A Story Leads To An Idea

  • August 29, 2011 11:32 AM
    Message # 687445
    Some of you probably know Doug Cambell on the W32 Robin. Although he never joined WOA, Doug wrote for Soundings many years. A recent story from Doug led to an ides that you may find useful.

    Doug was enroute from the Chesapeake to Penobscot Bay, Maine. He had been having electrical troubles all the way but he pressed on anyhow. Offshore from Maine in the middle of the night, he and his crew smelled smoke. It was the alternator. It was smoking and throwing out sparks. They shut down the engine and put out the fire. What to do next?  It was very calm and Hurricane Irene was approaching. 

    Doug removed the belt from the alternator, but he was still denied use of his engine. The same belt that drove the alternator also drives the primary water pump. Doug tried and failed to think of a way to jury rig the engine. Eventually he managed to sail most of the way to Rockport and to get a tow from TowboatUS for the final leg, and they got moored before the storm.

    After the fact, I thought about Doug's plight. The alternator is nonessential to a diesel engine.  It is a shame that failure of the alternator caused loss of use of the whole engine.  If he had a shorter belt he could have used the engine and the water pump without the alternator. 

    We contacted Stan at Beta Marine. Stan said, yes you can do that with a shorter belt. There is a product called link belt that makes you make a belt of any length from links. However its good only up to 1500 RPM.

    Then I remembered reading literature on a product called Rescue Tape (www.rescuetape.com)  An emergency fan belt is one of the applications suggested for Rescue Tape. If Doug had some, it probably would have gotten him in to port under power.

    I carry Rescue Tape all the time. It has several useful non-emergency uses and it is potentially useful for several emergency ones. p.s. I have no financial interest in Rescue Tape, I just thought I'd pass along this idea to Westsailors.

  • August 29, 2011 1:55 PM
    Reply # 687526 on 687445
    That's certainly a thought worth consideration, Dick... thanks for sharing.

    I would always carry spare belts for these situations. But I had never considered a situation in which a new belt would not serve the needs due to a faulty alternator. I should think that it would a be a great idea to carry another spare belt (or two) that will fit the engine sans alternator.


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