Engines and the Fuel Bug


I've had an ongoing issue with the engine where she would reduce the revs then pick back up to speed, this was more prevalent when doing slow close quarter work, e.g. picking up the mooring. After much research I had found that others have had the same problem and there is some possibility that it there is a clogged lifting pump, but before replacing that I decided to check all the filters!

On opening the primary filter this is what I found!

Primary fuel filter and fuel bug

Looked like a dose of the "diesel bug".

After several hours of twisting, heaving and lots of swearing the new filter was back on. Whoever worked out that the primary filter needed to go under the bunk in the rear cabin behind the engine needs to be asked why! That is going to be re positioned this winter and a simpler system to replace the filter as well.


The Lads Trip 2017 - Lulworth Cove to Starcross

We had agreed that an early start was need in order to have a favorable tide round Portland Bill and set the alarm clocks for 0400 hours UTC! Needless to say I woke at 0330 hours, first light, and roused everybody. Without the formality of breakfast we raised the anchor and set off westward having taken the decision to stand about three miles out of the Portland Bill, but not too far thus reducing our distance sailed.

On leaving Lulworth hot steaming mugs of tea emerged from the galley and we notieced that somebody had stolen all the wind, thus the engine remained on until we passed to the west of Portland Bill and picked up an easterly F1/2. We hoisted the sails and "drifted" westwards at about three knots, thankfully we had a full 16 hours until we had enough water to enter the Exe so there was no pressure and a relaxing day on the water was enjoyed - I really must sort out a spinnaker pole for days like this.

After much playing with sails and fantastic views of the east Devon coast we anchored just off Sidmouth and had fresh mackerel for lunch, rested a few hours and continued our final leg of the trip to the Exe.

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Alex Bowling and Bob Watson



The Lads Trip 2017 - Portland, Swanage and Lulworth Cove

After the gentle inactivity of yesterday we made plans to sail along the coast to Swanage and then return to Lulworth Cove to spend the night at anchor.

After a leisurely breakfast we slipped the lines at 1000 and motored out of the harbour, hoisted the sails and headed east. Bob deployed his trusty fishing line over the side and we all looked forward to fresh mackerel for lunch.

Everybody was enjoying the sunshine and perfect sailing conditions a F3 over the starboard quarter and speed over the ground of 5 knots. At midday I popped down to the chart table to update the log and was surprised to hear the boat be called by name; it was the Lulworth Range control advising us that the range was active and to offshore by at least two nautical miles and wishing us a good day's sailing. Preferring not to get a broadside we followed their request and altered course to starboard by 15 degrees and continued our passage towards St Albin head.

On rounding the head we snuck close into the cliffs as Bob had climbed one of the long traverses many years ago and was keen to spot the line they had taken, while Alex and I enjoyed the spectacular scenery.

Passing Anvil Point lighthouse and then round to Peveril Ledge we kept the buoy well to port, as the over falls looked not the place to spend the day, we came into Swanage. Bob was dispatched in his kayak for supplies of milk and bread while Alex and I slowly motored round the bay until we spotted him heading out to sea.

All safely on-board we turned westward and beat into wind for the next couple of hours before the wind died and the engine was turned on for the final hour into Lulwell Cove.

Lulwell Cove has been one of those places I've been wanting to visit for decades and here we were heading towards the mouth and spotting five other yachts already at anchor. In we went, drop the anchor and motored back, the anchor biting in hard in the fastest time I've ever known the sea bed must be super glue. A good five minutes taking transits and it was time to open the beer.

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Alex Bowling and Bob Watson

Trip Stats: Distance sailed: XX nm, Moving time: X hours XX minutes, Average speed: X.XX knots, Maximum speed: X.XX knots.


The Lads Trip 2017 - Portland Marina

After a lazy start to the day we decided to stay in the marina, do some jobs on the boat and relax.


