Perfect propellor pitch

A small piece of plastic hose provided by the resident marina technician, Steve, solved our diesel tank problem. Ah Ma could now suck diesel from the lower belly of her tank. We can finally start the engine, well almost…

It turned out the engine starter battery is indeed certified dead. So Monday, early in the morning, Linda and I hop into a taxi to make yet another run to the mall. Here we pick up a new Bosch battery from Casa Di Batteria.

As the Penta rumbled into motion we hope to finally see an end to this continued chain of disappointments. We might actually get through the canal before weeks end. We informed our agent, Stanley, that we were ready to go. He would set the booking process in motion. Now we just hope that the carnival proceedings in Panama don’t disrupt the canal schedule too much.

Ah Ma back at the work dock

Another piece of good news, the dinghy engine, a four stroke Honda engine that everyone heavily critiques, rumbled into action on the second pull. This after being idle for more than a year is sort of a small miracle. Hooray for Honda! The electric air pump to pump up the half deflated dinghy didn’t stand the test of time though. We picked up a new one on our shopping run. When hooking the new pump up, it turned out to be a Monday morning product, hence it was a DOA (dead on arrival).

Monday afternoon, we manoeuvred over to the fuel dock, just opposite our work dock. Here we topped up the tank and all our jerrycans and cooking oil containers with pristine diesel. With almost 700 litres of diesel aboard we are ready for a test run around the harbour.

The fuel boat

Whilst manoeuvring around the harbour our skipper already noticed something odd with the propulsion. It took more time than usual for the boat to move from backward motion to forward motion. The wash of the propellor behind the boat didn’t look good either. I didn’t think too much of it, but once we were out of the marina,our skippers concerns became true.

The pitch of the four blade variprop propeller was off. At 2500rpm we barely made 6 knots, this should be closed to 10! It turned out Segundo, the yard engineer, didn’t put the propeller back correctly.

We immediately called Joel at the Marina to arrange for another haul out. Fixing the pitch could be done in a couple of hours so we just need to sit in the crane for a bit while we adjust the settings. So for now we’re back at the work dock near the VooDoo shelter. Waiting for a slot in the travel lift crane.

The next afternoon, we get into the slings of the travel lift. Steve and I studied the propeller and adjusted the pitch by a few degrees. After splashing back, we did another short test run. The performance had increased a bit, but was still not optimal. But as we know now how to adjust the pitch, we can further tinker with it once the boat in the water.

It looks like we finally escaped the VooDoo Shelter. Ah Ma finally got back into the marina. And even better, we got our transit date from our agent Stanley, February 28th!

Ah Ma, back in the Marina

Unfortunately, our first mate will have to leave the boat at the Galapagos Islands, so he can’t join us to Fiji because of time constraints. We have started looking for another crew to join us.

It was time for some well earned beers in the cockpit of Ah Ma, celebrating she is finally back in the marina.

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