Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cautions and extractions

I’ll be playing catch up in this posting since I’ve not posted for over a week. Photos and additional comments will be included in the blog  As a reminder, if you follow the blog and want to be taken off the email list, just let us know.

All good plans require occasional revision.  A week ago, we had things perfectly timed for arriving in Jacksonville, FL to spend a night at the dock, do some shopping the next morning, and then on to our new temporary home at Green Cove Springs Marina.  The traveling days would be a comfortable length, the tides would be flowing with us, etc.

Do not become complacent about the width and depths of the waterway.  Do not be distracted by the pretty white birds along the shore.  Do not forget to review and follow your charts.  Do not muse about the forlorn sailboat washed up high and dry. 

(What time is it now, kids?  Its music trivia time!  Name the song, artist and next line: "She used to be somebody's lady")

Do not run soft aground and then compound the error by heading towards the shoal.  Do not call TowboatUS, for you are a cruiser and supposed to be able to handle situations like this all by yourself.  (One of their boats did pass by and never even bothered to check on us.)

Where were we supposed to be?

Do watch the water around you gradually recede.  Do feel and see the boat slowly leaning farther to port until it is heeled about 30 degrees. 

She's just starting to heel.  She goes over much farther and receding water leaves the shoal exposed in front of her.

Do set the kedge anchor in preparation for the high tide later.  Do watch each boat going by and thinking they are so glad they are not you.  Do take advantage of the enforced break to have lunch at the dining table, which requires non-skid for the dishes and a throwable life cushion under one cheek.  Do waste a few hours and upset the perfectly timed schedule waiting for the tide to fill back in and then proceed to kedge off and head a little more cautiously on your way.

We did not make it to Jacksonville on Tuesday.  A very long, slow Wednesday, upwind and against the tide, brought us to just outside the marina.  Sean and Jean came over from the Tampa area Thursday to check out our engine which they were considering buying for their boat.  The deal consummated they returned home.  They would come back later with a trailer to pick up the engine.

“Submit” was hauled and blocked in the work yard late morning Friday.  I began that afternoon and evening disconnecting everything from the engine and transmission in preparation for removal. 

I found his knee.  Where is Reggie?

There he is, sardined into the engine compartment.  At 6'3" and 280 lbs, we may need to use the hoist to extract his size 14's!

I arranged to have an “A” frame and rusty chain hoist positioned over the boat after measuring to see if it could lift the engine and transmission assembly high enough. I should not have been so concerned.  We had a full 3 inches to spare.

Have you really ever tried to thread a camel through the eye of a needle?  This engine was installed in the hull before the top half of the boat was set down over it 43 years ago. 

In theory, it could be extracted if necessary if you had some way to reach into the salon, under the cockpit sole, to raise the engine a couple inches, rotate it to aim it at the offset opening created when the companionway steps are removed, raise everything high enough to clear the salon sole, shift everything about 5 feet forward so it ends up in the salon, hoist it high enough to clear the companionway threshold, use brute strength to move the A frame assembly back 5 feet while it is carrying the engine assembly, to get the engine to pass aft through the companionway suspended in air over the cockpit, roll the chain hoist to one end of the A frame stand, and lower the engine onto Sean’s trailer.  Theoretically.  With a whole 1 inch to spare for width of the opening.

Thank heavens Sean was eager to get his engine and volunteered to assist in its removal.  We took them to lunch to bolster Sean’s courage and strength.  Then, while Jean took Barbara shopping for provisions, the extraction began. 

It fit through that opening, will it fit through this one?

Sean prays and uplifts.

Its out!

You never saw a happier face than Barbara’s when she returned from shopping to find the engine out and being lowered to the trailer.  Thank you, thank you, Sean for your help.  Off to take them to dinner to celebrate!

I want to add a clarification. This sounds like I was sunbathing and shopping while Reggie struggled with the extraction. I forgive him for this, as he truly was engrossed and encased.  I washed clothes for the first time since we left home and shopping was only to provide sustenance and libations for the “strugglers”.  The happy faces were on Sean and Reggie when we drove up and they popped a beer. Provisioning was past due. We had been eating a can of this added to a can for that for the last two days. Getting the new provisions into the boat is a little bigger challenge when she is on the hard.  It reminds me of carrying the grocery sacks up a ladder to put them on a roof, then rappelling with them down into the salon because the steps into the interior are gone.


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  2. Reggie: You are my hero. That's the task I look forward to on my 34. You gave me some ideas. I too have planned on a Kubota through Joe. Good luck and keep the pictures and narrative coming. Want to see some shallow water sailing? Check out this one. Keep turning Left is the on-going chronicle of a guy in a wee boat circumnavigating the English Island. ...Danny