Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Used and abused.

Kintala was on the mooring ball in Dinner Key for 59 days. For 40 odd of those days I was back on land doing that thing. A couple of days ago we managed to get The Floating Bear to her summer berth then Deb and I returned to Kintala.

The other morning we woke up a bit early, just the two of us again. There was a low pressure area winding up off the coast of FL which eventually became Tropical Depression number one of the 2014 season (and is forecast to become a hurricane). Tired of facing relentless thunderstorms in the exposed mooring field, we decided to move to No Name Harbor for a few days. It took a while to get the boat ready for being underway again, even if it was a short way. But at 1105 the mooring ball fell astern and Kintala coasted at an easy pace through the marina and out the main channel. It felt good to be at her helm once again. At 1125, still in the exit channel, I noticed the engine temperature touching 200 degrees.

Of course; this is still Kintala and me. Just because we have nearly 2,000 nm under the keel and months of traveling together, doesn't mean we actually get along any better. But I had half expected something to go wrong with the dog and knew the wind would be okay for the direction we needed to go. With the head sail rolled out for the first time in months we settled into a 3 knot deep reach. Which wasn't too bad considering the winds were light, we were dragging a 12 foot dink, and sailing on a fouled bottom. (Another reason for going to No Name was to have a couple of days to get some work started.) Keeping an eye on the sky we ghosted up to the inlet, rolled up the sail, and started the engine just long enough to get inside and plant the hook.

Though it would be fine to spend a little time here, it appears we need to get a move on to Cooley's landing.  Daughter Eldest had a chance to talk with a true-to-life boat mechanic. (Apparently there are such in the world somewhere.) He looked over their boat and confirmed what I had deeply suspected; that the Bear is in much poorer shape than advertised.

Not really a surprise. Every person I know who has bought a "good old boat" discovered rather quickly that it was a piece of junk in need of serious work and a massive inflow of money. The common number seems to be spending a third to a half of the purchase price to get the boat safe and workable. A number that, even after nearly 8 years of being around this business, still astounds me. Imagine buying a used car for $10,000, leaving the lot and getting a few blocks before it stopped running, then discovering it will take $3 - $5,000 MORE to get it home.

In the marine industry that is considered a good deal.

Honestly, sometimes I wonder how they get away with it, or why any of us put up with this larceny.

But it is what it is. The Bear needs the mast step repaired, the rudder removed and the entire steering system rebuilt, and parts of the floor replaced. She also needs new batteries and electrical work. And here's the thing (just to repeat myself) the true-to-life boat mechanic considered all of this to be a rather AVERAGE list of worked needed on a boat that was "ready to go" when sold just a few months ago.

Kintala is also in need of some work. Of course I have to figure out what's wrong with the engine (this time) before heading outside to Ft. Lauderdale. Once on her own dock the biggest job needing done is repairing a soft spot in the deck. This spot apparently has every insurance company in the world frightened like little children, something we discovered while trying to find insurance for being in the way of hurricanes this year. Of course these companies insure these pieces of junk, so maybe their attitude is understandable after all?  In just the time we have been in Dinner Key two boats have burned, one has sunk, and one chopped a "good Samaritan" to pieces just outside of No Name.  (He was trying to push them off the sandbar that the Captain had managed to run onto in spite of a full suite of first class navigation gear.)  Maybe nobody makes any money in this business.

In any case the life of anchoring out and wondering around will be put on hold for a few months. The family is in full  "huddle" mode, working together to figure out how to get the boats squared away. It is as much a part of the cruising life as heading for the Islands or sharing sun downers with new friends.  Eventually this too will pass and become part of the family lore.

But I am feeling used a abused at the moment.

1 comment:

Rharriscpa said...

TJ, could the overheating in your boat just be barnacles on the intake grate from having been at anchor. They seem to like the flow thru the grating. I am sure you checked the groco and it was clean so my guess it's just poor water flow. How was it coming out? Glad to see you are on the move. I k now better than to believe you believe boat ads. Those are written by people who can't get their fiction books published.

How many times did I travel all over the east coast to look at perfect boats that took me 2 minutes to dismiss. Glad I found Soleil. So far no expensive surprises. Just me wanting her as close to perfect as I can get her. Not sure that's attainable either.