Mechanical Issues on a 8999nm Voyage

Mechanical Issues on a 8999nm Voyage

Bellport Marina Ashiya


April 15, 2010

8999 Nautical Miles Total Distance Traveled from Seattle, WA

The mechanical issues that we have had since leaving Seattle have been minimal:

1. The Cummins Engine fuel solenoid shorted out, killing the engine and shorting out the engine electrical panel (blog entry “A Night to Remember”).

2. The two brand-new 20kw Northern Light Generators each lost their oil sending unit, which maxed out at over the 80lb. maximum oil pressure shown on the gauge; not long after that they showed zero pressure. This was apparently a defective batch of oil sending units. I had one replacement in my spare kit and had two more shipped to Starr and I’m going to plumb in a mechanical oil pressure gauge on each generator.

3. The Northern Lights forward generator, with only 550 hrs., lost its sea water pump seals.

4. Naiad Stabilizers: We had replaced the old hydraulic oil reservoir with the new “latest and greatest” just prior to leaving Seattle last August. The seawater cooling tubes ruptured, forcing seawater throughout the complete hydraulic system (read aboutthe coffee latte spill in the blog entry “Sometimes we get Lucky”). The only other issue with the stabilizers, that has been a nagging concern since we left Seattle, is a creaking noise that the Naiad guys in Seattle speculated might be caused by a grease seal pushing up against the ram. The noise lessened on the passage to Hawaii, and then continued to get worse and the noise became louder and louder as we approached Japan. We had this noise issue back in 2001, immediately after having the fins dropped and the seals replaced in San Diego on our way to Mexico and the South Pacific. Back then the fins were definitely rotating on the shaft and making a “chattering” sound. When we arrived in New Zealand, we hauled the boat, dropped the fins and found the shafts to be heavily galled and scored. Speculation in hindsight was that the yard in San Diego did not get every bit of grease/oil cleaned off the shaft and our of the stabilizer sockets. This current sound is similar, but much louder.

I have emailed some of my cruising buddies about this problem and they asked me to record the sound. Now that we are in Japan with super fast WiFi, I have been able to upload a video with this very unpleasant sound. Here is the link: and now you can hear it too. I am interested in your diagnosis of this problem. I can’t figure it out, but it’s really bothering me.

These shafts and bearings were replaced when Starr was still in Seattle (and you guys know how expensive they are) and the fins were dropped and the Teflon seals replaced by the Naiad guys, just a couple of weeks before we left Seattle.

We are leaving Bellport Ashiya on April 26 to go cruising with our Nordhaven GSSR friends on San Souci, Seabird and Grey Pearl. We will be traveling to the Seto Nakai (the Inland Sea of Japan) and to the Sea of Japan between Japan and Korea/China. I really want to get this issue resolved as soon as possible.

Wish me Luck!!

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