My Experience with EV – Part 1 Yanmar, an Expensive Anchor

STOP!! Before you write me off as another tree hugger from the (always rainy) PNW and let’s take a look at Cinderella’s soon to be new auxiliary propulsion system.

Shortly after I bought S/V Cinderella, her Yanmar 2gm20f diesel engine began giving me headaches. Diesel engines were new to me, all of my engine experience has been with gasoline engines, and I would call myself an amateur mechanic at best. I understand the principles, and have rebuilt my share of engines, but very infrequently and always on a budget.

Yanmar, @GM20F, Diesel, Engine,

The curious “engineering”  mind that I have spent several hours scouring google and web forums on what could be causing my diesel heartache. Finally, I was able to stir the motor to life (with much trouble) just in time to take our big trip north with the boat last Christmas for 14 days.

Check out that story here!

The Yanni conked out on day one. That left Ava and I to learn Cindy’s tendencies under sail in tight marinas for the remainder of the trip. It turned out to be an incredible experience, and the lack of diesel noise was absolutely amazing.

Upon returning from the trip, I promptly removed the Yanmar and tore her down to replace the piston rings (deemed the issue). After getting the engine back in, the engine returned to exhibiting the same hard starting tendencies, but we could get off the dock again under power, I was happy.

The second trip we took on Cinderella was shortly after getting the engine reinstalled. It was summer in Seattle, and the islands were calling. 10 of us went sailing out to an island Southwest of Seattle called Blake Island. I turned the motor off shortly after exiting the locks and entering the sound, little did I know that would be one of the the last times I would hear her purr.

Upon arriving at the island and heading for a dock, she started (hesitantly) but died shortly thereafter. Again we relied on seamanship skills to coast the boat to the dock. When time came to leave the island and head home, she begrudgingly she roared to life and ran long enough to get us out of the marina. Giving up on her, we set the kite and headed north with a weak following wind.

After a peaceful day of sailing we returned to Seattle and tried to start the engine one last time to get through the locks and under the bridges in Lake Union. Cinderella has a big ol’ mast that doesn’t fit under any of the 3 bridges we must pass. The lock and bridge operators don’t take kindly to boats attempting to sail through, so it was a big deal. As I depressed that starter switch a horrible, gear grinding noise came from below letting me know that the starter had given its last turn.

Sails back up! To Shilshole we sail! It was dark and again we were coming in under sail. I think the crew was shocked at how easily Cinderella sailed right into the marina, making tight turns and eventually coming to a soft stop at the fuel dock. After saying farewell, our friends went on to catch cabs, and I sat there, quietly furious at that Yanmar engine. I was ready to use it as my anchor!

Into my mind the electric motor idea crept…

I called a tow in the morning to take me home to my slip. So glad to have BoatUS!

Sailing, Cinderella, PNW, Yanmar, Diesel, Engine, Electric, Propulsion,

Follow along on My Experience with EV – Part 2 as the planning begins!

4 Replies to “My Experience with EV – Part 1 Yanmar, an Expensive Anchor”

  1. Thanks for posting. Very much look forward to knowing more! Will follow you…

    Best regards, a fellow electric proponent.

    1. Thanks Jim! I hope it helps get more fossil fuel burners off the water. I hate seeing that sheen of oil on the waters surface every time one of those “good running diesels” starts up.

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