Where’s Wally

2017-08-19 20.36.04

Hi Amazing Peeps,

This week has been a time of screaming, pulling out hair and crying. This was Steve.

Nearly 2 weeks ago we motored over to Jibbon Beach for our day out with Sean, Mel, Cath and their gorgeous children. After that marvelous day, we motored back to Gunamatta Bay and dropped anchor again.

We normally start the motor everyday yet we missed a day. After 2 days, it’s really time to start her again.

We do the normal steps:

Put power switches to Allcheck
Primed the motor with fuel check
Allow glow plugs to heat motorcheck

Turn her over – silence. Ahh, turn her over – crickets sound in the background. Please turn over – Nothing!

We were a bit shocked. It should of started.

We check battery voltage. They are both around 12.1v. That’s low. We look at voltage metre as we try to start her and see that it goes below 10v. Obviously not enough power.

So now we check battery cells with our hydrometer. We find that one cell in one of the batteries is completely dead – clearly this is not helping our starting issues. We then check the CCA’s for our batteries. These are Cold Cranking Amps. This is the amount of Amps to start a cold diesel. Our batteries both had very low CCA’s. So even with one out of action battery, the other doesn’t have enough kick to start her over.

So with much research we buy 2 new batteries, both with 1000 CCA each. We are able to get them delivered to just across the bay from us, which was great because another problem had arisen.

Our dinghy motor had stopped working……….again.

This happened before in Eden but there wasn’t a lot of distance to motor. Here, we have a literal nautical mile to the dock from where we are. Rowing a nautical mile, in an aluminum dingy is hard work. Which is why it was so good the battery guy dropped off the batteries just across from us. We are only 200m away from there, which is an easy row. Even with 2 batteries aboard.

So back to the batteries.

We row back to Sumbawa and use the main halyard (the rope that lifts the mainsail) to bring the batteries aboard and lowered them into the cockpit. We then, removed the old ones, put in the new ones and did our normal checks.

You know what’s coming don’t you?

Start……….Start……….START DAMN IT!

Heavy Sigh.

It made exactly the same noise as before. The volts on the new batteries were 13.1v – both of them. That’s lowish for new batteries but with 1000 CCA’s each, should have been plenty to start. So what now?

We put the batteries on charge and they jump up past 14v. That’s great. We leave them on charge for 2 hours to push power into them. Maybe they are just too discharged.

After 2 hours, while they are still on charge we try again……Nothing! What The Hell!

We brainstorm for the rest of the day and Steve spends it researching. The starting solenoid maybe the culprit. We also start looking at our charging capacity. Our alternator is so small in relation to our system, so we decide on a larger alternator as well.

Our current alternator only charges at 55 amps at about 4000/5000 revs. Sumbawa’s motor just doesn’t get pushed to that extreme often so our charging is terrible. We order a 160 amp alternator, which will give us about 80 amps at our typical 1800/2000 revs, which is perfect.

Thursday Steve and Tasha go out. It was Tasha’s birthday the next day but we were expecting 35 knot winds so we wouldn’t be going anywhere. This was her pre-birthday trip.

Dad and Tash pick up the alternator and a new solenoid which evolves a 2 hour train ride all the way to Ingleburn and then another train to Liverpool.

They managed to have some fun along with the jobs and brought home pizza for dinner. It was a late dinner but it was good to not have to cook.

The next morning was Tasha’s birthday and we woke to gale force winds. As we were just anchored and unable to start our motor, we opted to install the solenoid first, to make sure we could move if we needed too.

Tasha is one of those amazing girls, who loves the sailing life. So she perfectly understood that we couldn’t go out and that we needed to do some motor work on her birthday. She really is a sailor at heart. She has already got plans to solo sail. No land for this one any time soon.

Steve and I get to work, then the wind really hits. We get to our 35 knots and then 42, 47 and finally 55 knots. It is violent! We are heeling at 30 degrees as we are hit beam-on before we turn into the wind. Things are crashing everywhere. Someone has to stay by the stove (as we are only using camping stoves at the moment. No boat stove) so things don’t fly everywhere. It is crazy. We are used to heeling like this under sail but at anchor, it’s a new experience.


Kernel is us with 55 knots, Sydney Harbour has got 57 knots and Sydney Airport reached 56 knots but it hasn’t reached it as of this photo.

We had to stop working to monitor everything, anchor, baskets of clothes, kids and so on. Finally we get to work regardless of the wind, because it is not stopping.

Steve removes the old solenoid as Tasha assists him. It is in a weird place, attached to the side of the motor, behind the alternator. Then he installs the new one. There is a kind of relief in this as now we know things are fixed.

He wires it up and we turn on the power. There is now no power to the ignition. Why? We trace wires, trace more wires and more wires. We finally find that one of our wires are on the wrong connection. Steve fixes this and we turn on the power – WE HAVE POWER!

There is a sense of trepidation. We turn the motor over.

Do you hear that? No Really; do you? NEITHER DO WE! NOTHING…….BLOODY NOTHING!

This is when the crying started.

What else is there?

We have got brand new batteries with high CCA’s, we have changed our solenoid, we have checked to see whether the motor is seized by turning it by hand and it turns fine.

Maybe the starter motor.

After all those things, we are now looking at the starter motor as well. To say it is a bit stressful, is an understatment! We had 55 knot winds yesterday and although BOM says only 35 knots today, they have also said that it maybe the same as yesterday – so be prepared. And we have no motor!

But we have another problem.

Steve is burnt out. His not eating, feels rotten and barely finished his coffee, which means it is really serious. He needs rest, so regardless today, we rest.

There is no work on the motor, no work to the boat, no anything – other than of course an anchor watch because we already have reached our 35 knots and it’s only 9:30am. That will be my job along with some older ones. Dad can sleep.

We will let you know how we go with it all. Hopefully we can just pull out the starter……..no, no work. Stop thinking about it! NO WORK! NO WORK!

Talk soon

Love you guys

Zanny Harbars


Beccie is a Best Selling Author, a World Travelling Sailor, an Awesome Wife and the Best Mum to the 10 most Amazing Children on the Planet, a Millionaire, a Polyglot and an Oracle




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