Day 405 – THE ATLANTIC: Day Eleven

Distance sailed today: 129 NM
Total distance sailed: 776 NM
Midnight GPS position: N 23.05 W030.09
Wind: ENE Wind Force 4-6
Sea state: Slight
Generator hours: 2.4hr
I was just finishing my 4am to 8am watch this morning, when I noticed that the batteries were getting low on the boat. So I started the generator. It kicked into life with a shudder and got into its rhythm.

Then it stopped.

I tried starting it again, and once more it stopped, flashing a yellow light seven times. The short error list to the right of the button indicated that seve flashes meant that there was ‘no raw water flow’. Something was stopping sea water being pumped through the cooling system of the generator – essensially just a big diesel engine.

The generator is essential for charging the batteries that power all the electrics on board the boat. Lights, computer, GPS, navigation equipment, auto pilot, auto steering, freezer, fridge, etc etc, not to mention the electric motors that give the boat drive when there is not enough wind.

Steve heard the generator start and stop two times, and was up before I had a chance to wake him. “I bet you it’s the darn impeller,” he mumbled, still half asleep.

From previous experiences, Steve always carries a spare impeller with him on long trips. This is a rubber paddle wheel of sorts that pumps water through the cooling system of the generator. With continual contact with salt water, the rubber inevitably becomes hard and brittle, eventually breaking away.


With a large spanner and some long nosed pliers to get at the small bolts to remove the water pump cover, Steve managed to get the old impeller out. It was long gone. Below is the new impeller on the left and the old one on the right.


With the help of some dishwashing liquid to lubricate the new impeller, we finally managed to get the new one into the tight fitting water pump housing.


An easy job, but I am glad that Steve always carries a spare impeller. If not, things could have been much worse.

Ellie was on lunch today and made some delicious quesidillas, a Mexican delight with cheese, onion, salami, and tomato sauce sandwiched between tortillas and then toasted on a hot fry pan.


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