Friday, November 16, 2012

That Was Fun

Sweet Pea settles in to her new home.
I'm headed south for the holidays. No surprises there. It is the pact Anita and I keep. We will cruise. I will single-hand at times. I will be there for the holidays, no matter what. Oh, honey, I'm home.

Sweet Pea, in contrast, will be lingering in Oriental, NC, for a while. How long? Ah, isn't that always the question in life and in cruising?

I had expected that remedying the misaligned bearing, adding unworn parts heroically delivered from New Jersey by UPS and adjusting a screw here or there would lead to the finale in this Yanmar melodrama. I fully intended to give Deaton Yacht Service a standing ovation as I pulled out of the slip.

How naive. How undramatic. I should have realized that the first act included at least two smoking guns. The principle of Chekhov's gun applies and the curtain has risen on yet another act. This perplexing saga is turning out to have more episodes than a telenovela.

Strong performance by Eric.
Yanmar, not so much.
First, I must give full credit to Eric Pittman, who is stellar in the role of diesel mechanic. He heroically wrested a gun out of the villain's hand. That misaligned bearing that appeared in an earlier scene, standing too proud and misleading the governor into wrongly killing the idle revolutionaries? Totally not a problem anymore. The engine now purrs like a kitten at 850 rpm, roars like lion at full throttle and sounds ready to go.

If only. Unfortunately, it puffs black smoke on acceleration. Goose the throttle and it spits gobs of soot, as if someone had tucked a hearty pinch of snuff up inside the exhaust elbow. This second smoking gun appears to be the injection pump, which has twice been rebuilt by Mack Boring.

Now that everything else is exactly right -- new parts, new adjustments, new focus -- senior support technicians, including Mack Boring's own, opine that the pump is delivering too big a gulp of diesel, though now at exactly the right moment and with the correct pressure. Prior to now, it had been anyone's guess as to what might be happening since so many other things were wrong.

This big gulp could explain the thick black mustache -- it is much darker than her sisters; they all sport a shadow above the lip -- the carbon buildup inside cylinders, leading to too much compression, the coked up exhaust elbow and the choking sooty clouds I've left behind when I panicked the throttle. Once at Samson Cay in the Bahamas I glanced back after gunning away from the dock against a stiff current. Onlookers were fleeing what appeared to be a volcanic eruption enveloping the shore.

John Deaton and Eric want to pursue this until it is explained and fixed. They are appalled at the situation and want to make it right. I agree with their goal. Why rush off, only to limp from boatyard to boatyard with severe engine indigestion?

The schedule is uncertain as the players sort out who does what and as importantly who picks up the check for this entertainment. My cruise is on hold. I have failed in my mission to stay ahead of the frost line. Burr.

But, oh yeah, Jay Ungar's tune Fiddler's Elbow? I have had lots of time to work on that one. After hours and hours of goosing its throttle I can now move along at 150 bpm. My fingers smoke as they dance across the buttons. No cause for concern.

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