Sweden Rescue, Sweden Rescue, Sweden Rescue. This is sailing vessel OZPOM -OZPOM-OZPOM.
This was not the way I wanted to start a VHF conversation. It was however, a lot better than starting with MAYDAY or PAN PAN. What led to our sorry state? Well, it just seems that the magic fix that the engine had in Ystad, was just a fluke. We hadn’t actually fixed anything, and so, in the dead of night when the wind died, we couldn’t get the engine exhaust running anymore. Change of plans, and we headed for Karlskrona.
About 17 NM out of Karlskrona, we didn’t have any mobile connectivity, and so I had to go via Sweden Rescue to see if we could get a tow by the volunteer sea rescue organisation, Sjöräddningssällskapet- Swedish Sea Rescue Society, when closer to Karlskrona. No problems, and we had an ETA of about four hours later. Two hours later, it was getting dark and the wind died totally. We drifted around in circles and so it was time to call and see if the guys could come further out. Yes it was, and an hour later we were in tow. And what a beautiful smooth ride it was. Real pros and so nice. Thank you to the guys from rescue station Hasslö who came on Rescue Cecilia Bratt. Without you, we would still be sitting out there going in circles.
We were towed to Saltö Fiskhamn, and old fishing port with a couple of Volvo Penta certified shops right by the pier. Handy, is what I thought. And yes it has been during the long day when I searched for the problem and spare parts. But unfortunately, they didn’t have a spare mechanic for my problem, neither did the other two guys that we called. One company worked just with commercial customers and the defence forces and the third was just too busy as well. But all three places gave advice every time I had tried one thing, they told me the next step. In the end, I actually called home as well. In the end, it was a combination of these advices that led to the problem being solved. The final push came from back home. My call must have been so disturbing that the dockyard chief actually called me back with an idea. And I started working on it, got some help from the local guy, and after eight hours of playing the mechanic, the problem was solved.
During the day, I unscrewed and checked all pipes leading from the through-hull valve to the impeller. And there was nothing wrong. We got the water flowing by hand but not by the engine. In the end, the solution was logical, even though not conventional, and I would change the whole water pump if it were my boat. We lowered the sea water filter a fraction, so the suction needed would be less. The casing of the water pump is obviously quite worn. But the thing that really worked immediately, was turning the lid of the impeller casing. I sanded down all the paint, and had a very nice, shiny brass lid. The other side was very deeply grooved and since the lid has to fit tightly, it didn’t anymore. It let too much air go by for a proper under pressure to develop to suck the seawater in. Once I put the new shiny side towards the impeller, the suction started immediately. What a relief, just before closing time, and after I had ordered a new pump, delivery on Tuesday next. Four days of waiting.
It was a hot, tiresome and infuriating day. One step at a time we got closer to the solution and now the exhaust water is actually flowing better that at any time that I’ve been on this boat. So now I know a lot more about the cooling system and how it works. If ever the shame kind of problem arises, I think I’ll try this first, and then go on to the other stuff.
As we are somewhat behind schedule, the Visby vacation doesn’t seem very likely. We should have been there this morning for everything to be on time. We’ve used almost all the contingency time reserved and have to head as straight home as possible. With no, or little wind forecast we are now motoring past Öland and heading for Nynäshamn. With this speed, it’s about another day of motoring ahead.
With gratitude to the guys in Saltö Fiskhamn at MMG Marine, Hasslö Varv and 1852. A special thanks to Emsalö Båtupplag back home. Without you guys, I would have had a really rotten day. This is what great customer service is all about.