On the Bright Side
20 February 2012 | Bimini
Heather and Derek/sunny 76F/WNW 10
There is another Prout Snowgoose very close to us! They are Grace, with George and Doris and Miss Alice aboard. George's previous job was fixing everything aboard boats, so hey, his boat looks wonderful! Doris (insists she's retired but looks too young for that) is a nurse. They have been working on their Prout for four years and while Gerge was redoing the plumbing and electrical systems and reconfiguring the galley to accommodate their (ooooooh!) double stainless steel sink (on the Snowgoose this means raising the countertop by a couple of inches and cutting away the upper shelf so the person doing the dishes can see to work). Doris also did all of their Sunbrella work (seafoam green) and upholstering, and redid the interior teak completely, sanding it down and using multiple coats of Epifanes varnish to make it both beatiful and easy to maintain at sea. Sorry, there is just so much cool stuff they have done with their boat... we got to visit with them Saturday, which was GREAT!
Saturday morning we started a move to the anchorage but discovered 1) the holding is pretty awful, there are sandy patches over a rubbly gravel of old dead coral bits and shells, and 2) the port engine (the one where we had been so happy to have wrapped the prop without seeing to do any serious damage?) works in reverse, runs fine, but in forward it spins -- the prop is getting very little actual power. Derek did a bunch of internet and Boat Owner's Mechanical Manual research to discover what was wrong, but we had to retrn to the dock, as there was supposed to be about 20 kts of wind coming and that anchorage is not one in which you would want to drag very far.
You remember in Marathon we just had the starboard engine's transmission replaced and the "dollar an hour" quote about that, and how the port side engine had about as many hours on it? We knew we were living on borrowed time with that portside transmission to start with... but it was doing fine. Somewhere in our crossing (remember the wind was light and very close to "in our face" most of the way) from Marathon to Bimini, we picked up about 40 feet of floating polypropylene line with the portside propeller. when we got here, Derek dove on it and freed it, and found that it wasn't tightly wrapped around the prop, so we'd thought perhaps we caught it just as we were entering Bimini. The port engine certainly still seemed to work. But there were disturbing details: at the fuel dock, the port engine turned out to have used only 2/3 the fuel of the starboard engine for the same run time. in the anchorage while maneuvering, I discovered that with the port engine only in forward, it was exactly the same as if we were drifting with perhaps a tiny bit of forward impetus.
The Hurth/ZF 10M marine transmission uses a "thrust washer" instead of a thrust bearing to transfer power from the engine to the shaft. When that part fails, the clutch usually follows quicky. The repair can be done, but to do it to the tolerances required for long-term goodness would require a 5-ton press for reassembly. So that leaves us for now with one perfectly good starboard engine (which is as much as most boats have, as much as we had last time we came through the Bahamas in Paradox in the early 90s) and "look on the bright side, Derek, we have a perfectly good generator that also has a working reverse gear! How cool is that!" We can use that reverse gear when maneuvering up to a dock. That's something. We'll take care of fixing the portside tranny when we get to Nassau.
Sunday the Graces came by and invited us to their marina's cruiser potluck. What fun! Thank you, George and Doris! And thank you, Paddy and John of New Moon, for the lobsters and the excellent idea!
And here's the latest update....if all goes as planned, we will leave
Bimini tomorrow, travelling more or less in company with at least 5
other boats. We'll cross the banks until just before sunset and anchor
for the night. The next day (Wednesday) we will continue to either
Chub Cay (in the Berry Islands) or New Providence. The final
destination will depend on the wind direction, since we don't want to
be too uncomfortable, but we also have to get to Nassau in time for me
to leave the Bahamas. We have a dock (at the Bahamian Defense Force
base!), through some aquaintances, on the south side of New
Providence, which we've never been to before, so that should be
Yesterday, we hung around the boat in the morning (Grant did some
schoolwork and Heather and I did some minor boat work and cleaning),
and then Grant and I went to the beach in the afternoon. Water was
beautiful and clear, but a lttle on the cold side. The ocean was
rough, though, so Im glad we didn't try to leave yesterday -- one of
the big fishing boats tried to go out and came back in a in hour
because it was too rough! In the evening, we had a pot luck with some
of the other boats, and sat around talking and drinking until about
9:30 or so. Definitely fun :) Came back and watched a movie with Grant
and went to bed....