After weeks of waiting and seemingly endless frustrations as one thing after another hindered our progress, we’ve finally had a couple days of good stuff. Yesterday, I spent many hours in the car… driving to town to do normal errands and to rent a trailer, back to the island to pick up the boat’s cradle, back to town to drop the cradle off at Kingston Marina, then to return the trailer before catching the ferry back home. This went off without a hitch. In fact, I had to stop and buy a hitch before getting the trailer. So, I guess it went on with a hitch.
While at the marina, we saw Curlew
Curlew is a 42′ junk-rigged steel ketch built by John Destair who lived on a neighboring island. Many years ago, Gramps mentioned to John that perhaps Curlew was not getting enough use as she was nearly always (summer and winter) seen at the dock in front of John’s house. Months later, Jenn and I visited Curlew with Gramps and John. She was fairly torn apart as John was in the process of prepping her for sale and the surveyor didn’t like that he’d sealed the lead ballast in with concrete so it wouldn’t fall out if the boat were to ever capsize, but it meant it couldn’t be inspected. After knocking the concrete out with a jackhammer, the keel was found to be absolutely perfect. In spite of the current mess, we kinda fell in love with her. She wasn’t the prettiest, or the fastest, but she was sturdy and sensible, and had been made by hand with lots of love by the man who was showing her to us. For example, all of the corners were rounded, to reduce likelihood of injuries when moving around while being tossed by the seas. John and I talked a few times after that visit. We never got down to talking about money, but about what we thought we might do. At the time, I had no experience at all, little more knowledge than just browsing ads, and no means by which to pay for her. So, the opportunity passed, and so did John, sadly. Yet, Curlew sat at the dock, beckoning every time we’d pass by on the ferry. Until, one day, she was gone. It turns out, she’s on the hard at the marina, sad and alone, waiting for someone willing to scrape the barnacles (or zebra mussels) off her bottom and invest lots of time (and money) in getting her nice again. It was nice to see one of the steps that got us where we are. I do hope someone does see the love there and takes care of her.
Tonight, Ezra and I went out to the boat after I finished up with work. It was a rough work day. One of those days where it seems you break as much as you fix, so making the boat the next thing on the list seemed like potentially a bad idea, given the way other boat things had been going. My plan was to change the oil in the engine and check on as many of the preventative things as I could figure out. The first thing I found was that the tackle that holds the tiller in place when we’re not underway had broken loose. In fact, it looked as if the beating of the recent waves and weather had pulled the screws right out of the tiller. So, I worked to get that put back together. It wasn’t so bad, and it’s working again. But, it does make me wonder what kind of banging was happening to work the screws out.
On to the engine
I started it up, to warm up the oil to make it easier to change. All went well. In fact, better than well. After it ran for a bit, I looked around to see how the leak was, and couldn’t find it! The JB Weld has, in fact, held back the dripping thus far. So, that means it was in the weld somewhere. Hopefully, the mechanic will say this is a good permanent repair. Next, start pumping the oil out. Unlike changing the oil in the car where there’s a drain plug to unscrew and drip everything out into a bucket, I’ve got a vacuum to suck the oil out the dipstick hole. This means no spills, which is very important on the water, and less mess. It also means hours to get it to drain! Imagine sucking thick, black oil through a bicycle brake cable. That’s essentially what the end that goes into the engine is… a flexible metal tube with a plastic shell giving about 1/16″ to pull fluid through.
So, while waiting for the 3 quarts of oil to get sucked out, we organized the stuff that had been pulled out to get to the engine. Woodwork put back in place in the forward hatch. Mooring lines hung carefully in the lockers. Fenders stowed. On and on until, now, we’re ready to sail to Kingston tomorrow. With fresh oil. And an engine that doesn’t leak water or exhaust. Finally, progress!