Thank you Rudy!
05 December 2016
This blog started with a similar picture in the Milwaukee River. The night before we left for the cruise (July 11, 2015) I dropped our 8hp Mercury outboard motor in the drink when taking it off the dinghy. Ken and Missy searched or messy garage and brought Rudy to us. Rudy is our 1964, 3hp Evinrude, purchased from Dennis Evinrude, grand nephew of 'Ole Evinrude, the inventor of the practical outboard motor.
Rudy served us well through Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. When we got to Detroit we bought a used dinghy and motor from Craigslist. I wanted to send Rudy back with the kids who visited us in Michigan. Lisa said, “Let's keep Rudy as a spare, you never know...” We did, Rudy was carefully stowed in the steerage area.
The 15hp Mercury worked well until we noticed some unusual noise in Grenada. It made an occasional banging noise but ran perfectly. We were told Manny, the Carriacou mechanic would be able to fix it. We left the motor with Manny but abruptly sailed for Tobago to avoid Hurricane Matthew. I told Manny we would be in touch and return to Carriacou in about a month. No problem, we had Rudy as a spare.
Rudy ran but not well. The points had corroded. I think the 50+ year old spark plug wires were shorting out too. If the weather was dry, no problem. If wet, we sometimes had to row. Ken Quant brought new points and wires when he and Missy visited us in Barbados. Rudy loved his tune-up. He's such a happy little motor. Starts easily, sounds great and weighs just 28 pounds.
Word from Manny was a broken gear in the lower unit. We had diagnosed the problem to the lower unit before bringing it to Manny. But I didn't have the special tool to take the LU apart. OK, I did make one for the 8hp Merc but left it in Milwaukee. If I brought all my tools, Uproar would sink. The verdict was a new lower unit which would cost about the same as the parts to fix the old one. With some credit card games, we gave Manny the funds to order the LU.
We arrived back in Carriacou about 6 weeks after our hasty departure. The LU still wasn't in hand but was on the way. Sure enough, a week later it showed up. I helped Manny install it to expedite things. Manny was most fair with his labor. I'm sure he spent a lot of time just ordering the part, arranging shipping, customs and communicating with me. But, getting parts to the Caribbean is costly. Bottom like was $1500!
I could have brought the parts in myself and saved some money. Lesson is, DIY! I never have paid anyone to work on my boat. I should have just slogged through the motor repair myself. The work was quite easy replacing the lower unit. Manny did his best but I felt I was not in control of the project which isn't a comfortable place.
Rudy was carefully “moth balled” and stowed back in steerage. The 15 Mercury runs great. I took some local kids for dinghy rides in Anse Cochon yesterday. They were delighted by the fast, planing speeds of our little sport boat.