Sunday dawned beautifully in Fort Pierce.
We were still tied up at the city dock, still unable to start the engine and still had no power and unable to easily go ashore, but the day dawned peacefully and beautifully.
Just before leaving the previous week, we found out the powered switch to turn the propane on and off for the oven wasn’t working. It is an easy fix but I didn’t have one available. I hurriedly purchased a propane camp stove just so we’d have some way of warming food. The sea had been too rough to use it before now, but I pulled out the stove this morning so we could enjoy something other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The stove was all set up when I realized we had no way of lighting it. I was thinking it had electric lighting, but it didn’t…
About then, several fellows walked up and were chatting to me about Strider. I asked if any had matches or a lighter and one offered his lighter. Warm breakfast! Thanks, Friend!! The Admiral cooked up the last few eggs and some tinned meat and we had a delicious (though salty!) breakfast on deck. It was probably best not to know what was in that tinned meat…
About then I got a call back from the tech from the local Yanmar dealer. We talked about the symptoms; he was sure it was something electrical, probably something simple. He described where all the fuses were and told me to check them and let him know.
I started checking fuses but, unfortunately, all were good. The tech said maybe it was the computer – probably not, but maybe. I removed all power from the computer for several minutes and hooked the battery back up, but no change.
It was about then that I remembered one of the installers having a similar issue. One time they were testing the engine it hadn’t started. He reached down near the front of the engine and said something about resetting a breaker, and the engine had started.
I called him… Mark, do you remember that time…?
He told me what he’d done and where it is. There is a breaker on the main positive lead between the engine and the battery. The breaker was flipped then, maybe it was now.
I pulled the aft cabin steps out and took another look where he’d indicated. Sure enough, a 40 amp breaker that I hadn’t known about was mounted there, and, you guessed it, it was tripped.
I reset it and a moment later the engine fired up just like it should have. Success! Thanks, Mark and everyone else who helped troubleshoot this problem. I’m embarrassed by how simple the problem was, but also relieved. Lessons learned.
In the afternoon our friend, Michael, from the previous evening called and we talked about the house batteries not charging. I needed a few cables to hook it up correctly. He purchased the cable, crimped them, and made the drive to Fort Pierce to give them to me. Thank you so much, Michael. Once again your help was much appreciated.
I hooked up the cables and it seemed the batteries were charging a bit. Unfortunately, my multimeter took that moment to die, so I wasn’t sure. However, the voltage on the house batteries seemed to indicate something was happening.
I left the engine running an hour or two trying to get some charge to the house batteries.
No Time and No Place to Go
I’d come to the hard conclusion that neither Strider nor her crew was quite ready for an offshore passage. This meant my original plan of going to North Carolina was out. We needed to stay relatively close to shore until we gained more confidence in her. An offshore passage was 3+ days, but staying less than 10 miles from shore made the journey closer to 7-10 days assuming a couple of overnight anchorages. Since I was supposed to be back at work in two days, it was clear there was no way I would make it to NC.
Saturday, while we were slowly sailing towards Fort Pierce I’d called a number of marinas in the area, trying to find a transient dock for us to be towed to. Nobody had room or would take a disabled boat.
Today, I renewed my efforts calling every marina in the area and further away, trying to find some place for us to go. Now that the engine was running again I could go a little distance but certainly didn’t want to go back to Miami. We were told that the further south one goes, the more expensive places are.
I found exactly zero slips available. Nothing. Strider is too deep for many marinas and there were no deep water slips available long-term for any money. Peak boating season has begun and marinas are booked for months to come.
So far, nobody had harassed us about being tied up so long at the city dock but I was concerned that Monday we might start drawing some unwanted official attention. We needed to move but had no place to go. No stress!