Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Port Engine install overview

Our new Port side engine is about 95% installed... a very productive day. Only about 22 more items on my to do list before we are ready to test run the engine tomorrow.

Engine Replacement Overview

Hire mechanic to evaluate engine while still in boat.

Remove old engine due to suspected bad connection rod bearings.

Forensic investigaiton of engine revealed a broken crankshaft.

Consult with machine shop and mechanic to evaluate cost benefit of rebuilding existing engine.

Investigate feasibility and cost comparison of hauling out of water in California vs Oregon.

Attempt to source used or rebuilt engine.

Source used crankshaft for possible rebuild or to enhance marketability of broken engine.

Decide to sell engine on Craigslist at asking price of $750.

Sell engine within 12 hours of listing for the 'take it off my boat now price of $500' to first person to seem interested.

Investigate alternate engine options. Yanmar 3YM30 vs Volvo D1-30. Volvo had better features like NMEA 200o data bus and availability.

Cost benifit of Volvo vs. Yanmar considering haulout, transmission change, etc, etc. Yanmar wins.

Source Yanmar engine.... more than one week to find intersection of a dealer willing to sell AND with available stock AND at a competitive price.

Research propeller options, investigate propeller theory, contact boat designer, obtain propeller quotes.

Clean engine room which was a big job due to a leaking transmission and lots of gooey 90 weight oil every where.

Extend engine mounting 'rails' by 3-1/2" to accommodate the larger and longer engine.

Fiberglass and epoxy rail extensions.

Pick up engine.

Map out existing wiring loom.

Wire new insterment panel at Pilot house helm.

Wire new engine harness in engine room.

Individually soilder each connection on harness and double shrink wrap each connection.

Resolve messy wiring and piping in engine room.

Disassemble new engine to reduce overall dimensions to a max of 18" wide by 19" long to fit through engine room hatch.

Transfer engine from truck to dinghy.

Rig lifting boom from mast.

Transfer engine from dinghy to engine room.

Trial fit engine to transmission to determine exact engine mount bolt locations.

Unbolt engine and epoxy in engine mounting bolts.

Bolt engine to transmission and install previously removed items (alternator, water pump, exhaust manifold, etc, etc).

Route and connect wiring, plumbing to engine.

Install new exhaust hose to water lift muffler.

Add oil and coolant.

And still only about 22 more smaller items to complete before test fire... getting close.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Yanmar 3YM30 engine installed via dinghy

Kathy handles the business end of the chain hoist. Onlookers wonder what the heck we are doing putting a 30 horsepower engine in our 10.5 foot dinghy.
Lowering our new Yanmar 3YM30 engine into our 10.5' dinghy for transport to LightSpeed. We decided it would be easier to move the engine from our truck to LightSpeed via the dinghy then risk moving the boat to the dock side crane with only one engine. Maneuvering LightSpeed in confined spaces with only one engine is like rowing a boat with only one oar... you have a propensity to just go in circles with the likely result of a crash, thus our decision to use the dink to move the engine to the boat and avoid the drama. A dock side crane made it pretty easy to lift the 380 pound engine from truck and lower it into the dink. From the dink we used the topping lift and our power halyard winch via LightSpeed's boom to lift the engine and lower it into the engine room. All and all it went very smooth.

Astoria, Oregon repower.

Washington wild flowers. Picked especially for our host in Oregon Heather and Kent.101 Bridge from Astoria Oregon to Washington.
Astoria, Oregon. We'll haul out LightSpeed here to finish our replacing our Yanmar 2GM2o engines with new Yanmar 3Ym30 engines. One of the few places we can affordable to haul out LightSpeed with her 23'-3" beam and have the economy of doing our own work.
Astoria, Oregon to Washington Brige.
New Yanmar 3YM30 Engine and Saildrive 20 ready to be installed.