The Lads Trip 2017 - Starcross to Portland

I was woken about 0145 (UTC) with the sound of things crashing onto the cabin sole and found that I was sleeping against the starboard hull! Looks like the channel had shifted dramatically from last year and a mooring that we knew was deep enough was not. Still at least I've had the boat on her side, the previous owners said that they had done it to clean the hull, and no damage had been done. I was amazed that Bob was still sleeping soundly in the fore cabin.

I climbed out on deck for a few minutes, the waning moon shone brightly and I soaked in the atmosphere of the river. Not a breath of wind, boats sat quietly on their moorings and a group of men on the shore digging for bait. Then scampered back into the warmth of my sleeping bag and tried to get comfortable at the odd angle.

Alex, our final member of the crew, joined us just after 0800 (UTC) and after the introductions breakfast was prepared as he stowed his inflatable canoe under the dinghy on the foredeck. We must have looked a strange vessel with Bob's kayak, my dinghy and an inflatable kayak peeking out from under it all on the foredeck.

Fed and watered we prepared the boat for sea and started the engine. Off to catch up the rest of the fleet who had headed east and on last reports were enjoying the delights of Weymouth just past Portland Bill. Ironically, nobody on board had sailed past the bill so it was going to be a first for all of us.

Chugging out of the Exe on a sunny morning is always a delight and as we rounded Dawlish Warren we were confronted with a sizeable dredger at the end of the channel "hovering up" sand from the sea bead in order to rebuild parts of the warren that had been destroyed over the last few winters. as ever this will be a temporary measure as nature will do what it wants.

On passing the Exe Safe Water Mark making sure we were well out of the way of the dredger we raised the sails and cut the engine. For the first time in 2017 Aphrodite was under sail in a F3/4, time to sit back, look up at the sails and savour the moment.

Heading east on a broad reach was a great start to the season and by late afternoon we passing Portland Bill well offshore as we had wind over tide and just off spring tides and had no great desire to enter the Portland Race, but we had to turn north to make our way inshore and by this time the wind had freshened to a F5/6.

We heard from Delphi that they had moved from Weymouth to Portland Marina and they had informed the marina that we would be joining them, so our destination for the night was set.

We timed the turn for the last two hours of the easterly flow and turned north. The conditions were "lively" so we changed the sail plan to just a reefed genoa and still making 6 knots through two and a half to three meter waves meeting us beam on. Helming was that fine balance between threading our way through the wave train, keeping the sail filled and attempting to keep on a course of 330 degrees to seek shelter behind Portland Bill.

Crossing The Shambles east of the Bill the race had a sting in the tail and dumped a big green wave in the cockpit. Bob sat under the sprayhood got away lightly, while Alex and I got a soaking - even with my waterproof jacket on the water found its way to my skin.

Finally, the water flattened out and we sailed to the outskirts of the harbour, started the engine and rolled in the genoa. Turning into the harbour through its northerly entrance we were hit full on with the F6 coming over Chesil beach and motored in down the marked channel.

My final challenge of the day was to tie up alongside in the marina, not something I've done since my Day Skipper course! We prepared the boat with fenders and lines and were met by one of the marina staff who took our lines as I did not make too much of a drama out of it. Finally all tied up the chap from commented that he had been watching us on Marine Traffic and that it had been a good line. Praise indeed.

With the boat safely tied up on the opposite side of the pontoon to Dephi I picked up my wash gear and headed for the showers while Bob and Alex started on the meal and opened a beer.

We slept well, at least we were horizontal tonight!


The Lads Trip 2017 - Getting the boat ready

Getting the boat ready for her first trip of the year was proving to be more complicated that expected and George, the marine electrician was still working on Aphrodite on the mooring. After a bumpy ride up the river in the dinghy we got on board, made a brew then I headed off to go food shopping the the "Lads Trip" that we were planning to catch up the other side of Portland.

After the usual round of supermarkets I arrived back onboard and we motored down to the club pontoon, tied up and headed off to the club to meet up with Bob, who was on the trip last year, have a meal and a drink. On waving goodbye to George we took the boat down to Bob's boat Erin so he could transfer his kit, went to pick up a mooring and settled down to a comfortable night on the river.