Brunswick, GA

Engine Problems!

We departed Savannah at 2315 Thursday to take advantage of the ebb current, headed for Cumberland Island. The overnight cruise would put us in the anchorage at Cumberland Island late the following Friday afternoon. Conditions offshore were ideal, light winds, calm seas, and clear skies. Sometime after sunrise, we discovered that we had a shadow off our starboard beam. Chapter III was headed into Brunswick for the night and we agreed to keep in touch and possibly meet at Cumberland Island.

Just prior to contacting Chapter III we had a sudden unexplained loss of power as the engine shut down. We had experienced a momentary shutdown a few days prior, but the engine immediately fired back up so no immediate concern- file that away in the “if it happens again it’s an issue” – folder. Random shutdowns are always sphincter stimulating, but at sea, shutdown is a different story! Still, the engine immediately fired back up and ran fine. After 4 more shutdowns in as many hours, we decided to head for shore, Brunswick was the closest port, so we altered course and headed for Brunswick Landing Marina. Better to resolve an engine reliability issue dockside than offshore.

We arrived at Brunswick Landing Marina to Sherry’s cheery “welcome back!” A well-known cruisers’ favorite, it’s well-protected, and very cruiser-friendly. Lots of cruisers stop in and stay much longer than they planned! We missed Bill & Jeannie on Chapter III who arrived earlier, but were out in a rental dropping off their truck at a marina they plan to spend a month in over the holidays. After we tied up, I got to work on proactive filter changes, and worked into the evening in an attempt to run down the source of the shutdown problem, focusing on filters and a potential air leak. No resolution by bedtime, so resolved to regroup in the the morning. Some help came in suggestions from, and after some work with the meter, I discovered a significant voltage drop at the fuel solenoid, the device that shuts off the fuel to stop the engine. It must remain energized for the engine to continue running. Running down that voltage drop led me to the upper helm engine panel, and upon removing it, discovered that the engine would no longer start. Bingo! The normally closed STOP button on the upper helm panel was no longer making good (well,

With the shutdown problem resolved, we were comfortable with heading out. Chapter III’s crew returned Saturday morning with plans to depart for Cumberland Island. We helped them with their lines as they departed, we followed in about 45 minutes. With favorable currents and tide, and temps in the 60’s the cruise to Cumberland Island was delightful. We arrived in time for a walk to the beach with Bill & Jeannie and the pups for an impromptu wine & cheese party before returning to the ranger station and the docks in time for a beautiful sunset! We thoroughly enjoyed our stroll to the beach and visiting with friends. We said our goodbyes since Chapter III was headed up the St. John’s to their temporary marina Sunday. Our paths will likely cross again further south, and we will keep in touch in the meantime.

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