Road Trip

Rogue Brewery lunch stop in Newport, Oregon... our favorite micro brewery... located at the marina.
Grazing Elk we spotted in Oregon.
Mount Shasta 'pee break stop' on our 2000 mile road trip to Oregon. Unfortunately, the camera didn't capture the striking snow clad Mount Shasta in the background.

Yanmar 3YM30

Yanmar 3ym30 marine diesel engines

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2000 mile road trip

This last week we've embarked on a road trip to Oregon via a very unusual form of transportation... for us. An automobile. We rented a truck in Santa Cruz and made a trip to Oregon. Along the way we spent a night in Medford, Oregon then drove the 101 up the beautiful Oregon coast to Astoria to check out the haul out facility. The Port of Astoria has a really big travel lift that can accommodate our 23'-3" beam (travel lift can take 25' beam?). Thence we traveled over the bridge to Washington and back to Portland, Oregon.

In Portland we caught up with some cruising friends Kent and Heather Sisk whom we met in in Belize in 2009. Kent and Heather were out racing there bright red J-24 sloop after their Thursday night races. We met up at the 'Deck' restaurant on the Columbia river after the race and enjoyed a fun night out. We crashed at Heather and Kent's for the night.

On Friday we spent the day with my college roommate Jeff Dawson at his awesome newly remodeled home is Lake Oswego. Jeff has spent the last few years customizing his hillside home with tons of amazing details. It's now for sale so if you are looking for a 5 bedroom 4 bath 3200 super cool home at a bargain price of around $600,000 (due to the recession) let me know and we'll put you in touch Jeff's Realtor. A few years ago this home might have fetched 1 million. Anyway, Jeff took us to Costco for some shopping and then we enjoyed a great night barbecuing and hanging out.

Today we drove from Portland to Redding, CA to pick up a replacement crankshaft for our old Yanmar engine, which we just sold so we owe the new owner of the engine the part.

Onward to Sacramento we are now at Kathy's Aunt Kitty's house for a huge BBQ , fine wines and a good nights sleep before we push on to Santa Cruz.

Lot of traveling, but lots of fun and a nice diversion from our sailing life.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sold our old Yanmar 2GM20F engine

On a positive front I happy to say I sold our old broken Yanmar 2GM20F engine for $500. This no real success story as the engine had easily well more than that in newer parts, but it's gone and now we can move forward. Plus, we were starting to look like a floating junk yard with a disassembled greasy engine sitting on the deck. Deck are now clean as well as the engine room.

Next steps include extending the engine bed rails to accept the new engine. I need to add 3.5" to the rails to accommodate the slightly differnent motor mount locations of the new 3 cylinder engine vs the old 2 cylinder engine.

Sorting out engine woes in Santa Cruz

Progress on our engine repairs sure had a slow start. This last week I've spent several hours each day on the phone and on the web and then in the engine room.

What I've discovered is that there is an Yanmar small engine shortage in the US and Yanmar engines are significantly more expensive in California than other states.


Yanmar 3YM30 with SD20 saildrive:
in Florida $9475 + 6% sales tax ($10,043)
in Oregon $9950 + Nothing ($9950)
in California $11000 + 9% tax ($11,990)


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Catamaran engines

Engine choices appropriate for our 42' catamaran.

Lombardini 30 - 141 kg Pros: lightweight and smooth. Cons: Exotic and expensive.
Yanmar 3YM30-SD - 157 kg Pros: Availability of parts. Con: Initial price and price of parts.
Volvo D1-30 - 158 kg Pros: Cost. Cons: ???
Beta BD-1005 (28HP) - 175 kg (inc saildrive) Pros: Based on Kubota and parts are widely available at low cost. Cons: Weight
Nanni N3-30 (29 HP) - 183 kg (inc Saildrive) Same as Beta

all above weights include a saildrive SD20.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Santa Cruz, CA engine woes

Santa Cruz certainly is a wonderful place to have our engine break down. Great weather, super friendly people and an amazing vibe.

Progress solving our engine woes has been slower that slow. Mostly related to sourcing a new engine at a reasonable price.

