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Old 11-23-2020, 06:28 PM   #1
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All Hell breaks out on simple trip to Catalina Island

After five or six wonderful cruises to Catalina Island and Santa Barbara Island I have the trip from Hell. My boat owning brother from San Francisco finally breaks away to see my boat and take a relaxing 5 day trip. So it starts with running one fuel tank dry and not being able to restart the port engine. See my Port 3208 won't start thread. We get to the the Island on Friday evening near sunset. Being a little distracted by that port engine I forgot to bring in the 12' Caribe which was on a long tow line. After getting anchored I realized I had wrapped the tow line up tight. Ok, hop in the water with a flash light. Oh man, a much bigger job than I can do tonight. Ok launch my 10' Achilles to row the dogs to the beach for relief. Done. Tie up the Dinghy. Oops got the cleat tie backwards, oh well, no problem. Start the small 4kw generator to charge batteries. Wait 4 minutes. Loud noise. Go to engine room and shut down the genset that just blew off the exhaust line because it was not pumping water, got hot, melted a plastic connector, blew off the hose, filled the engine room with exhaust. Ok, no big deal, start the big 16kw generator. No start. Crap. Well at least I can start the motors. Bled the port engine, tried to start, cranking but no starting. Ok, try again. No starter. Get multi-tester, check port start batt. Positive terminal melted off. Ok, hook up jumper cables to stb start batt. Port engine no starter. Stb engine, no start. Ok, what shuts down all motors, aha, the Fireboy. Disable it. Start the stb engine----good. Start the big generator----good. Ok, maybe the port engine will start. Boom everything shuts down. Try to start the big generator, no start. Crap. Turn off all power and go to bed. Wake up at 4am. Take a look at the dinghies. Crap the Achilles is gone. Damn, I knew I tied it poorly. Jump in the Caribe and race around looking for the Achilles. Flashlight dies. Go back to bed. Get up a daybreak. Hop in the Caribe and look for Achilles. No luck, call and report it to Coast Guard and Harbor Masters. Spend 2-1/2 hours Saturday morning getting the tightly wrapped tow line off the stb shaft while getting beat up with heavy waves pounding me, making me bleed and feeling sick from drinking sea water. Finally we have at least one serviceable motor. Pull the anchor and go home on one engine.

Get to dock. Next day, while checking out why the big generator didn't restart, I opened the access panel and right in front is a stop solenoid. I gave the lever a nudge. It moved a hair. I pushed the start button and it started right up. When the Fireboy shut it down, the solenoid did not return to its perfect condition. What about the little generator. Ok, I don't want to get into the hard to reach impeller, lets look into the sea strainer. No problem. What about the thru-hull. Gee the lever is stiff. Work it work it. Break it off at the shaft. Oh great. Much later I replace the destroyed impeller, changed the oil and filter, had my diver plug the hole and replaced the valve. Also, got a fiberglass connector for the exhaust hose installed and fired her up. Hurray, we are pumping water.

Replaced all of the batteries and found that a defective Xantrex inverter charger was pushing 120hz AC through my DC system which probably fried the batteries and the effort to push bigger amps through the port start batt fried the positive terminal. Ok, bought a new Inverter/Charger.

Holey Crap what a trip from Hell.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:32 PM   #2
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Did you ever find the Achilles? What a trip...
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:33 PM   #3
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Ok, update. I really needed the Achilles for another trip with my ski boat. I need the Achilles to get from the beach to the boat and I also fish off of the Achilles. My wife says: "how long have you had that Achilles" I say I bought it in 1998. She says "Then buy a new one, you got your moneys worth". So I call the dealer and he has one in stock with no more coming before I'll need it. So I tell them to put my name on it and I drive off to pick it up. Now I'm half way there and I get a phone call. This is the Coast Guard, I think we found your Achilles. They did. I nice boater found it at 8am that Saturday morning 10 miles from where I was. Ok, at least some good news. Canceled the order for the new Achilles.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:36 PM   #4
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No words. Just glad you are safe and recovered from that ordeal.
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Ok, bought a new Inverter/Charger.

Holey Crap what a trip from Hell.
Not another Xantrex, right ?
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:55 PM   #6
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Gee, and I thought I had it bad merely having a bad dream about our boat getting hung up on rocks at a high King tide.

