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For the third time since we have owned our Amel, we have been challenged by an overheating issue that required us to shut down our engine, and rely upon our sails for propulsion. This would not have been such a significant problem if each time this had occurred, there had been sufficient wind to properly power our heavy boat. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

The other day, while motoring north on the lee side of Grenada, we were rudely surprised by our engine’s loud, overheating buzzer. When the alarm first went off, it actually took both Rebecca and I a few seconds to decipher where the noise was coming from as the handheld radio was right above the alarm, and we initially thought that the sound was coming from it. We quickly located the real source though, and killed the engine to give us time to assess the problem.

After restarting briefly to determine that we still had good exhaust water flow, and that all of the belts were in tact, we waited for the engine to cool so we could further troubleshoot the cooling system. While doing so, we attempted to sail, but were not even moderately successful in making ground back to St. Georges. Several vessels motored past us as we “sailed” along, always at less than 2 knots, and never in the right direction. I’m sure they probably wondered what we were up to. With no real risk to us at the time though, we held off asking for any help, trying instead to deal with the situation ourselves.

Where we like to see the temperature!

After some time sailing, aka drifting, the engine had cooled enough for me to check the heat exchanger, observing then that we had lost a significant portion of our coolant. So, instead of the raw water pump being the issue, the source of our past drama, it appeared as if our troubles were now on the fresh water side of the Perkins cooling system. While unrelated to our past woes, the result was the same, we were trying to make headway with no wind to propel the boat. It’s a very frustrating experience, to say the least, but I am first and foremost thankful that during none of these times were we on a lee shore, placing the boat at any risk.

Note: We found it much easier to gybe than to tack in the extremely light air.

Once the engine had sufficiently cooled, and it was topped off with coolant, we limped back to Port Louis under power. Shortly after tying up, we were visited by Jason from Palm Tree Marine, who worked to find the source of our problem. It seems now that our most recent overheated-engine experience was caused by a leak in a coolant line running to/from the hot water heater (who needs hot water in Caribbean?), or at least, that is our present assumption. The small hole in the hose, caused by it chafing on a bracket, was extremely hard to spot, and in truth, was only located by a bit of a fluke.

Is it fixed now? The leak is, yes, and maybe the problem. We have been out sailing the past couple of days, and even motored into the wind and seas for a good thirty minutes yesterday. During all that time, the engine’s temperature remained rock solid. Let’s hope that the expression “trouble comes in threes” holds true in this case.

10 Comments

  1. Hi Mike and Rebecca, have been quietly following your site for awhile now. Really have enjoyed your journey from your inexperienced beginnings to present day adventures. Incredible!!! Must say you have inspired my wife and I to pursue the thought of one day retiring to the cruising life. We have taken some sailing lessons locally ( we are fellow Ontarions) and are now seriously trying to choose a sailing school to build our skills and sailing education. We were hoping you might have some insight as to which might be a great Sailing School for us to attend. We have contacted a few — your opinion would be appreciated. Thanks for sharing your Journey. All the best!!!
    Pete & Tracy

    • Hi Pete

      We love to receive messages like this. Thank you!

      If you’re up for a trip to Grenada, I know our friends Chris and Chrystal at LTD Sailing do a great job getting beginners up to speed.

      Their website is:

      http://www.ltdsailing.com

      As an extra benefit, if you come down while we’re still in the area, we can share a cold beer together! 🙂

  2. Two knots. That’s not bad. That is how it always used to be. Managing tidal streams and anchoring if possible when they were unfavourable, that was the norm. Then we had engines like the Stuart Turner that was highly erratic, though it worked when you didn’t need it.

    Thank heavens those days are largely gone!!!!!

    Glad you ‘drifted’ back ok 🙂

    Mike

  3. Hi Mike, thanks for the info regarding LTD Sailing School. We will have a good look at what they have to offer. We also came upon BOSS Barefoot Offshore Sailing School in your area. Have you heard any good reports about them as well???? If we come down to Grenada Im definately up for visit and cold beer with you. CHEERS!!!
    Pete

  4. OK thanks Mike, we will keep researching — very interested in LTD 10 day learn to cruise course, it looks good. Great talking with you, we will be following your site as you travel. Be Safe and thanks again for your help.
    Pete & Tracy

  5. Pete – this is Chris from LTD Sailing – “Living The Dream!”. Feel free to email me directly if you have any questions about learning to sail in the Grenadines. I’m happy to help out however I can. We have some specials right now on a couple of courses this month if you are thinking of coming down soon. Also, our pricing is going to go up a bit as of September 1st – so if you are thinking of coming down later on – it might be good to book soon and take advantage of the current prices.

    Beam winds,

    Chris

  6. Thanks Chris, will contact you off your website.
    Pete

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