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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Day 1

The steep hills of Road Town rising above the Wickham's Cay area

We anchored in Road Harbour, Tortola for a couple days, doing a bit of exploration ashore of the small downtown area and...searching the local chandleries for a new fuel line for Eclipse. You see, after re-fueling Eclipse at Peter Island’s Marina and Resort on Thursday, Ron and Kerry had a bit of excitement, for the engine stalled and died just as they were heading back to Equinox, rounding the point back into Great Harbour. With the wind and waves kicking up, they tossed out the anchor to keep Eclipse from being thrown up on the wickedly rocky shoreline of Peter Island. 
After the initial suspicion of bad fuel was ruled out, further investigation found that the fuel line was cracked along at least half its length, and had cracked completely through just prior to the connection fitting to the engine! This small leak caused enough of a loss of fuel pressure for the engine to die, and while the anchor kept them off the rocks, the boys had no recourse but to wait for assistance or swim....which Ron was seriously contemplating! But, as always, fellow cruisers to the rescue! A couple off Sibonee, a lovely sailing catamaran, came by in their dinghy, saw Ron and Kerry lurching on anchor in the waves and upon realizing their plight, towed Eclipse back to Equinox. Whew!! 

Ron and Kerry investigating the source of the engine trouble
And...once again, Rescue Tape to the rescue!! Since we didn’t have a fuel line aboard to replace the one aboard Eclipse, we were forced to improvise, and wrapping RescueTape around the small leak worked like a charm. We were startled at the horrid condition of the fuel line, since it’s only a couple years old, but Kerry told us of this same event happening to several tenders and center consoles in Florida, with fuel lines corroding and cracking, apparently from the inside out, due to all the ethanol in gas nowadays. No proof of this, but...clearly we were in need of a new fuel line, so off to Road Town we went, after dropping off a bottle of champagne at Sibonee for their assistance!
Ron wrapping RescueTape around the small leak in the fuel line
Thankfully, there are several marinas and marine stores in Road Town. Ron and Kerry went to Marine Depot next door to Village Cay Marina, and with the assistance of David, one of the managers there, they found a properly-sized replacement straightaway. Ron and Kerry replaced the line within ten minutes (improving things as well, replacing the original rather shoddy pressure clamps with bona fide fuel hose clamps) and Eclipse was back in business in no time! At least this time, a ten-minute job didn't turn into a two-hour job!!

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