Tuesday, September 13, 2011

my quirky Merc

My Mercury outboard (5 HP, single-stroke, long-shaft, insert other impolite outboard terms here, etc.) has always had her idiosyncrasies, but this season has been the worst.  This past weekend, though, she and I had a breakthrough.  I now know how to most predictably get her to start, but her behavior is very strange and I will not be satisfied until I can get her to start "normally."

Here is what I do:  I open the fuel line, pull out the choke (fully engaged, and then partially after a few pulls), and then pull-pull-pull on the starter.  I pull many times, somewhat compulsively, because I just know she will start up if I pull just one more time.  At this point, she is clearly flooded, and there has been nary a spark nor a sputter -- absolutely no encouraging signs of life at all.   Sadly, she is so flooded by this time that there are a droplets of fuel falling into the lake.  (Sorry, environment.)  After about 30 seconds of some combination of silent reflection, beverage-freshening, and the use of somewhat coarse language, I close the fuel line, close down the choke, open up the throttle all the way, and start to pull some more with results as follows:

First pull:  nuttin'.
Second pull:  spark, sputter.
Third pull:  she starts up and begins to purr like a happy little kitten.

After about 10 seconds or so, I open the fuel line once again and shortly thereafter, away we go.  What is just as remarkable is that she starts on the very first pull later on when it's time to motor back into the slip.

So, my primary question is What da?  My secondary question is 'Should I not open up the choke when I first attempt to start her in order to effectively bypass the whole ridiculous 'flood, then starve' routine?'  I am so clueless about outboards.  My general strategy is simply 'treat her like a lady, and she will return the favor,'  but I think she is becoming a little too highmay at this point.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

a blog post from The Admiral


I am seriously enjoying this sailing season and am going to try posting to my blog a little more frequently than just once or twice per year.  Let me start by posting a follow-up to my infamous 2008 sailing goal.  This past Saturday night, I met my goal.  (blush.)  It was three years later than planned, but it was soooooo worth the wait.  Magical.