Monday, December 11, 2006

Day 19, November 30, we’re up and on our way by 0700. According to both mechanics the “repair” I made should last until we get to the next full service marina which is 17 miles away. We’re going to have to take it easy so we don’t press our luck. We’re moving along nicely at 5 knots when the engine becomes disengaged from the transmission. Crap. We almost made a mile. Crap. We’re dead in the water, the engine runs fine and there’s nothing wrong with the transmission its just that the plate which connects them together has completely failed. Crap.

We again throw up some sail and are ghosting along at about 1.2 knots. The problem is that 1 knot of that is the tide pushing us along so we have very little steerage. When the wind stops we’re just being sweep along and are having trouble staying in the narrow channel. A little puff of wind here and there and all is well. Christy calls Tow Boat US again and they patch her through to the tow boat operator who will come and get us. I hear Christy say “Tim, this is Christy” he replies “on Veranda?”. Yep, we got the same tow boat guy that we had 2 days ago, we’re practically kin now.

We keep sailing until the wind completely dies then we have to drop the anchor with us as close to the edge of the channel as we dare. Tim was helping someone else so it took him an hour to get to us so we sat and enjoyed the beautiful morning. Okay, okay, I stewed while Christy remained upbeat. When Tim got to us he said “where to?”, when Christy said Swan Point Marina he replied “ Oh good, thems good folk”.

After tying up at the marina and bidding a tearful good bye to Tim we went up to see about repairs. I explain the problem to the woman at the counter and she motions over my shoulder and says “that’s our mechanic”. I turn around and am met with the sight of a giant of a man, I mean truly a huge guy, not a fat guy, just an enormous man. I look at him and the first thing out of my mouth is how the hell do you even fit in a sailboat let alone work on one. He could have crushed me but he just bust out laughing and introduces himself as Bubba. I swear to god.

He listens to my problem and says let me take a look. He gets on the boat and discusses options and we decide that the easiest way is to remove everything I can, even that damn starter, so the transmission can be unbolted from the engine. Then I have to unbolt the engine from the boat so it can be slid away from the transmission creating enough room to replace the broken plate. I remove the enclosure around the transmission, the starter, the muffler, the transmission cooler, the heat exchanger, the water pump and various hoses. Mike and Lou would be proud.

I have everything undone and have moved the engine away just a bit. When Bubba, no kidding, gets here in the morning I’ll get him to check on the way I’ve supported the transmission. If all looks well I’ll have the broken piece out early and get the new one in. I figured that this would be a day or two of labor for a mechanic and it turns out that it looks as if with Bubba’s (I kid you not) guidance I’m going to be able to do this alone with the tools we have on board. Remember, I’m trying to stay positive.

Christy spent the day chatting it up with a pair of cruisers on a schooner rigged sailboat that needs a new engine. They are here waiting for the new engine to arrive and be installed. They were towed twice by cousin Tim as well. Dinner was great, Christy made a stir fry, we’re supposed to get a pretty good blow tonight so we’re safe in the protected marina. Its warm enough that we will sleep with the ports open tonight. Things are actually pretty good.

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