Ask Sail: No-Go Engine

My Catalina 40 has a Westerbeke 42B diesel engine with less than 800 hours. After a head-gasket repair, the engine was put back into the boat...
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Jim Wilson of Heathsville, Virginia, asks:

My Catalina 40 has a Westerbeke 42B diesel engine with less than 800 hours. After a head-gasket repair, the engine was put back into the boat. Since then the engine dies when put into reverse while the boat is moving, apparently due to being “over-loaded.” It goes easily into reverse at the dock, but has no power. With the transmission out of gear, it revs easily. A diver checked the prop and bottom, and found no problems. 

Nigel Calder replies:

First you need to determine if this is an engine or transmission problem. With the boat tied off at a dock, open up the engine compartment and have someone put the boat in forward and throttle it up. Look for the mechanism that moves the fuel rack on the engine to throttle up. Do the same in reverse. If the fuel rack goes through the same motion, then the problem is in the transmission. If, however, the fuel rack does not move, there’s a problem in the shift and throttle mechanism. I think you’ll find this is the culprit. If not, it sounds like your reverse gear is more or less seized up, but this is unlikely. 

Related

02-'17-Trans-Atlantic_Downwind-Schralpin

At The Helm: Man Overboard!

Imagine this simple scenario: the boat’s powered up, sailing close-hauled in a building breeze under full sail. I come on deck as the skipper during the watch change to make sure the new crew is comfortable and the boat is properly set up for both the current conditions and ...read more

Promo-01-LEAD-MGR00321

Contrasting X-Yachts & Moody Cruisers

One of the most fascinating things about sailboats is the different ways that sailors, naval architects and builders will approach a single design problem. The result has been a bewildering array of rigs and hull forms over the years, and in the case of the two boats we’ll be ...read more

04-Yacht-anchored-in-front-of-one-of-Lastovo's-gunboat-tunnels-(3)

Cruising Charter to Croatia

As is the case with so much of the Mediterranean, to sail in Croatia is to take a journey through time. Centuries before the birth of Christ, Greeks traded amphoras of oil, wine and grain across these waters. During the first millennium, the Romans built lavish palaces and ...read more

m123728_13_01_171012_PMA_02901_9999

Alicante Announced as an Ocean Race Europe Stop

The Ocean Race Europe, a new event in offshore sailing, will include Alicante as one of four stopover cities. This European offshoot of the former Volvo Ocean Race will include the biggest change to the racing rules under the new title—fully crewed IMOCA 60s will join the ...read more

01-LEAD-doublehanded2

Preparing for a Doublehanded Race

A few months ago we took a look at the development and attraction of doublehanded racing (Two to Tango, June/July 2020). Hopefully, that served to whet your appetite. If so, the question becomes: “How do I get started? The good news, as we explained in Part 1, is that if you are ...read more

01-LEAD-Day-three---dolphins.-300-dpi

A Key Approach to Passagemaking

How you approach offshore sailing is key to the success of each passage. In addition, some of the most valuable, even crucial attitudes and skills may not be either learned or valued in everyday life on shore and may even fly in the face of talents that are greatly admired and ...read more

OceanVoyagesInstitute-2048

Point of SAIL: Mary Crowley of the Ocean Voyages Institute

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a not-for-profit based in California that has been both educating sailors and working to preserve the health of the world’s ocean ...read more

01-Ocean-Voyages-Institute_PHOTO-READY_1_pg

Tracking and Catching Plastic Waste

Plastic waste—in the form of everything from plastic soda bottles to abandoned fishing nets—constitutes a major threat to the health of the world’s oceans. Giving the immense size of an ocean, though, actually finding all the plastic floating around out there in a time-efficient ...read more