Big Problems, Little Problems
25 June 2012 | Discovery Bay, Bocas del Toro, Panama
One of the problems I needed to deal with as soon as we returned from our cruise was the problem of our panga. We told Bill & Paula Tucker to use our boat at least occasionally while we were gone. Bill reported that it felt like the prop was slipping. It was fine up to ~4000 rpm but then slipped and jerked and wouldn't go faster. No problem, I thought. I have a brand new prop sitting at home. I'll just swap it out and all is good. So, the other day, I did that. It only took a half hour or so and I was out testing it. Oops. I see what Bill meant about it slipping. The engine seemed fine, but the boat hesitated and jerked and wouldn't get up on a plane. New prop did not solve the problem. If the engine was OK (it certainly seemed to be) and the prop was OK (brand new), that left only the lower unit. That was likely to be a BIG problem ($$$). Reluctantly, I made an appointment with Frank, a local mechanic who has done real well by Bill fixing his outboard, and motored SLOWLY in to town. As Frank got in the boat, he remarked that the bottom was dirty. Well, it had been sitting for nearly 3 months and the bottom paint is obviously past its prime, but that was a little problem that I could deal with later. I was worried about the BIG problem, so we went for a test drive. Frank sat on the back and watched the motor and prop as I drove slowly and then attempted to accelerate. Once I had shown him my BIG problem, he said, "No problem. You got a dirty boat." What? He eventually got me to understand that there was so much growth on the bottom of the boat that when it tried to plane, the growth caused cavitation directly in front of the prop which was causing the slippage. For $40, he had a friend clean the boat inside as well as out and it now runs like a charm. BIG problem, little problem, NO problem! That's the way I like it.