Today I pulled the engine out of the engine compartment and pulled the oil pan. To my utter surprise I found that it was not a rod bearing failure, but a crankshaft failure. The crank shaft is broken in half. Amazing the the engine did not completely self destruct and a testament to Kathy quickly shutting it down one the noise developed. A internet search revealed that a new crankshaft would cost $879 plus the numerous other ancillary parts required for a rebuild. Rebuilding is now definitely not a cost effective option given our desire to repower with bigger engines.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blown Engine in Santa Cruz, CA

Safely moored in Santa Cruz, CA.

Two nights ago we were underway from Morro Bay to San Francisco bucking head winds and building seas when all hell broke loose.

A terrible racket jolted me from my off watch snooze. Kathy being an attentive watch person immediately sprung into action to shut down the port diesel engine which was making the terrible sounds. I grogily headed for the cramped engine room to make a inspection, a real challenge to in rough seas with hot engine as you have to watch out for burns. While I was below Kathy started the engine briefly for me to evaluate the noise up close and personal. My immediate diagnosis based on the hammering noise was a connecting rod bearing failure. Likely prognosis: Major rebuild or replacement. We decided to tuck into Santa Cruz to further evaluate the engine problem and look at solutions. We arrived in Santa Cruz around sunrise amidst thick fog and dropped the anchor near the famous Santa Cruz pier. After a few hours sleep we headed into the harbor via dinghy to check our dockage options. Lucky for us a long end pier was available which would make for an easy one engine approach. We tied up without incident and went out to treat ourselves to a nice breakfast.

Next stop was a local diesel mechanic to arrange for a visit to the boat. Before tearing into the engine I wanted to be sure what we were dealing with. Unfortunately, the mechanics opinion was concurring and the engine would need to come out.

Today we are looking into sourcing a new engine as it has been our desire to upgrade the engines to the newer Yanmar 3YM30 30hp models. Since we don't want to lose our summer cruising season to a major project we intend to make this an incremental project and just replace one engine now and leave the transmissions and remaining engine for later if possible

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Leaving Morro Bay, CA

June 13, 2010 7:50AM
Anchored in Morro Bay, CA

Finally, a short spell of good weather is upon us. We hope to make the most of flatter seas and lighter winds by making some miles good toward Francisco about 180nm distant. In the last few days seas have been running 11-13 feet plus local wind waves on top. Today, the underlying swell is down to around 5 feet at 9 seconds.

Morro Bay is a great stop with freindly people and a charming waterfront town that stil maintains close ties to it's roots in the fishing industry. To gaze at Morro Rock is amazing and worth a visit alone.

Renewed our yacht club membership with Sloop Tavern Yacht Club in Seattle. and looking forward to participating in the club once we get back to home waters. Reciprocal yacht club privileges will also be hugely beneficial with the many ports of call we plan to make between now and fall.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Morro Bay, Ca HUGE WAVES

LightSpeed is safely anchored in Morro Bay, California waiting for some calm weather this weekend.

Check out these awesome photos of a Coast guard rescue boat battling the surt at Morro Bay.

Abby Sunderland sailing around the world on Wild Eyes

Abby Sunderland attempting to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world aboard Wild Eyes has set off her EPIRB in the Indian Ocean. This is not good news as the nearest ship is 2 days away. Our thoughts are with Abby as she likely battles for her life. Hang in there Abby!

For the latest see Abby's blog at:

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Day 1744 Avila Beach, CA

LightSpeed anchored off Avila Beach. Lucky to meet some really nice locals here in Avila Beach. Cindy & Mark offered to take us grocery shopping in San Luis Obispo which about 10 miles inland, we hosted a impromtu happy hour on LightSpeed and will be joining them for dinner tonight. We also met Nick who is building a 44' Kurt Hughes Catamaran and enjoyed a tour of his new awesome boat and also gave him a tour of LightSpeed. Looks like we'll stay another night or two as the weather is not so conducive to heading North yet.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Arrived Port San Luis Obispo

June 6, 2010 20:00 PST
Anchored in San Luis harbor.

