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A jury rig gets voyagers home

Sep 21, 2009

To the editor: Sometimes you have to patch together a repair until you make port. Recently, we devised a jury-rigged solution that allowed us to return to our current home port of Mazatlán in Mexico.

During a passage of more than 300 miles along the Mexican coast, we had an engine overheating issue. We discovered what we thought was a leaking coolant hose, tried to fix it, but it continued to leak. Reaching Barra de Navidad, Mexico, I found a replacement hose. However, during installation I used a mirror to inspect the area behind and around the hose fitting. I discovered a crack in the coolant reservoir.

The reservoir had to be removed, welded and reinstalled. Now came the test. To our surprise, a different coolant hose was now leaking. Apparently it had broken while dealing with the reservoir fix. This hose was unique, a two-inch hose that tapered to 1.5" with a 90 degree turn. No hose was available and there was no chance of having one shipped down!

I had helped another voyager make "O" rings from a kit. We'd cut a piece of rubber to size and super-glued the ends together. It occured to me that I could glue my hose together this way. However, the hose is under pressure and high temperature, so the glue alone might not work. I had some Mariner's Choice Safety Wrap tape. The package said it was good for 100 psi and 212 degrees. I glued the torn hose on the outside and inside with Kola Loka super glue. Then I wrapped the hose with two layers of tape. This combination of fixes stopped the leak. After we left Barra while it was under load it did leak a little, so we wrapped it with two more layers of tape. No more leaks! We traveled the more than 300 miles back to Mazatlán checking the hose periodically and made it home safely.

&mdashPat and Susan Canniff have voyaged aboard Perpetua, a 40-foot Trimaran built in 1964, for 10 years. They are currently based in Mexico.

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