Adventures of Adirondack

Adventures of Adirondack

Friday, January 25, 2013

The dark side of cruising

Someone once defined cruising as, " the art of repairing your boat in exotic and expensive locations." Well, just so you don't start thinking the whole trip is 70 - 85 degrees, no rain, perfect beaches, crystal clear water and bunches of new and interesting friends, here is another side:

So we were pulling out of our Nassau marina the other day, bound for the Exuma Islands, our eventual destination. Excitement was in the air, as this 40 mile stretch would likely be our last real crossing. All we had left on the horizon was leisure, beaches, palm trees, great food, beverages and friends; you get the picture. We were still in the harbour (they are harbours here)when the throttle would not go past 1200 rpm, meaning the boat just would not go past half speed. "Sally, we have a problem; you need to take the helm!" I commanded in my best captain's voice. She went up top to pilot while I tackled the problem. She, of course, had no idea what was wrong and neither did I.

I went down below into the "holy room" and it seemed the connection to the fuel injection operated properly. The one up top felt OK, but the one at the lower helm seemed suspect. I took it apart and found a plate had worked its way loose and was jamming the whole mechanism. I also figured I could jury rig it to operate at normal speed and get us to the Exumas, where we would fix it properly. This took a while. Meanwhile Sally was piloting the boat expertly around the shoals and fairly heavy traffic. It is Nassau, home of lots of boats.

I finally went up top and reported my findings. I explained that I had completely disassembled and rebuilt the engine WHILE IT WAS RUNNING, and we could finish the job at anchor later on, which we did. Or I should say she did, as it was one of those jobs that can only be done left-handed and my left hand just doesn't do these types of projects. So, we're now all done working on the boat, right?

Well, not really. The night before last we fired up the generator (genset, in boating language) and I leaned outside as always to listen for the reassuring sound of water being pumped out the exhaust. This cooling function is essential to a living motor. There was no water. OK, we'll start it again, and again, and again. Still no water. This time instead of being in Nassau where we might have found a real mechanic, we were in Allen's Cay, inhabited only by a LOT of iguanas. No mechanics.

So the next morning Sally and I replaced the impeller, a three hour job getting at small parts in impossible locations. I was drenched in sweat and dirt and grease when finished but IT WORKS!!

So now we are all done working on the boat. Nothing else could possibly go wrong. Capt. Jeff

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