‘Years of shredded impeller bits had clogged the pipe'
Yachting Monthly|December 2020
Martin Fuller lightens his wallet as he finds the solution to an avoidable problem that had clearly been building up for years
Martin Fuller

Prior to 2014 I had not sailed offshore and my sailing experience was limited to messing around on Lasers and Lightnings; but I had a dream to sail around the world and completed a number of RYA sailing courses, from Competent Crew to Yachtmaster, between 2014 and 2016, plus some mile-building passages. Then in May 2018 I retired to go sailing.

I bought my first and only boat, a Sadler Starlight 39, in January 2017 and have since sailed the Solent and Channel waters; around Ireland; cruised the Inner Islands to Orkney and back to Pwllheli (home port) via the Caledonian Canal and have recently completed a 12,000-mile circuit of the Northern Atlantic.

We (me the skipper, plus one) started in North Wales in April 2019, cruised south to Portugal and the Azores before sailing to the Cape Verdes to cross to Barbados in January 2020.

We cruised swiftly north from Grenada through the Caribbean up the USA East Coast and our passage continues to head north; hoping to make it to Greenland this year despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

We had a few minor boat issues en route – who wouldn’t? But my latest little drama could, with hindsight, have been avoided. Should it occur again, I can now resolve the problem without the expensive diversion to a marina and use of a professional engineer.

The problem revolves around impellers. How many times have you changed your impeller? We have done so several times and never given much of thought to where all the bits of missing rubber have gone. Out of the exhaust... haven’t they? Well, actually, no – as we found out to our cost when the last impeller shredded itself!

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