June 25, 2010, Cap Sante Marine, Anacortes, WA
Funny some of the things you see in a boat yard. The boat pictured here is actually a hull, with an A-frame roof installed - shingles and all!
We've been "on the hard" (boater term for having your boat in the boat yard up on jack stands) now for three days here in Anacortes at Cap Sante Marine boat yard. The progress has been slow but at least we are headed in the right direction. The first night we were here, we stayed in a motel up the street. The kids were able to swim in the pool and we all enjoyed the free breakfast. But since we are spending all our money on boat repairs, we can't be livin' the high life in motels and what not. So, we are now staying on the boat in the yard. It's not bad though. There are many people who have life much worse. We actually slept great last night. Tonight, we enjoyed the most awesome of dinners - grilled corn on the cob and grilled chicken! It was delectable! You see, you just leave the corn in the stalk, pull the stalk back a bit and fill it with butter, then wrap it up in tin-foil and lay in on the grill. You really can't overcook it, but we left ours on for about 20-30 minutes on low heat. The stalk has the moisture the corn needs to cook, so it doesn't burn - the butter just makes it good! Once the corn was almost done, we laid some dry-rubbed chicken on the grill and let that cook. Then we all enjoyed a great dinner in our very own water-front mobile home up on jacks. Does life get any better? Tami even conjured up some awesome chocolate chip bread pudding with dark chocolate ice cream on top! Who'd a thunk it?
Yesterday, we finally got the stubborn cutlass bearing removed. With the help of an air chisel, it finally gave up and fell out. What a mess! We sent the propeller and drive shaft away to The Prop Shop to be repaired. Today, we got the great news (read sarcasm) that we needed a new drive shaft (our old one was bent and corroded). So, a new $1400 drive shaft is on its way. The kids are officially up for sale! Hopefully the new shaft and repaired prop will be here by Monday so we can install them and be put back in the water by Tuesday. Our new shaft seal parts also arrived today so we cleaned all those parts up and reassembled the PSS dripless seal. We also installed the new engine mounts today. It was easier than we expected. We simply loosened up all the bolts on the old ones and then jacked the engine up with a floor jack and replaced the mounts. The old ones were indeed bent. Now, all we have to do is get the new drive shaft back in and get the boat back in the water. Then we can get the engine re-aligned and be on our way. In the meantime, we may take the ferry over to Friday Harbor and spend a few more days with our friend Susan. We may also borrow her car as walking around this town is getting old.
The guys in the boat yard here have been great. They have been very helpful and done it all with a great attitude. We hope to be able to buy them all some pizzas for lunch one day next week (maybe the day all our parts get here so they will be more inclined to help us install them!)
We are all eager to get back on the water and enjoy the rest of our summer sailing. However, we have to take the lemons and make lemonade. We are all trying to have a positive attitude and keep our spirits high. Fortunately, the weather has been magnificent and the temperatures have been in the 70's. You can't ask for much better conditions to be working on a boat. Tonight, Christian took a swing on the world's largest swingset. You see, when you are living on your boat in the boat yard, you tend to be the only ones around after business hours. So, since the guys left the travel lift out and the slings down, we took advantage of it and went for a little (or big) swing. Abby was afraid, but Christian enjoyed it.
I'm sure tomorrow's list of "to do's" is growing by the minute. Fortunately, we have nothing but time (no money, but plenty of time)! Living on and maintaining a big boat is not easy. But neither is living in and maintaining an old house. Our boat is 28 years old and has been around the world. She has some wrinkles, stretch marks, and tan lines. She may be a little tired, but has some great stories to tell. All she needs is a little TLC and she will take us safely wherever we want to go.
June 22, 2010, Cap Sante Marine, Anacortes, WA
You know you are poor (or losing all your money to boat repair) when you are eating condiment sandwiches. Mustard is our favorite!
There are two constants when sailing in the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands: #1 The wind will always be on your nose, and #2 You will always be fighting the current - ebb tide or flood tide, it doesn't matter. These rules are especially true in the San Juan Islands. The weather forecast yesterday was for winds out of the Southwest at 10-15 knots. We thought this would be great for our southeast trek from Sucia Island to Anacortes. We should at least have a close reach most of the way. Well, wouldn't you know it, the wind was southEAST at 12 knots ALL DAY LONG!!! So, we sailed for a bit, tacking back and forth all the while fighting the current that was technically supposed to be going the other way. This pretty much kept us in the same spot for about 2 hours. Oh, don't get me wrong, you can sail downwind if you'd like or drift along with the current, but I'll bet my next paycheck that you won't be headed in the right direction.
Anyway, we motored most of the way to the Cap Sante Boat Haven in Anacortes arriving around 1600. The marina there is great! The staff is nice and the moorage was relatively cheap (about $1 a foot = $43). The weather was nice and we enjoyed a quiet, still evening in the slip.
This morning, we motored over to Fidalgo Marina and the Cap Sante Marine haul-out and boat yard facility. Like clockwork, the guys running the travel lift expertly maneuvered our boat into the slings and got the fat girl up out of the water. Tami hates watching the haul out. All she can picture is our boat falling from the slings and plunging 30 feet straight down into a complicated insurance claim. The guys did a great job, got the bottom washed down and blocked in no time at all. They even put a nice set of stairs in place for us to climb up and down (for the kids and all) since we will probably be staying on the boat a few nights while it is in the yard.
So, on to today's progress...After a quick evaluation of the damage and situation, we deftly removed the very complicated Maxi-prop (with some expert help, of course) and placed it aside. We then loosened the coupling and shaft seal and banged the 8+ foot drive shaft out of the boat. It took a little coaxing but slid out without incident (the sucker is a monster!) We then went to work cleaning the stern tube and prepping the cutlass bearing for removal. Cutlass bearings either fall out with no effort, or require dynamite and jack hammers to set them free. Ours is the later type. A combination of age, the heat caused by the melting line, and just plain stubbornness, is causing ours to put up a great fight. It's pretty mutilated, but we are allowing it to spend one more night aboard. We'll get it out in the morning.
Tomorrow, in addition to the final round with the cutlass bearing, we'll dial in the drive shaft to see if it has been bent and needs to sent off for repairs. We are also sending the prop down to The Prop Shop to have it serviced before we put it all back together. Hopefully, the shaft is still good and we won't have to sell one of the kids to replace it (a new shaft for our boat could easily be a couple thousand dollars!) After a new cutlass bearing and shaft seal have been installed and the drive train has been re-assembled, we will tackle the new engine mounts. Hopefully, that will go smoothly. The boat yard employees have been great. All of them have been more than willing to help and provide sound advice. Perhaps they know something I don't, but you don't find this kind of service just anywhere, especially in a boat yard. With any luck, the repairs will continue to go smoothly and we'll be back in the water by the first of next week.
Since we lasted blogged, we've gone from Friday Harbor to Sucia Island, spent 3 nights on the anchor, and then to Anacortes - about another 45 miles or so. We'll update the actual log soon. Photos of the project and repairs to be posted soon. We all still have smiles on faces, so there is still hope!