Friday, August 8, 2014

(W)inching Along

Sometimes, the problem is just too vexing, and ya gotta give in and consult the professionals.

Yesterday, we were inching along the western shore of Chesapeake Bay, at the pitiful speed of 2.5 knots, despite using engine-plus-sail (known as motor-sailing).

We thought it was just adverse wind and current holding us back. 'Til I noticed white smoke, raw diesel, and black fluid coming out with the exhaust. And engine temperatures higher than we've ever seen.

We pulled into Zimmerman Marine, a boatyard in the middle of nowhere--just trees and horses--in southern Virginia.
Just as we tied up to the dock, we got an email from Bruce on the sailboat Pearl.

Remember Pearl's crew? They've been featured in this blog a lot. Bruce saved our butt a couple of times--towing the boat when our engine gave out (Nassau); taking the boat for repairs (Florida) while we were home in DC. Not to mention fishing my rug out of the ocean.
Genius-level do-it-yourselfer Bruce suggested our problem might be simple: a dirty bottom and prop creating enough resistance to overheat the engine.

Hmmmmm.....let's check that out with the professionals....Zimmerman's mechanic agreed!  

To haul a sailboat out of the water, most boatyards use straps dangling from a large overhead frame. Here, they winch it out with a large truck. First, they drive a frame with big pads under the boat. The pads are raised on hydraulic lifts until they hug the boat and lift it high enough to clear the ground. 
The whole contraption  is winched onto shore, inch by inch.
Yep, the prop was caked solid with barnacles. Home to a thousand marine critters. Amazing that it turned at all. 
Then the fun started: scrape, scrape, scrape, rest. Scrape, scrape, rinse. Until your arms fall off and you are covered head to toe in mud, algae, and barnacle bits.

Did I mention that Pope and I did the work? This was a do-it-yourself job. The boatyard crew went back to fixing large cabin cruisers and million-dollar yachts while we sweated and scraped, scraped and sweated. Emptied our wallets into the cash register and fled. 

So far, so good. Right out of the boatyard, we sped up to 5
knots--our norm--without overheating. Now to make up for the five hours we went out of our way to get to the boatyard.

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