May 18, 2013.
Since the Veranda has been back in the water its been a parade of niggling little things that had to be addressed. Some are unusual like my wifes desire to use a pressure washer to clean our oriental carpets.
Our engine sits very low in the boat with the water heater sitting a level above it. As a result I have to fill the fresh water side of the engine through the even higher, expansion tank. This way the water runs down to the engine and the air is vented from the system at the water heaters highest fitting. It was tedious but we got it done. The v-drive has fresh oil and the transmission has new fluid. The engine oil has been topped so it was time to give her a run-up.
She fired right up and there was great joy in the village. That is until I put it in gear....vibration, crap. I thought I had the alignment pretty close but evidently I was wrong. Space at the marina is pretty tight with so many boats being launched so I’ve got to get Veranda out of there. After a 13 hour day at work on Thursday we wolfed down some dinner and got to work.
The biggest drawback to our boat has always been access to the V-drive, transmission and shaft coupling. Things in this area have improved greatly since we pulled the piece o'shit Fisher Panda out of the boat and shit canned it. It used to be that I could either see the coupling OR get one hand on it. This made adjusting the stuffing box a challenge. Now I can either see it or get BOTH hands on it, huge improvement.
Right after dinner I did some major deconstruction of the galley cabinetry to gain access to the coupling. Our coupling is a beefy little bastard held together by 8 bolts. Because of clearances you can only use open end wrenches on them as you spin the fine pitch bolts out a quarter turn at a time. It took me almost an hour to remove the eight bolts.
When I pulled the shaft back from the transmission coupling the alignment was in fact out of tolerance. Thank you Jesus, because if I did all this for nothing I might have lost it. Anyway, I straightened out the alignment had the cabinet back together, tools put away and was all washed up by 2200 hours. Three hours, new record, two handed access is a good thing.
Early the next morning I started her up and let her warm up for a bit while got ready to get her out of the marina. We had a busy day planned at the marina so I couldn't afford the time to take Veranda the mile and a half to her slip in Back Creek so I decided to take it 50 yards into the harbor and leave her on a mooring for the day.
I loosened lines and hopped up onto the side deck and leaned into the cockpit to get a quick glance at the ignition panel to make sure we were warmed up and ready to go. This is when extreme tightness of my anus kept me from shitting myself. THE OIL PRESSURE WAS LOW AND WE WERE ABOUT TO OVERHEAT. The panel was under my chin and I was leaning into the cockpit looking at the panel upside down. The vein in my head was bulging and I was starting to taste bile when I realized that the low oil pressure I was seeing was actually the temperature gauge indicating a warm engine with the needle off to the left. Conversely the high temperature I saw was actually excellent oil pressure. Damn, upside down, no glasses, confused the gauges, nothing to see here people, ignore the screaming, just go about your business.
The trip to the mooring only took a minute but the drive train was smooth as silk. I left her out on the mooring and grinned my way through a challenging day at work. After work Christy and I went out to the boat, fired her up and the Veranda made her maiden voyage of a mile and a half to her slip.
She was fast as hell and smooth like she never has been. If anything was gonna be a bummer on our trip home it was the fact that the water was really low. We warped our way into our slip and made it look easy. A neighbor was there to grab a line and a friend was standing there with a “welcome back” bottle of wine. We're safely tied up, sitting with 4 inches under the keel and never touched bottom....a really nice ending to a long cold winter.