One of the things on my to-do list before we leave San Carlos, was to tie the baggywrinkle that Lulu made, on to the shrouds. Besides the fact that this is why she made it, it also gets a big ol’ garbage bag full of baggywrinkle off our foredeck. The first four pieces were easy as they had to go on to the rear intermediate shrouds which just happen to be what the ratlines are tied to. So, it was a piece of cake to climb up and tie them on. However, the other 4 would be a bit tougher. These go directly above and below the spreaders to protect the genoa when she’s sheeted in nice and tight. However, the ends of the spreaders are not easily accessible from either the ratlines or the mast steps. This was more of a job for a bosun’s chair. That should actually be “boatswain’s chair” but pronounced “bosun”. However, the phonetic spelling is so common now that it’s almost acceptable.
We borrowed a bosun’s chair from our dockmate, Mike, on s/v Se Langt. I connected it to my 4-part handy billy and was able to haul myself aloft with minimal effort. However, I’m not sure how to rig a brake or to tie myself off effectively so I had Lulu tail the line and tie me off when needed.
A piece of baggy wrinkle about 4′ long makes a finished product about 12″ long when wrapped around 1/4″ cable. The hardest part of the job was keeping myself out there at the end of the spreaders by wrapping a leg around the shroud.
Check out the finished product:
Baggywrinkle, ratlines, pinrails, all we need now is a gaff-rigged main and we’d be just about the saltiest looking thing out there. But, these aren’t just for show. The ones on the lower shrouds are to cushion the main when we’re running downwind and the ones on the spreaders will protect the genoa when we’re close-hauled.
On the diesel front, Omar never did show up yesterday. I called him about noon today and he said that nothing was going as planned and he’d be out as soon as he finished what he was doing on another boat. He asked me not to get angry with him and I assured him that I wasn’t. This is Mexico after all.
Waited all day for him to show up and had pretty much given up on him for today. But, about 5:00, after the sun had gone down, who should show up but Omar! I figured, it being so late, he’d just want to get a quick look-see and then come back tomorrow. Guess I don’t know Omar very well. He jumped down into the engine compartment, asked what I’d done so far and then asked for a 17 mm wrench. He loosened all the fuel lines at the injectors and then had me turn the engine over. Satisfied that fuel was reaching the injectors, his next step was to rule out an obstruction in the exhaust line, which he did to his satisfaction. While reassembling the exhaust elbow, he had me fetch a 3′ piece of insulated wire. He used this to connect the glow plugs directly to the battery, bypassing the wiring harness and the solenoid. After holding this connection for 30 seconds or so, he had me try starting the engine. AND I’LL BE DAMNED BUT WHAT IT STARTED! He let it run a few minutes and then shut it down. He then restarted it several times without the battery-to-glow plug short and it started every time. And quickly, too. Satisfied, he shut her down and climbed out of the engine compartment.
I asked him what he was doing with the glow plugs and he explained that on an engine like this, the pistons are quite small and the compression ratio is actually pretty low for a diesel engine. Since compression is what causes the fuel mixture in the cylinders to heat up enough to ignite, glow plugs are used to preheat the cylinders when the engine is cold. I sort of knew this but I figured that glow plugs were just a nicety to be used when the ambient temperature was really low, which it seldom is down here. The starting circuit is set up so that pressing the button that activates the glow plug solenoid isn’t optional and maybe that should have been a clue for me. Anyway, once he shorted the plugs to the battery, after a few seconds he could hear the carbon inside the cylinders start to cook. Then he knew it was warm enough to start. After the first start, the friction of the previous run was enough to keep the cylinders warm and the glow plugs weren’t really needed anymore. So, tomorrow, I need to troubleshoot the glow plug circuit and either find the bad connection, the bad wire or the bad solenoid and fix whichever it is. We are SO happy to know that we’re actually going to be able to leave San Carlos soon. I congratulated Omar on being a diesel wizard and he said, “I’m just a mechanic.” Asked him what we owed him and he said he’d have to charge us for an hour. Not sure what his hourly rate is because then he said that, since he’d made us wait so long he was only going to charge us $40US ($500MX). Sounds great to me. I happily handed over his money and he headed on home. Said it was one thing to keep us waiting but he didn’t dare keep his wife waiting.
Besides the glow plug fix, we need to do a little bit of provisioning. Not much really since our first stop is Santa Rosalia which is a bona fide town with stores and everything. But we do need to get a few things just in case. Then we just need to watch the weather for a nice quiet window to make the 75 mile crossing to Santa Rosalia. Right now, it looks good for Thursday but we won’t be ready by then, and, since we might be seeing some high winds over the weekend, we may not get to leave until early next week. But we will get to leave.
Celebrated with a dinner of pasta carbonera ala Lulu. As a general rule, “ala Lulu” means that there’s been a bunch of vegetables added to whatever the basic dish is/was. It was delicious and tasted even better after listening to the engine run.