Diesel in a bag - Sail Magazine

Diesel in a bag

Halfway between St. John, New Brunswick, and Digby, Nova Scotia, a passage of about 30 nautical miles, the diesel in my Cape Dory 270 stopped. With 40-foot tides creating sluice-like currents, entering most harbors on the Bay of Fundy requires careful timing to arrive at slack water or when the tide is flooding. If you arrive late, you have to wait for the tide to change while being tossed about
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
diesel_jury_righ

Halfway between St. John, New Brunswick, and Digby, Nova Scotia, a passage of about 30 nautical miles, the diesel in my Cape Dory 270 stopped. With 40-foot tides creating sluice-like currents, entering most harbors on the Bay of Fundy requires careful timing to arrive at slack water or when the tide is flooding. If you arrive late, you have to wait for the tide to change while being tossed about like driftwood. I had departed St. John with plenty of time to catch the flood tide at Digby Gut and was moving along under sail at a good six knots. My timing was perfect. Then the wind shifted ahead and brought with it dense fog. With my ETA in mind, I started the engine, lowered the sails, tuned the radar and maintained a close watch.

Soon the engine slowed, paused, and quietly expired. Probably a fuel problem, I thought, but the water separator and the fuel filter were fine. Then I disconnected the fuel line from the fuel pump and quickly determined the problem: the fuel pump had failed. And there was no spare.

With arrival time in Digby stretching like a bungee cord, I considered putting the wind on my quarter and returning to St. John. Then my mind kicked back to a similar situation that had taken place years ago, on land. I was driving down a remote lumber road in Wisconsin in my restored CJ2A Jeep when my fuel pump died—no cell phones back then. I solved the problem by moving the fuel tank from under the driver’s seat up onto the Jeep’s hood. Once the fuel line was reconnected to the carburetor, gravity took over and I was on my way.

Although there was no way that I could get my fuel tank topside, I knew that if I could somehow get a container of fuel higher than the engine, gravity could again take over. My eye caught my 2.5-gallon SunShower plastic composite bag. Using some spare flexible fuel line and some electrical tape, I fashioned an emergency fuel tank. I hung it on the grab handle next to the companionway, slid the flexible line over the metal fuel line leading to the filter side of the high pressure pump, taped it like crazy, clamped the return line and poured in some fuel from my jerry can. Call it an IV bag for an ailing engine, but my iron genny once again had fuel. I made Digby Gut at flood.

Every engine manufacturer designs its fuel delivery system to its own particular applications, and even though my SunShower emergency fuel system worked well on my Westerbeke, there’s a possibility that this solution will not work with other engines. In fact, since my pump failure, I’ve installed a back-up fuel pump on board. Now all I have to do is flick a switch, turn two valves, and I’m up and running again (see figure). But I also carry a new SunShower complete with a length of diesel fuel line that includes an in-line fuel filter. You never know.

Related

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThink Deeply When chartering, I am always maddened to be told that the echo sounder is calibrated “to depth under the keel, plus a bit for safety.” Such operators seem to imagine that the instrument’s sole ...read more

180612-01 Landing lead

Painful Sailing in Volvo Leg 10

It’s looking to be a case of feast or famine for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean fleet as it continues the epic struggle that has been Leg 10, with it having been all famine thus far. Painful is the only word to describe the light-air start in Cardiff, Wales, on June 10, as the 11-boat ...read more

01-13_07_180304_JRE_03695_4605

Tips From the Boatyard

Within the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard sits a communal sail loft which provides service and repairs for all seven teams sailing in the 2017-18 edition of the race. The sail loft employs only five sailmakers who look after 56 sails in each stopover. If you’re thinking, “wow, these ...read more

sailCarwBasicsJuly18

Sail Care for Cruisers

Taking care of your canvas doesn’t just save you money, it’s central to good seamanship  Knowing how to take care of your sails and how to repair them while at sea is an important part of overall seamanship. The last thing any sailor needs is to get caught on a lee shore with ...read more

Ship-container-2048

The Danger of a Collision Offshore

This almost happened to me once. I was sailing singlehanded between Bermuda and St. Martin one fall, and one night happened to be on deck looking around at just the right time. The moon was out, the sky was clear and visibility was good. Still, when I thought I saw a large ...read more

New-MHS-Promo

Multihulls on the Horizon

Fountaine Pajot New 42The French cat powerhouse has been on a roll these last few years, cranking out new models that not only replace their older line but take a step forward in design and user-friendliness. The New 42’s “real” name had not been revealed as we went to press, but ...read more