My parents were in town last month for my nephew's second birthday. I proudly invited the entire family out for a day of sailing. None of them had seen the boat since we purchased it last summer when it was a half-sunk, mold-covered pile of rot. I was quite excited to show them the progress and how well the new motor ran.
I had spent the previous day connecting the oil pressure sensor and rewiring the alternator, which hadn't been charging. I thought the alternator had gone bad and bought another one, but it was just wired wrong. Chalk that up as another expensive mistake, but hey, now we have a spare alternator.
For some reason, I just can't seem to get more than two of our four gauges working at a time. Before my day of tinkering I had volt and temperature readings. After my day of tinkering I had volt and oil pressure readings, but my temperature gauge is no longer responding. Of course, the fuel gauge has remained inactive and will continue to remain useless until I get around to switching the float in the tank, which isn't currently a high priority. I'm not thrilled the temp sensor isn't working, but the tradeoff is a charging alternator, so it's worth it, and as I found out Sunday with my family aboard, the dummy light still works.
To make a long story short, after loading the family aboard and casting off, we had scarcely left the channel out of the marina when I noticed a significant lack of power. It was then that the warning light started blazing and smoke began rising from the companionway. There was nothing to do but kill the motor and go below to investigate.
In all my activity Saturday I had knocked a coolant hose loose. That had resulted in coolant being sprayed all over the engine compartment. Simple fix -- except that I'd left all my tools in the trunk of my car back on shore.
I found a bottle opener in the drawer and used it to tighten the hose clamp. Problem solved except that we now had to wait until the engine was cool enough to open the heat exchanger to add more water.
I climbed back on deck and announced that we were hoisting the mainsail to enjoy some sailing on Clear Lake. Being pointed downwind presented a little trouble as the sail kept blowing under the stays, but I eventually got it up, and we slowly made our way back and forth across the lake for the next hour.
When my pregnant sister decided she'd finally had enough sailing, I went below and put four bottle of water in the tank, crossed my fingers and fired up the diesel. Thankfully, it ran like clockwork all the way back.
I went out to do some more work Friday, but I still haven't been able to remedy the mast light problem. My new theory is that the bulbs are getting wet in the rain and shorting out. I don't know. Unfortunately, it means climbing the mast again, which just isn't fun although it may be easier in this cooler weather.