|A view of the club from the cove on another day. It was not this close on the day the Yanmar ran out of fuel however.|
So there I was, my diesel slowing and choking, the main is already wrapped and genoa furled, the shore to leeward is about 200 meters away and the wind is blowing 10 kts with next to no fetch at all, thus a quick straight-line wind. What next then? No panic, just get the plan sorted quickly and get underway as the winds were good. "This is your shot, get it right," I told myself. Images of me pushing my Alberg away from the lee shore began to produce mental film footage that scared the bejesus out of me tho. I quickly pulled the genoa out and wrapped the winch, off we went.
|A photo of the engine after the bleeding running quite well again.|
Firstly, know that I'm hardheaded. Let's get that out of the way. So, in my mind, I knew I could head north in our cove for about 600 meters under full genoa, then come about with a strategic turn and head to the south southwest, hug the shoreline as best I could and fit right into our slip cove. From that point I could toss a line to the rigging dock if necessary. I figured I could get that close. That was the general plan. At least I had a plan! I did not really have the time and window of opportunity to unwrap the boom cover and then haul the main up in order to achieve this tack. So, I did it without the main. I took that chance since I knew the boat pretty well.
I figured there wouldn't be anyone at the club to assist me so this was a solo performance. At worse, if it did not work, I would toss my anchor and leave the vessel near the club docks. I'd anchored there before and thought it was safe enough to try that method in such an event. Plus, I could get a Boston Whaler from the club, tie to the Alberg and somehow get the vessel to the rigging dock after a swim in to shore. It's funny how running out of fuel brings to mind various rescue scenarios. I kept musing to myself while creeping closer to shore of how wildly excited I'd have been doing this if in my early twenties and how somewhat nervous I was doing it now in my sixties. I tried to adapt the difference and enjoy the mission underway. Kids with no care zoomed around on jet skis burning their afternoon energy oblivious to my point of sail.
Now closing on the club, I tack back and forth, coming to within twenty feet of the rigging dock then back across the small entrance which is only 100 feet with shallow water on each side. My draft is about 4 feet, winds are coming straight at my bow, and after a few slow close tacks I can see that hugging that rigging dock will be my next tactic when out of the corner of my eye, I see a fellow sailor walking down the launch dock rather calmly while asking in a loud voice, "do you need me to tow you in?" What a wonderful thought, a tow! I had no idea anyone was even at the club!
|A great still shot of the belt and the high pressure injector pump in the upper left corner of the photo. The white reflective tape on the fan of the alternator are for use in calculating RPM with my cheap digital meter. It kind of worked lol.|
Once tied-to, I looked at my defunct diesel, now quiet and staring back at me. I sat and thought about the possibilities. They were few. But firstly there was the statement my mechanic told me, "diesels are simple engines that can pretty much run forever if they have a few things right...," he had said. A spark and diesel make friends quickly. Air is not welcome, nor is any water in the lines. Get the spark and diesel together and you will have most of your problem solved. I thought back and realized that even though there was diesel in the tank and the gauge had been reading empty now for weeks, the listing of the vessel "at sea" is at a habitual level that now was below the fuel line intake. I was effectively out of diesel even though there was another gallon or two in the tank!
Air had entered the fuel line at such time that the intake breathed-in air instead of fuel while I was unwitting, entering the cove with my main covered after a delightful afternoon of quick winds and beautiful skies. My diesel sat unresponsive awaiting my bleeding it. It was one of the two classic problems for diesels which require bleeding; one of a filter change, and the other of running out of diesel which permits air to enter the system. Both require bleeding.
|In the process of unsealing the bleed screw. The last photo in this post shows the diesel exiting this point.|
|Showing both the 2nd filter (after the Racor) atop the Yanmar and then the injector pump at the lower right. Just for awareness of what is what. My blue glove to keep my hands clean.|
I zoomed through my manual and realized it was rather cursory and in fact rather scant vis-a-vis what was actually required. Perhaps that was a job security manual for mechanics!
Assisted by YouTube I whisked past several "almost correct" videos and found a perfectly instructional one posted by SailAwayGirl on how to bleed a Yanmar 2 cylinder, yay perfect! ( see the video here on her channel: https://youtu.be/7xR7N188m-U ) The instructor is precise and quite simple in his approach. Several students ask some harmless questions while he directs them to the several points on the diesel which are "show-stoppers." After several views, I took notes and headed over to the Alberg assisted with his video and tools.
As shown in the photos, it did not take long to trace the fuel. Beginning with the Racor filter and its internal pump with its own bleed valve, to the pump alongside the engine block to the second filter on top of the engine, to the injection pump and injectors, each time bleeding and tightening. Utilizing the method in the video was simple. My 2QM15 did not spray diesel all over the salon however as I used a couple of Bounty towels to capture diesel exiting the injector tubes.
Once I secured the injectors, closing the system, I then started the engine and put her in gear for about 10 minutes with about 1000 rpm to further purge any residual air within. She pulsed a bit and then relaxed and began to purr while I put away my tools and of course dropped another wrench or something in the water, go figure.
|Not the best clarity, but this is a snap of the filter atop the Yanmar with the diesel flowing out of the bleed screw.|
Although I looked forward to finding out where empty really was for this diesel, I also learned the techniques for bleeding the diesel and took some mystery out of this little 2 cylinder bugger.