Engine Troubles In The North

The life of a cruiser in remote area’s is not always that great. We were just off the coast of the incredibly beautiful “Disko Island ” when disaster struck. Disaster you might wonder? well kind of disaster. Our engine ceased a crankshaft bearing and is not deemed repairable here in Greenland. This basically means that we have no main engine from here on, and traveling further north is therefore out of the question.

The difficulty is in the part. I found out, after talking to many specialists, that there are no machine shops in Greenland. Not even in the capital “Nuuk”, only 400 miles away from here. Well, there are machine shops, but they are not capable to machine a crankshaft to make it fit with the oversized bearings that are available in Europe.

This all would mean that we have to take the engine apart, send the parts to Denmark or so for machining, and have them send back here, and hope that there are no communication mistakes between the different parties and that the tolerances are within the limits of the different parts. Not a risk I’m willing to take if you know that the first attempt is going to take at least 6-8 weeks. That probably will end up being 8-10 weeks since it is Greenland.

We are back in Ilulissat now, enjoying the nice weather, make a short hike in the surrounding every day, and working to fix the problem the rest of the day.

We have pretty much exhausted every option available, and I think the only way forward is to abandon our original plan of going to Melville and Baffin Island, and sail the boat straight back to Halifax without the help of the main engine. Not ideal, but doable. Options we have considered include, but are not limited to: ordering a new engine and have it shipped to Greenland, building in a used engine, mount an outboard on the transom, charter another boat to continue the journey. Everything has its own kind of problems, and I consider them to big of a risk to get stuck here for the winter. Eventough I would love to spend the winter here in Disko bay, it is not something that I can do this winter since I need to get back to my winter job. Leaving the boat here is only postponing the problem to next year.

I will have to keep my thinking head on for a while to see if there are options I have not thought of yet. Any thoughts?

Any way, this is our backyard for the next short while, there are worse places to be stuck!