Practical Boat Owner

Nearly run down

In the spring of 2007, we took our 15m steel, single engined motor cruiser The Fat Lady on her first extended voyage. Having crossed the Channel, we left Cherbourg, bound for The River Seine, rolling and pitching in the sharp seas. From the forecast, I anticipated that once into the Baie de la Seine and sheltered from the wind by the Cotenin Peninsula, the conditions would improve, although the seas would still be choppy. As forecast the sea calmed down, and had the visibility been a bit better we could have seen the port of Le Havre in the distance.

Just after midday, the engine coughed, ran on smoothly for a few minutes, coughed a couple more times, then stopped!

“Sounds like a fuel problem,” I said to my wife as I lifted the floor to get at the engine and its fuel filters.

No problem. I’d installed a changeover system that would bring a new pair of filters into use immediately. I turned the fuel tap from ‘Main’ to ‘Secondary’ opened the air bleed screw on the fuel pump and called my wife to start the engine. After a couple of turns, it fired, then started. I

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