#1 2020-09-08 18:51:03

From: Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
Registered: 2017-03-14
Posts: 71

Sucking air is bad for a diesel ;)

Two weekends ago, I decided to sail as far south on the tide as I could; I intend to go to Arklow in early October (weather permitting), and wanted to see how far I could get down the coast. The answer as it so happens is "Wicklow Head on a run with 25 knot winds, a mid-tide, and goose-winged yankee - 3 hours".

This trip is also where I discovered that with 1/3 of a tank of diesel, a rocking sea, and a pitching and rolling Victoria 34, it is very possible to suck air instead of diesel. This is also the trip where I discovered that Blue Opal can sail herself in a straight line with 1/2 a spoke of helm, and the steering locked in place - no need for the autohelm - while I decided that the lee of the cockpit was the best place to sit for a few hours, with easy access to the sea.

Blue Opal's fuel tanks are in the cockpit locker, and there are two 50 liter tanks joined by a 1/2 inch or so ID pipe at the bottom. My only viable hypothesis, since she was running on engine for 15+ minutes just fine before I shut it down (right as she sucked air), is that the combined heel + pitching in the sea caused the 1/3 tank of diesel to basically slosh away from the pickup long enough for me to starve the engine of fuel. Possibly multiple times before it mattered.

More details at my blog.


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