Greeted by a whale upon our safe arrival in San Luis. As we approached the harbor it was still blowing around 30 knots and I was trying hard to spot the channel marker when I spotted what I thought was a rock that then turned into a huge whale tail. I then saw the whale surface a second time blow twice then sound (dive to the bottom with the tail lifted out of the water). Very cool. Glad to be in a nice calm anchorage for the night after the vigorous wind and seas today.

San Luis Obispo Bay in sight

June 6, 2010 18:30PST
Position: 35°09.5951 N 120°44.8065 W
Underway toward San Luis, CA with about 6nm to go.

Wind: 32-36 knots (Gale conditions)
Seas: 10-12 feet at a period of 10 seconds and breaking.
Water temp: 49.1F

Wanted to quickly report we've passed the Missile test danger area and that 'Frontier Patrol' has reopened danger areas 1 & 2. The Missile test was a success, however we didn't see anything which is probable for the best.

LightSpeed is doing an awesome job of keeping us comfortable and happy while a gale begins to bare her teeth outside. The fine hulls and significant bridge deck clearance keep us riding over the top of the frigid foaming crests with only a very occasional slap to a hull. It's a wild ride, but nothing to complain about whatsoever. At the moment we are munching on a snack of popcorn and counting down the hours to our arrival in San Luis Obispo Bay.

LightSpeed what is your position?

June 6, 2010 13:00 PST
Position: 34°44.0841 N 120°43.8631 W
Underway toward San Louis Obispo Bay

Our blissful if foggy conditions reported in the earlier post from 3 hours ago have officially abated. Twenty eight knot head winds have slowed our progress to around 4 knots over ground from the previous upper 6 knot range. Breaking seas in the neighborhood of 9-11+ feet provide for an occasional if not vigorous washing of our pilot house windows. I just awoke from a nice 1 hour nap as Kathy finished preparing our favorite comfort food for rough seas, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The sunny and warm pilot house of our Chris White Atlantic 42 is priceless in these conditions. Kathy is now napping.

Our fast talking friend on 'Frontier Patrol' is keeping close tabs on us via VHF 16 as we run parallel about 1nm West of the Missile test areas. Apparently, they have lost radar contact with us in building seas and now call us regularly for position updates to ensure we are not in the danger zone. Very thoughtful of them. After speaking with our 'Frontier Patrol' friend for at least the 20th time today and anticipating another 20 conversations, I asked for his name. The response was 'Negative, Sir, just Frontier Patrol'. Perhaps, first names are a now a mater of National Security?

Last I spoke with 'Frontier Patrol' about 30 seconds ago I asked if they were going to call me every 15 minutes for a position update. 'Yes, sir' was the reply. I'm considering giving 'Frontier Patrol' the nick name of 'Big Brother', but since I'm close to the missile test fire zone maybe not... you shouldn't tease the guys with the missiles.

In regards to position reporting s/v LightSpeed is equipped with an ACR Class B AIS transponder. The AIS unit broadcast our position, speed, course and vessel name automatically every second via VHF. I asked 'Frontier Patrol' if they were tracking me on AIS and was informed that they are not yet equipped with this 10 year new technology as it was still in the procurement process.

Pt Conception - Missile Range

June 6, 2010 10AM PDT
Position: 34°32.0814 N 120°36.1726 W

Just rounded Conception and aside from the gentle pitching of 7 foot head seas at 11 seconds it is very very nice out here. Wind at the moment is less than five knots. Visibility leaves a lot to be desired with less than 1/2 mile in fog.

