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Hanging Out in Anacortes

Since we got back from Sucia Island on Tuesday, we’ve just been hanging out in Anacortes doing some boat projects and some other work. We changed the oil and filter, changed the fuel filters, changed the impeller…we’ve still got a windshield wiper to replace as well as the engine zincs and maybe the transmission fluid…just doing the regular maintenance projects. It’s nice to do these things after the big summer Alaska trip instead of before, so we’ve got time while boppin’ around the San Juans to make sure there are no maintenance-induced problems. 🙂

When we went to Sucia on Sunday (our first outing since getting back in the water), we noticed our engine (a Yanmar 6BY3 260HP) temperature was running a few degrees hotter than normal, and when we throttled back as we went into the Matia Island anchorage for a few minutes to check it out, the temp rose up another couple degrees before going back down to normalish after we were back at our regular cruise RPM. Same thing on our way back to Cap Sante, so I cleaned the sea strainer where the raw water comes in from outside to cool the engine in case it was clogged (it wasn’t…there was pretty much nothing in there) and we changed the raw water impeller just in case it was starting to fail (it looked good other than one tiny crack at the base of one of the veins). We haven’t had the chance to run it again with new impeller, but we’re fairly certain nothing else has changed in the system, so it’s a little curious why the hotter temp. No alarms are going off, but when things are consistent over a long period of time and they change, even slightly, I like to know why they change. (Update below.)

In the meantime, Kevin went to San Jose to give a keynote speech for one of our clients, and I got a bunch of work done here at the boat. It’s been windy and rainy until today, and so today, I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and went for a nice long walk.

This is the trail that goes out to the point here at Cap Sante:

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Some great trees here on this trail (and a whole bunch of fresh dill!):

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This is looking toward the breakwater and the entrance to the marina:

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If you zoom in, you can see the rough water flowing in through the two jetties:

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Great day to go sailing! There was about a 20 kt wind…sky clear, sunny and gorgeous. Tough to be here working while the sailboats kept going past. Pesky sailors! 🙂

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The forecast through Sunday is supposed to be pretty windy, so we’ll likely stay put until we head to my mom’s on Sunday (unless things change for Saturday and we can sneak out for a bit).

Update — news on the temperature mystery! It was an easy one, too, which is nice since that isn’t always the case. A little over a year ago, we had a very minor coolant leak (tiny amounts of coolant were showing up in the bilge). We had the shop take a look at it, and they found and fixed a leak at a hose clamp. After that, the engine temps seemed normal and stable, and the coolant overflow reservoir was consistently about half full. Then, recently, as we mentioned above, we started noticing that our temperature was running a few degrees higher at cruise than before. Looking at the overflow bottle, the coolant level still looked good. Raw water flow seemed good but we replaced the impeller anyway. We realized (in the middle of the night the other night) that we hadn’t checked the coolant level in the engine itself. So in the morning, we got up and…surprise! We were able to add a fair amount of coolant to the engine. So apparently, when the repairs were done to fix the leak, no coolant was added to the engine itself…they had just added to the overflow reservoir, and because the engine runs at such low and steady temperature, with the air gap there wasn’t enough expansion and contraction to move fluid back and forth to the overflow. With the coolant topped off, we took Airship out for some testing. At our normal cruise, we were showing 3-4 degrees cooler than our normal temps. So not only is the issue fixed, we’re running a little cooler now, even.

Moral of the story: Know your baselines, and pay attention when something changes. And don’t depend on the overflow reservoir to give you all of the information you need about your coolant. There are lots of reasons it could be wrong: faulty pressure caps, leaky hoses, etc.