Closing on Fiji


Nice morning.  We motored through a windless night and deploy the jib as the wind builds.  We make 3 to 4kts.  This will have us arriving at the right time to avoid triple customs fees (weekend arrival is more costly).

Huub has been closeted away working on a video tutorial on how to hitch boat rides across the Pacific Ocean.  He shows me the finished product.  Nice work.  Look for “The Dutch Seaman on YouTube.

After breakfast the fresh Walter pump blows a fuse.  Hmm.  Never did that before…   so I reset it.  Then it blew again.  Now I know what I’ll be up to this morning.

I put an amp meter on the pump which is rated to draw 11 amps max.  I measure it drawing up to 50.  And also it reads OL on the meter at times.  I take this to mean over limit.  I think something is shorting.  I set about pulling the pump.  I note the wire terminals show signs of overheating.  50 amps will do that to 16 gauge wire…   It happens I have a spare water pump.  I install that and it works fine.

Kat asks me how water pumps work.  I try to explain and fail.  Nothing like taking bum gear apart as a teaching tool.  The motor is tricky but it looks like the contact plates in the rotor might be shorting out with dust from aged brushes.  We clean the narrow space between the plates with an old guitar string and reassemble.  Then inspect the pump mechanism.  That part doesn’t look suspicious.  Reinstall that pump and still draws too much power.  One or more rotor coils shorted?  Maybe I’ll look at this pump motor again some old lonesome day but for now we run on the spare.  Anybody have electrical advice or do I have to open (gasp!) a book?

The wind poops out during this project and it is again diesel time again.  Later in the afternoon wind returns and we run nicely on the spinnaker.  We’ve been fishing but no fish.  Pasta with zucchini and cream sauce for dinner is a great plan B.


We motored through most of last night.  Then during Kat’s watch some wind returns.   I’m sleeping and wake to the sound of her deploying the jib.  I consider going up to help.  But it’s an easy one sailor task.  And she will realize more satisfaction if she does it all herself.  She agreed when I spoke to her later.

Shortly after dawn we furl the jib and deploy the spinnaker.  Not a one sailor job!  Flies nicely for a few hours, then wind dies again.  We are 30 miles from our marina destination.  We are due at 6pm earliest.  Its 9:45 am and we have time.

5 thoughts on “Closing on Fiji

  1. Chris, I love your blog as always. We live thru your travels. !
    So to test the water pump, with your voltmeter check the resistance of the rotor and the stater, if normal draw is 11 amps use V=IR , Voltage = Currant in amps x Resistance or . V/I=/R so 11 / 12 = about 1 ohm. Often the brushes don’t make contact when they wear out and resistance goes too high. brushes are cheap but probably hard to get.
    Say don’t know your plans but is you keep heading to the Solomon’s let me know, your following the path of my buddy Dan, you meet and he has some great suggestions on that area and a friend in a village there. Take care – Jerry


  2. My little bit of electric motor advice: if the contacts on the Commutator are cleaned like you said, the most likely problem is a short in one or more of the windings on the rotor itself. That is not a “do it yourself” job. Its also not a job for a professional “re-wind” job either as the cost of that is more then a new pump. Smal motors like that are ueually “throw away” items when they short out. Does it run at all? Could be worn bearings also if it makes noise or grinding sounds when running. Those, also, are hare to replace in far flung places. Motors will draw more amps it they get bound up or are “stuck” so make sure it isn’t something in the pump works also. Other than that it’s propably time for the dust bin of old motors. Hope this helps. Love hearing about all your travels. Would love to hook up and do a leg or two with you guys some time.


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