Dirty Diesel

When Gordon handed me the sails he told me that the sacrifical strip needed replacing. I unfurled the sail in the garage tonight – the sail is in great nick – hardly used I would say but it has been on the furler for far too long and the strip has all but gone in places – it will flap in tatters in a breeze.

I used my glue gun and some bits of old sail to repair it – it will be good enough to get me around to Chichester Harbour. I am hoping that main will be fine as it has been under the mainsail cover.

I would love to find a ghoster for the boat

My main concern is that the diesel in the tank has been hanging around for far too long. I am assuming there will be water in there but my biggest concern is diesel bug or tank rust.

The engine might run fine until I hit some waves and then the crud will get stirred up. I am planning on emptying the tank using a siphone hose so that I can examine the fuel. I will then filter it and only return it if it looks okay. If a load of crud comes up then I will have to remove the tank and clean it some-how – any suggestions gratefully received.

I have ordered some hose and some 20 litre collapsible plastic water containers designed for camping



This is about Centaur Project, Dylan Winter's Blog, Sailing around Britain.

8 Responses to “Dirty Diesel”

  1. 8 February, 2014 at 12:23 amDavid says:

    I don’t know how much time Harmony has been languishing but it would be unfair to rate that lovely inboard diesel engine if the old fuel is bad. Personally I would ditch the old fuel, flush the tank and fill up with fresh diesel with a dash of diesel treatment for good measure. Then enjoy a few hundred hours of happy sailing with confidence in the engine. Crab pots I have to admit are a problem on a Centaur. Obvious choice would be a rope cutter/stripper = perhaps approach them as a advertisement?

    Kind regards


    • 8 February, 2014 at 12:32 amdylan winter says:

      my concern exactly – although I am told that diesel does not decay – if I chuck the old diesel then getting rid of it will be a challenge in its own right. It will still not solve the problem of rusty tank.

      inboards are such a worry compared to the simplicity of an outboard

  2. 8 February, 2014 at 12:56 amjon sutton says:

    Don’t use old diesel fuel, no matter how well you think it’s been filtered.

    Get rid of it by tipping it into a reasonably full tank of domestic heating oil to dilute it well………….. shouldn’t upset a heating boiler too much

    Clean tank, clean fresh fuel, clean filters…………. don’t take the risk of losing your engine for the sake of a few quids worth of fuel

  3. 8 February, 2014 at 2:39 pmAlan Blewitt says:

    Hello D. If you need to move the boat asap. run the engine from a five gallon drum till you get the boat to a more resting place. Starting with a clean tank is peace of mind. Something needed at sea. good luck . i have spare sails i can give you. May be good enough for storm, etc use. Alan.

  4. 8 February, 2014 at 8:04 pmGiles says:

    Having bought an early ‘A’ layout Centaur which had been well maintained, I nevertheless carried out quite a thorough overhaul before launching a couple of years ago. I checked the fuel tank which I believe is original. As far as I can tell there is no rust and the diesel is clear. You can check this by inserting a thin tube to the bottom of the tank, put your thumb over it, withdraw, empty into a clear jar and check contents. Diesel bug is easy to spot apparently – black grunge lurking at the bottom… Since then I have been treating with Marine 16 which got a positive recommendation from PBO. So far no problems.
    Good luck!


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