultimate pain to find if I didn't already know where the ground wire was mounted for this engine. Gemini people, you need to remember this!!! This ground will cause your gauges to be inaccurate and your fuel pump to stop. Simply keep it in the back of your mind.

We should be in St. Augustine tomorrow even though we will have some south winds. It's down to 45 statute miles so we should arrive before the front comes through. Winds tomorrow night are forecast to 25+ knots moving to the north on Wednesday. I will stay an entire day to do the engine maintenance and have some fun. I need to change the oil, remove the valve train and torque the head, then reinstall the valve train and adjust the valves while the engine is cold. Sounds like fun to me!!! Nothing like taking care of your new engine.

Hopefully some of our other friends will catch us in St. Augustine since we haven't seen them since the Bahamas a few years ago.

As far as the home front goes, we are waiting to find out when we are supposed to close. Deb and I are excited about the HUGE project we are taking on but given the value for risk ratio it sure seems worth it.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

 Nov 30 - Here we are in St. Augustine and already invited to a happy hour on a 50 foot Cat. Too cool. But the real story is getting here. Stuff broke again. I mentioned previously that we didn't go outside and head down even though we had a great weather window 4 days ago. The reason was that I just knew things have to get sorted out after so much work is done. Just think of all the things that can go wrong. I declare the last thing went wrong today! We are moving along after a day and a half of everything working like clockwork. All of a sudden an alarm goes off and I'm in the middle of the channel so it wasn't a depth alarm. I immediately scan my gauges, which I had done not 30 seconds before and everything is reading perfect. Alarm is screaming. I think, I know that alarm. It is from the oil pressure switch. I pop open the engine hatch and sure enough the wire has broken the terminal off. Who knows if I partially broke it putting the mounts back on or if Garry did it transferring the wiring harness. It really doesn't matter because it happened and right now it is hanging and broken. Now I just needed the alarm to shut up which meant unhooking it. All is good. Next the engine quit. Great - don't you just love it when the engine quits in a 15 knot headwind and the tide is against you in a narrow channel. I started the engine again and it started to sputter so I pushed the preheat which also puts power to the fuel pump. Ran great so I thought I might be low on fuel and switched to the tank we just filled up. Next it started quitting again, push the preheat and running again. I can't do this for the next 10 miles because it will mess up the glow plugs. So the only thing to do is to do something else. Off to the side and out goes the anchor. After checking both fuel filters, which were just fine - I ended up putting a second fuel pump in line with my fuel feed system so that I could power if from an independent source. I just happen to have one on board because it is part of my fuel polishing system. Guess what? It all worked perfect and we were back underway again. Now, what happened?????? I pulled out the electrical diagram for the engine and started tracing the circuit. I won't go into the wire numbers but to make a longer story short, the fuel pump is fed from two places, The preheat solenoid and the alternator. Once the engine starts you release the preheat button and the alternator provides power. But WAIT! The power from the alternator goes through the oil pressure switch. Ingenious, great safety feature but who knew????? So like most problems, there is one solution. Get a new oil pressure switch. Not so easy, they won't deliver from Auto Zone or NAPA. I will order one and simply bypass the one I have so I can keep moving. Yes, I do have to take that other pump out of the circuit but is was a pretty cool solution.

Tomorrow I will do my 50 hour maintenance on the engine even though it's been 35 hours. I'll just do it again at 100 hours which they don't call for but I'll just do overkill. Then we will go have fun in St. Augustine which will probably be our last land stop before Ft Myers. But that is planning way to far in advance.

Like I said, this is our LAST problem with changing out the engine. And they were fun too, but I'm done.

   
   
   
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