Pesto on a Dead Boat

Dead?… well not really but it sorta seems so. Sailboats have been sailing for centuries without an engine. I have tied up to my mooring under sail alone (a couple of times) but lets face it…. I ain’t no sailor, just a methodically minded wingnut… and a lucky one, at that. And furthermore, the old Perkins ain’t dead, just very unhappy.

DSC00426DSC00427She starts with difficulty and won’t idle. When she runs, she spews losta white smoke (not steam) which is apparently unburned atomized diesel. On Tuesday afternoon I went over with Kostas. He took the atomizers (fuel injectors) off and noticed some kind of branch or plastic string in cylinder two. We couldn’t pull it out. After closing it all up we ran the engine for half an hour. It did get a bit better but still the same illness. Kostas says it’s usable to get back to port for haul out. The good news is that it’s not broken. DSC00428DSC00429Probably that little stick got in when the engine was out last winter and slowly made its way to the valve inlet traumatizing the valve seal. So the heads coming off. Might as well do it on the hard in a month or so or earlier. I went back on Thursday equipped with new tweezers and a new set of combination wrenches (Kostas hates me for not having one) and planed on removing that “thing” in there. Getting the atomizers off is real simple. Disconnect the fuel input and take off the return line (mind that little “under’ washer!). Undo the holding bracket and its off. I was feeling REAL optimistic that I’d remove the culprit and all would be fine. Put the culprit was nowhere (naturally its gone by now) to be found. Closed it all back up and the status is the same. Went to the port to hang, told Kostas I was depressed (cause I was!). He just laughed and said not to worry and we’ll fix it together. Ok… but ol’ Zoot is dead! (sniff, sob, boohoo)

Weekend. My friend Alexandra who has helped alot on ol’ Zoot is having the roughest time this year with the collapsed economy (she’s got a jewelry shop), I wanted to give her a weekend to relax and rejuvenate. The weather was beautiful, mild heat and winds… perfect… almost. The sea was full of those darn saloufa jellyfish, again! DSC00432DSC00441She showed up by 11am. After getting situated she wanted to go sailing (like everyone else was), but I declined saying it was “relax time” not being in the mood to stress out myself. She had brought some home work, made a couple of necklaces while I cooked DSC00442(first time bringing the pressure cooker to steam with potatoes in mostly salt water… 45min and they came out fine). Later on we took the dingy on a five minute ride to the Praso island for a swim without them jellies! That evening was nice and relaxing and hard not to fall asleep too early!

Sunday. Since the weather is forecast to change this week it was time for the “good luck basil plant” to meet its maker and become pesto! I’ve never done it before and used what I had.


Scissor Attack




DSC00449Bud collection, leaf separation






be creative…?





Dice up 3 garlic cloves (whoops…. too much…he he he)





Dice ’em together. Take you time and enjoy the cleaver and the phat cutting board.





Get some pistachios and divide ingredients to two bowls (dividing the work) Also break out the olive oil, shot glasses and raki (from Crete)




Utilize the raki and the shot glasses. Then pour some olive oil in the bowls, stick your thumb in the shot glass and start the smooshing. Pace yourself, it takes awhile.



DSC00458Lookin’ good to me. Re-utilize shot glasses






DSC00459Boil some #10 spaghetti.

Find a spot around the boat with no jellyfish and have a swim.

Back on board, serve and … bon appetite!







Whatever. At some point we where bored and energetic and attacked the stainless stanchions with vinegar (from the lack of oxalic acid) and pot sponge. Ol’ Zoot may be theoretically dead…. but “she’s a shinin'”!


Stay tuned… for what… I have no idea

Capt Pete

ps… something amusing. With Kostas, I asked if he had a compression meter and he shows me the “thumbs up”. I wasn’t sure what to make of that. So after we had the injectors off, he had me turn the engine over. A hilarious sight seeing air blowing out the four holes. Then to check the pressure, Kostas proceeded sticking his thumb into the holes individually to see if they had “any” pressure (which they did). That’s when I fell over laughing. Not a very precision way of doing things but better than nothing!

pss… the garlic in the pesto is still loud and proud a day later…woot!


About Sailing Zoot Allures

A demoralized mechanical engineer/ bass player/ sound engineer/editor seeks Freedom
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10 Responses to Pesto on a Dead Boat

  1. Why do engines hate boats so much? I mean, you take a diesel engine, plop it into a car and it runs and runs for 30 years happy as a bee in a flower.
    Other than the white smoke, it looks like you’re having a grand time in the sun.
    I’m stuck at home working on a complicated translation, it’s raining elephants and crocodiles and I’m juggling a bunch of hassles. The slavery never ends. Should have stayed anchored in Culatra and thrown my cell phone in the water.


    • Tate says:

      Engines don’t hate boats, just that sail boats hate engines. To a sailboat, the “auxiliary” power unit is really like a dirty mistress that Skipper keeps hidden. You know those beautiful spars and sails are what he shows the world, but he always seems to slip and go back to the mistress, the diesel whore. Its really no wonder the sailboats hate engines.

      Of course this jealousy leads to interesting behaviors. Passive aggressive attacks. You know, the boat lets a little leak on the motor. A little spray of salt here or there. Perhaps the occasional “shake up the full tanks and foul the filters”, and of course the ole prop wrap.


      • Whow, that was beautiful Tate. Very Shakespearean and “spot on”! And oooohh so truuure!
        Did you know Perkins are Brits and are Imperial? S.O.B. I’m in a metric world. Plus, eg, Kostas needed at some point 3 extensions on his socket wrench to re-install the fuel pump right under the exhaust manifold last Spring. And without the use of blasphemy! Different taste in women, some like ’em dirty, some like ’em…. at least to cooperate!


    • Yup, you shoulda chucked the phone. We’re getting rain this week… I’ll believe it when I see it.
      That “car” comparison has been on my mind alot lately. I actually enjoy being stuck in traffic next to a truck!
      Oh, the slavery…….


  2. sryoder says:

    Hang in there. The Perkins will be better again. Happens to all of us. Looks like you’re doing a good job of taking it somewhat in stride. Tell me more about those potatoes. 45 minutes in a pressure cooker seems like a really long time. Were they whole or cut up?


    • “taking it somewhat in stride” my ass. I’m gonna kill something (remember an old blue light poster with a couple of vultures?)
      Whole potatoes in a liter (quart?) of mostly salt water. I can normally boil 1lt water in 10-12 min. The p.c. valve didn’t start de-presurising for half an hour so I just left it for another 15min. I think the salt water is to blame for the delay. More experimentation to come now that it’s getting cooler. How long should it take under normal circumstances?


      • sryoder says:

        According to, whole potatoes should cook in about 15-20 minutes using maybe 1 cup of water. Allow cooker to depressurize on its own. Maybe 45 minutes overall from the very start to the time you remove the lid is about right after all. Use less water and it’ll take a little less time.

        And “yes” I do remember the vulture poster.


      • very cool PC site, thanks. I never thought of letting it depressurize itself. I’m new at P cookers but learning the hard(?) way.


      • sryoder says:

        Just make sure to adapt any recipes you find to your own cooker. I have a book that called for cooking something 1/2 cup of water (~125 mls). Well, maybe on a new-fangled fancy-pants cooker but on my old Presto I burned the crap out of whatever I was cooking. My cooker will boil away most of a 1/2 cup of water well before it actually reaches pressure. My cooker requires a minimum of 1 cup of cooking liquid, no matter what I’m cooking or what the recipe says.


      • Note taken. I always use lotsa water (covering the spuds) in fear of eating my mistakes!


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