At midnight I started the engine, we had no wind and there seemed no prospect of wind as a thick wet mist had descended on us. Unfortunately, at 02:00 the engine spluttered and then stopped, the silence was deafening. I tracked the problem to air in the fuel system and once it was bled, we were on our way again.
An hour later the engine stopped again, same problem, air in the fuel line. Once again, I bled the system and we were on our way again. This time the engine lasted thirty minutes and stopped. As the situation was not getting better, I decided to investigate further, I suspected the primary filter as being the problem.
I opened up the primary filter (more diesel in the bilge) and took the whole thing apart, checking for any way air could get in. When I took off the hose between the engine and filter, I noticed there was a vacuum in the line, as though the engine was sucking fuel but not getting anything. Very strange. I had replaced the old WIX filter with a NAPA filter, they were supposed to be compatible and I had checked online before replacing the WIX filter in Gisborne. On closer examination I found that there were no perforations in the top of the NAPA filter to allow fuel from the tank to pass through. I got out the electric drill and drilled some holes in to the top of the filter, taking care to collect all the metal swarf. Desperate measures.
I refitted everything, bled the system again and started the engine. Yes, running again! We had lost a lot of time and I was concerned we were losing our weather window for Cook Strait. With still no wind we continued to motor south until midnight when we were still a few hours off Castlepoint.
A very frustrating day, no wind, lots of motoring and work on the fuel system, everything smelling like diesel. Times like this make me wonder why I am carrying around this mast, rig and sails. They have just been ornaments today. Only seventy-two miles progress today due to all the stops for engine problems.
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