So Saturday we made plans to sail up the South River and down the Rhode River and anchor at one of thier islands. The boat was all prepped and we just went food shopping, we were ready to go.
We started the engine up on the first try and everything sounded good. There was water coming out the back exhaust, all systems were hooked up. This was our first time leaving this new slip though and it proved to be a troublesome one. When we backed out, the current along with our prop walk pushed our boat directly toward the main dock. We are in the second slip so it wasn't long before I was pushing our stern off the main dock. Luckily the slip next to ours just has a small DNR boat in it and the opposite side is empty. Also the 3 slips behind us were empty too, otherwise we would have hit everyboat in those slips!
We had to back up almost all the way into the slip across from us and even then when we tried to go forward we couldn't even clear our own slip again because of the current. Eventually we had 2 other people helping us push our boat around and we decided to back out the fairway. Going reverse with a boat is no easy task because the propellor tends to push us to the left (prop walk). So we zig zagged out of the slip nearly missing all the boats that were hanging out of their slips. It wasn't pretty but we were out of there.
This should have been our indication to stay home, but we are fearless (or dumb) and continued!
So now we are motoring up the South River talking about what a disaster that exit was when an alarm goes off at the starter panel. This alarm usually goes off when the key is left in the on position, and after flipping the RPM meter switch it turned off. But this time the RPM meter stopped working once the alarm stopped sounding. We just thought, darn must be some loose wires.
Well about 5 minutes later the engine stalls.
We try to start the engine back up and after a few lame turn over trys it kicks on, but then turns off after about another minute. Shucks! Christine reminds me that we are a sailboat and quickly lets out the Genny. Who needs a lame engine anyway. I decide ill look at it once we get to our anchorage. But the boat decides otherwise and we see a bunch of smoke coming from the cabin, o shit. Christine hands me the fire extinguisher and I go down below and open up the engine compartment. There is a ton of fog/smoke coming off the engine but thankfully no fire. Christine opens up the cockpit access and more smoke comes out but still no fire. At this point we realized we have overheated the engine. We leave the compartment doors open and let her cool off.
So now we are sailing along in a slight wind but the wind is coming at us so we have to tack a few times. Just before our last tack out of the river the wind dies. We are a decent distance from a near by shoal but once we lost all wind power the current began to take us to land. That combinded with all the power boats flying by and creating wakes that knock us to shore, we are soon SAILING BACKWARDS! I tried explaining to Christine the other day that it was impossible to sail backwards, so she had a fun time proving me wrong as we saw our trailing dinghy float forward of us.
This laughter soon ended as we felt a slight bump and realized we had run aground. Dang it!
Well the engine had stopped smoking and so it must have cooled off and we were in dire need of power so we turned her back on. The engine started fine and it was a relief to have power again. This lasted about 15 seconds when we heard a SNAP! and I saw our dinghy slowly floating away. We just had a prop guard installed and it did its job. I grabbed the line that was supposed to be holding the dinghy hopeing it was still attached but the line had been cut and the dinghy was just drifting further toward the bay.
Now this is a brand new dinghy as you readers know and I was not about to let it escape. I am not a great swimmer tho so I grabbed a floating seat cushion and jumped in after it. It would have been nice if we were so far on the shoal that I could walk but nope, I had to doggy paddle after this thing. The water was very cold at first but that quickly went away as I used every bit of energy I had to catch up to the dinghy. I was so tired I thought I wasn't going to catch it but the current must have helped me some and I eventually climbed aboard our lil runaway tender. The workout wasn't over tho and I had to paddle it back to our dumb boat that was still stuck in mud.
Christine had untangled the remaining line and restarted the engine in an attempt to get us off the shoal. But we were still stuck. I attempted to moter us off the shoal once I got aboard the main vessel but I too failed. Not knowing which way the tide was going (rookie mistake) we decided to call Boat US to tow us off. It went pretty smooth hailing them via VHF and they could be there in 30 minutes. While we waited for them we tried using a long 8 foot pole to push us off but that ofcourse failed. Also while waiting a friendly power boater offered to pull us off but we decided to wait for Boat US.
The Boat US tow boat eventually came and pulled us off the shoal. For anyone who is not a memeber of Boat US, please become one now. We pay $149/year, it was $134 the year before, and we get unlimited towing for free! He told us that he just had to charge the last person $1100 and that our bill would have been $700! We just got our memberships worth for the next 4 years, not to mention all the other benefits of being a member. Well now that we were off the shoal we could have had him take us home but we were already half way to our destination and the engine had just came on fine so we thought we were all good. Let's keep going!
How little we really knew.
To Be Continued.....