Smooth sailing going forward!
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Old 11-23-2020, 06:59 PM   #7
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Not another Xantrex, right ?
My electrician recommended Victron. I had already ordered a 30 amp iP22 from them to replace a secondary charger that was dead when I bought the boat. When it came in it wouldn't install because it would not accept my 50amp sized power cables. Then we found the inverter issue, so I have installed a new Victron 120 amp Multi-Plus Inverter/Charger but I am waiting on a 50amp replacement for the 30amp iP22 I returned. Hopefully I'll have all this done soon. By the way, I replaced the two start 8Ds . I also with Centennial 8D AGMs. I replace two more 8Ds that were the house bank with 6 Trojan L16 6v golf cart batteries. That should reduce my generator time when on the hook. Some serious amp hours in those suckers. This way I have the Multi-Plus programmed for the Lead Acid L16s and the new Victron Phoenix will output to the Centennials, the L16s and the little generator start battery. Each leg will be programmed for the specific batteries.
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:11 PM   #8
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I am replacing my 6 volt GC house bank with LiFePO4 batteries. They have many advantages over LA batteries. In my case they actually worked out cheaper than replacing the 6 volt GC batteries. I would have had to replace one of my A/C units with a self contained unit so I could get more real estate in the engine room. So the Lithium batteries, although expensive, were cheaper in the total cost.
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:24 PM   #9
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My only comment is "what kind of drugs to you feed your wife to get her to say,"" just buy a new one""

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Old 11-23-2020, 07:37 PM   #10
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For the first year after I bought my 14-year old GB42, I had a pen and pad of paper at hand every time we got underway to write down all the stuff needing fixing. Do you feel you learned a lot about your vessel and/or gained some more troubleshooting skills? About that poorly secured dink....
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:38 PM   #11
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My only comment is "what kind of drugs to you feed your wife to get her to say,"" just buy a new one""

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I've been very lucky. My first wife and I had a sailboat for 20 years. Sold it while I contemplated a power boat. Then one day she says "I'm tired of not having a boat". That was all I needed.

Now wife #2 just wants me to be happy. I am successful at that as well. Being happy and choosing wives.
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:41 PM   #12
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I came to wife 2 with boat attached leaving her no choice.
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:59 PM   #13
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For the first year after I bought my 14-year old GB42, I had a pen and pad of paper at hand every time we got underway to write down all the stuff needing fixing. Do you feel you learned a lot about your vessel and/or gained some more troubleshooting skills? About that poorly secured dink....
Oh, yes I learned a lot. Regarding the dink, I knew better but then I had never had the problem. Like I had indicated, it was rough and all the bouncing and tugging did expose my poor seamanship. Never again. Regarding the charging system, yes. The thru hull, for sure. I have already worked every thru hull on the ship. Bleeding the engines, yep. I'm good at it now. Did it probably 15 times over this. I left a lot out as I had posted much of the fuel issues on a different post. Now I can change the impeller and check and change the oil on my little generator which was installed with the working side up against the bulk head. Can barely see the dip stick, can't see the dipstick hole. Not to mention trying to screw on a new oil filter when I can only touch it with my finger tips. There were some bad words thrown around, some cuts in my arms and chest straining over the top to get to those areas. Now I know how to do it and I'll do it again when needed. I spoke with the previous owner about it and he said he had people refuse to work on that generator. In fact he couldn't remember ever changing the oil in it. The big generator, ok I know about the stop solenoid. Yes I learned. I told my wife that it was expensive to correct all the problems but I had already planned to add the L16 batteries anyway and it was a great learning experience. So, which learning experience is coming next? Its always something. Oh, did I tell you my A/C Heating system pump quit a couple days ago? Yes. Not even looking at that one till the new charger is in and properly programmed. Its always something.
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:05 PM   #14
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That initial post was one of the most reassuring things I've ever read. I've had days like that. Whether it's misery loves company or good old empathy or camaraderie, I mean it's reassuring because no matter our resourcefulness or preparation or repair and troubleshooting skills or how well we maintain the boat, sometimes a voyage just turns into a crapstorm. I could tell you a similar story on the Hudson starting just north of Haverstraw where the day included ruined props after running aground, water cop megaphones yelling at us from the Indian Pt nuke plant, half an hour with my head buried deep in the upper helm cabinet pulling fuses with one arm and holding them in my teeth, and ended with our radar arch taking out the giant lighted plastic Chevron sign over a marina's gas dock with a terrible cracking and crunching noise (I wasn't driving, wasn't me).

Good to know even highly skilled fellow boaters have really bad days. Thanks for posting.
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:09 PM   #15
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On the bright side you closed all the hatches and windows so the bunks and bedding didn't get soaked. That's when the trip really starts to enter hell territory
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:21 PM   #16
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Not being tied down to something like a shaft as main engine are, can the little generator be rotated on its base at all?
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:39 PM   #17
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"Buy a boat," they said. "It'll be fun!" they said . . .
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:51 PM   #18
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That initial post was one of the most reassuring things I've ever read. .....

Good to know even highly skilled fellow boaters have really bad days. Thanks for posting.
We all just need to be proud to know RickyD.
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:53 PM   #19
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"Buy a boat," they said. "It'll be fun!" they said . . .
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Old 11-24-2020, 01:19 AM   #20
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After five or six wonderful cruises to Catalina Island and Santa Barbara Island
So was this trip to hell #6 or #7.

How was the weather? You survived an ordeal, looking forward the next issue will make you smile thinking back.
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