Thursday, June 26, 2014

North ... sort of

Floating Bear (still Obsession till the official name change) dropped her Dinner Key mooring ball this morning and headed for a place north, sporting a full crew of Daughter Eldest and Family, plus Grampy T. (That would be me.) It was the first time the boat has moved with the intent of ending the day someplace else, and the first time she had been sailed by her new owners. It was also the first time her new owners had sailed anything, which is why Grampy T was tagging along.

What little wind troubled the surface waters was blowing directly out of the direction we needed to go. Brian set the little 13 HP Volvo to a friendly sounding RPM and we set off at a sedate 4.2 knots. It kind of reminded me of little Nomad, though a US 30 is a much sleeker looking boat than is the ComPac 27.
I think Julian may never forgive me for posting this pic...

Once clearing the channel we took up a heading toward the Rickenbacker Causeway, an imposing looking structure that spans Biscayne Bay from Coral Gables to Virginia Key. As we closed in on the bit boats go under, a really nice looking Mini-Mega-Yacht pulled up behind us. We moved to starboard to let him by, but the Captain waved us on from the flying bridge, which looked to be nearly as far off the water as the top of Floating Bear's mast. Once clear the Yacht turned off the ICW heading toward what looked like a Mega Yacht landing zone, Rickenbacker Marina maybe? As he pulled away he shouted out that he didn't see any water coming out our exhaust. I took a quick glance at the temp gauge. Yikes! He was right.

Brian pulled the throttle back to idle while I scrambled forward to drop the hook. There was plenty of space and not much traffic. We coasted to a stop a couple of hundred feet from the Green 67 marker, grabbed a piece of the bottom and put the Volvo to sleep before it could hurt itself. It seemed to me that, years ago on one of our first attempts at sailing Nomad, something similar happened. Hot engine, drop a hook, figure it out. Of course this time was on Biscayne Bay instead of Lake Carlyle.

We have a Tow Boat US Gold card, and we talked about giving them a call. But I consider them an emergency service, someone you call when the boat is at risk. The sun was shining, the boat was floating, and the wind was picking up just a little. Hardly an emergency. We picked up the hook, spun out the head sail, eased our way back under the bridge, and headed for Dinner Key. After a bit we added the main, trundled along to a spot outside the mooring field where we could drop the hook, rolled up the head sail, spun up into the wind, booting the anchor off the deck, and dropped the main.

Sailing onto the hook after the engine packed it in. Pretty much any thoughts of seriously considering a trawler died right there. Deb dinked out to meet us with some gear so Brian could dive on the boat and see if the inlet was clogged. It didn't appear to be. After some more discussion of calling for a tow we decided to try for the mooring field. We motored up to the channel inlet markers, spun out the jib once more as we turned the corner, rested the hot motor and sailed down the channel. At the marina inlet the sail came in, the motor came on for one more short stretch to the ball, Deb handed the line up from the dink, and Floating Bear was back where she started.

All we could find wrong was what appeared to be a kinked line between the water pump and the engine block. Water flowed from the through-hull to the impeller. The impeller looked brand new. We changed the line and ran the engine for a while with the temps never going above 150. I'm not very confident that we found the problem, but we are going to give it another try in the morning anyway.

After all, what's the worst that can happen? Sail off the hook, have a pleasant downhill run back to the Key, sail onto the hook, poke around, sail down the channel, pick up a mooring, get a cold one? That's actually a pretty good day ...

... and lets see a trawler do that.


Rodger McManus said...


Keep on truckin Brother!! Your paving the way for us as we inch closer and closer to our launch.

All your discoveries are the source of our discussions over morning coffee. It's like you and Deb are our ongoing interactive reality show, only this one is void of commercials, drama, idiotic 20 something's and the Bleep's on TV.

Can't wait to hear of where you settle in to ride out the storm season.

Rodger McManus said...

My apologies Ann! Sitting here reading this over with friends.. As you can guess... Her name is ... *blush*