So we had a course plotted to closely follow the coastline at about 1.5 miles offshore as it was our thought that the waves and wind might be less close in (according to computer models). This plan was blown out of the water when we were hailed on VHF 16 by a fast talking south accented military man with the call sign of 'Frontier Patrol'. A closer inspection of the charts reveals that we are in the vicinity of the Pacific Missile Range. Anyway, the fast talker from 'Frontier Patrol' informed us Danger Zones 1, 2 and 4 would be closed today between 0900 and 1700, I repeat Danger Zones 1, 2 and 4 would be closed today between 0900 and 1700. However, neither Kathy nor I could understand what this guy was saying until he repeated himself 3 or 4 times. Hmm, more study of the chart and a call back to 'Frontier Patrol' to confirm the zones and times again... it is a missile test zone so we can't be too careful. Anyway, our plan to go near coastal was shot as we have to stay at least 4 miles offshore to keep clear of 'Danger Zone 1, 2 and 4'. Hopefully, they don't miss their target and blow us up! Remember visibility is maybe 1/2 mile in the thick fog.

Update. 'Frontier Patrol' just called us back on the radio and asked for a description of our boat. Great! I hope we don't resemble today's target!!!

Headed for San Luis Obispo Bay where we plan to anchor for the night.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Weather sources for Point Conception

Swell height and period for Point Conception ~34*28' North to Point Lopez ~ 36*00'

Swell height and period for Point Lopez ~36' North to Point Arena ~39* North

NOAA Bouy data

Ventura Power Squadron has a great links page for Channel Islands weather at:

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Sparkling clear waters as we approach Coho anchorage near Pt Conception.
See the layer of fog on the right side of the picture? Glad to be out of that for the moment.
Lots and lots of Dolphins. Crystal clear waters. A real treat to watch the antics off our bows.

Waiting for weather to round Point Conception

June 5, 2010
Day 1741
Position: 34°26.9266 N 120°26.6937 W
Anchored at Coho Anchorage near Pt. Conception, CA.
Miles sailed this year: 5061nm
Miles since day 1: 31594nm

Between billowing white and blinding fog banks we enjoy a striking golden shore of sandy beaches and crumbling stone cliffs. Anchored snuggly in Coho Cove we are awaiting favorable weather to round Point Conception which is know by some as 'the Cape Horn of the Pacific Coast'. Yesterday afternoon we approached the Coho anchorage with wind gusts up to 41 knots true. Although we were motoring the last few miles the strong winds required I lower the dagger boards to help the boat track straight. Two recently wrecked sailboats sit high and dry on near the base of the cliffs an ominous reminder to tread carefully.

We shared Coho anchorage with a 63' sailing race boat named s/v Limit hailing from Sydney, Australia. s/v Limit is headed to San Francisco to prepare for the upcoming TransPac race to Hawaii. Heavy weather the previous evening convinced the well seasoned delivery crew (from Australia)to seek refuge in Coho Cove and wait for better weather as well. However, having a schedule they chose to depart in the face of a Gale warning just after midnight. I called s/v Limit on VHF 16 for a weather report around 2AM. It sounded like they were getting a whipping with winds steady at 30 knots while we had only 5-15 knots in the anchorage. We hope they had a safe voyage. Very glad we decided to sit tight and will remain anchored here until we like the weather forecast... it could be a few days.

Today I ventured ashore to investigate the wrecked sailboats on the beach and scavenged a piece of stainless steel lifeline to use for a crab catching device I plan to build. On the way back out through the surf I almost flipped the dinghy in the chilly 54 degree water. I narrowly escaped getting really wet by diving to the front of the dinghy just as the wave began to crest and thereby kept the boat from flipping. Very exciting. The remainder of the day I tried in vain to catch a fish for dinner. Kathy spent her day watching movies, baking a cake and bravely, yet very briskly taking a bath in the super chilly sea water... I guess we are getting used to the cooler weather quicker than I anticipated.

Since San Diego we spent a few days in Newport, a day in Channel Islands Harbor and two nights in Santa Barbara. In Santa Barbara we installed a new radar unit to help guide us through the darkness and fog that will frequent our journey North.

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