Crossing the Tasman Sea – Last Day?

by Drew on February 4, 2010

Oh silly me. What does a new radiator cap cost these days? Ten bucks? I wouldn’t know. I don’t have one on board. I have a used one that came off the exhaust manifold when I first got the boat. I decided to bring it along as a spare. I put it in a ziploc and tucked it away in a hole and there it sat unused for 4 years of sailing. On to the irony…

I’m sitting in the companionway on nightwatch, shift one (8-11pm), watching an episode of “Breaking Bad” on the iPod when I get a big whiff of coolant. “Hmmm…that’s odd. We’ve been motoring for hours and I haven’t smelled any coolant before,” I said to myself. Having learned that when an odd noise, or vibration, or smell occurs on a boat there’s probably something that needs immediate attention, I went on the hunt. Opening the engine room I notice a splatter of green towards the back of the engine. Uh-oh I think, a leaky hose. Access to the major components of the cooling system on Dosia is through the starboard cockpit locker so I closed up the engine room door and headed outside. Upon opening my shiny, newly painted, bright white cockpit locker I was greeted by what looked like a green explosion on top of my battery box immediately beneath the engine’s cooling expansion tank. Great. Why is there coolant leaking/spraying out around the cap? Throttle back, engine off. After 13,000 some miles on Dosia, 96 miles from the finish line, a radiator cap that has never given me a single problem decides to bust and my only spare is an older, rusty, slightly less leaky one. It is functioning enough to give me 1500 rpm’s with an occasional spit and dribble so I can’t complain. But I can sit and wonder how something so small can know exactly the right time to break. We were on schedule to make it into Brisbane mid afternoon tomorrow with plenty of time to check in and get legal before the weekend. Now, at our measly 5 knot pace, we’re hoping for a night arrival tomorrow. Boats are freakin hilarious.

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