Sunday, 28 June 2015


Things have been reasonably quiet on the sailing front this month.  The main reason has been a misfiring outboard although inclement weather hasn't exactly helped on the few occasions when a sailing window has arisen.  Last weekend, a 'square number' birthday weekend no less, ought to have yielded a brilliant opportunity, but rain and then wind had other ideas.  A visit on Saturday coincided with a thorough downpour whilst returning a 'mended' outboard to its well - more of that later.  The return on Sunday resulted in a further soaking for one of my crew in wind over tide conditions during the transit from shore to mooring: not a great platform for going very far!

Still, one piece of technology has been added to the boating gadgets: a GoPro, as can be seen from the above video.  It's early days, as yet, but I'm looking forward to getting to know how to use it better!

The second piece of technology to feature is rather less exciting.  I've started a thread on the Drascombe Forum, the first post of which goes something like this:
This is a bit of a plea for help from anyone out there who knows about engines - because, frankly, I'm almost completely inept when it comes to the technicalities of the internal combustion engine. That's what garages and service places are for!
Unless I find a solution within the next few weeks, I'm going to have to take the plunge and buy a new one - otherwise, it just feels like throwing good money after bad...

So, here's the story so far. 2003 Mariner 6 long shaft. I don't always use it but, when required, it can get some fairly heavy, prolonged use. In order not to get fed up sailing up and down the same stretch of river (pleasant though it can be), I don't mind using the outboard heavily, sometimes up to 2 (maybe more) hours at a time in order to reach an agreeable tide and breeze in another estuary. I never run it at full revs, but sometimes up to 75% throttle for extended periods. It has always started within a couple, maybe 3 pulls from cold. Always serviced professionally at the beginning of each season. New carb 2014. Last serviced, March 2015 and, as pointed out below, new spark plug and freshly re-cleaned/flushed carb earlier this month.

There is an ongoing intermittent squealing issue which has never been fully resolved but which was caused when I clonked the prop on some (unusual for round here) hard stuff about four years ago - various services have looked at this and fiddled with various bits and pieces up the leg. I don't know if this is connected with the other main issue below. Sometimes, I can be out and about for a week or so with no issues, then it will be back. It usually resolves after a few minutes after fiddling with the revs for a bit.

This season, things were ok until a cruise at the end of May. At some point, somewhere up the River Alde, something changed meaning that it wouldn't fire the next morning from cold using the choke. Eventually, I managed to start it with no choke and full throttle. Same thing the following morning.
It then spent a week on the mooring and the next time I tried to start it, it wasn't having any of it. No signs of life at all - except for the odd inconsequential phut-phut... I've taken it back to the servicing place who, week before last, cleaned out the carb, changed the spark plug and then ran it happily for a few hours.

Since then, I've emptied the remote tank into the car and put in fresh fuel. I used the engine twice and it isn't right. It won't run at low revs at all. I still can't seem to start it using the choke - but have managed to start it after 10-20 pulls without choke. Yesterday, it was running very unevenly at about 40% throttle. When I tried to increase revs, the revs would drop, sometimes causing it to cut out unless I readjusted revs somehow just to catch the engine in time. However, then I found a purple spot at just below 50% revs and it sounded exceptionally smooth and I ran it like that for about 20 minutes with no issues. As soon as I then changed the throttle setting, either up or down, it wasn't having any of it - back to square one. I then gave up and sailed back to the mooring.

So, in summary, very hard to start - doesn't want to start at all from cold with choke. Uneven running - sounding as though it's about to run dry of fuel, but occasional hotspots in revs which it likes. Doesn't like changes in throttle, and won't run at low revs. 2014 carb twice flushed this year, most recently a few weeks ago.

It feels to me like there is some issue with the fuel. Given that the carb is freshly cleaned, I wonder if there is an issue with the fuel line, or possibly something inside the remote tank. I don't know whether it's just the age of the engine and whether the squealing is connected. Perhaps it is just a bit cranky now - showing its age and use and telling me to put it out to grass...

If I don't get this sorted, will be off to Seamark Nunn to get a new Mariner 6 with sail drive prop. (Not interested in the inbuilt charging facility on the sail drive 5 - would rather use a solar panel.) 

If any petrol heads out there have any thoughts - in suitable non-technical jargon - I'd be pleased to hear.
It would be good to be one of those sailors for whom outboards are dispensable.  That would be great if time was unlimited or I didn't wish to sail that far but non-sailing commitments force me to need to return to base at particular times and this just makes the outboard... well.... indispensable!

Sunday 21st June, 3.4nm; Saturday 27th June, 4.5nm

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Sunday sail with crew

Shore-based lunchtime at Home Wood on the north east shore of the Orwell
The skipper's Mrs turned up today.  Unfortunately, outboard woes from the previous trip have now become serious with no signs of life, not to mention a rather sore starting-cord shoulder at the time of writing.  The outboard is now off the boat, ready to be taken to the menders.

View of Felixstowe from lunch stop
Plenty of river traffic today
Winds were strangely benign but with some odd gusts which pushed their way across the water from time to time.  An incident of note was an upturned Wayfarer which was drifting dangerously close to the path of a ship on its way upstream to Ipswich, and which  needed assistance from an attending RIB before righting.
At the end of the short sail, obviously without outboard assistance, Daisy II was left tied to the drying pontoon at Pin Mill, with outboard removed.  It was jolly pleasant to have company today, though!
Skipper and oarsman
Pin Mill on a sunny Sunday afternoon