I have a feeling there will be a lot of blogging as we begin working S/V Andromeda into our lives. There is so much to do, and we are excited to get some things accomplished. But the only project that is creating a sense of time pressure is the big one: the engine. The new baby Beta Marine 60 HP is already ordered and will be delivered to the Port of Astoria in about three weeks. So that means Mike needs to have that engine room ready to receive the engine by then. It also means we have to find a way to get the boat towed over to the boatyard and hauled out. That’s the only piece we have to pay someone else to do that hasn’t yet been contracted.
This weekend we had only one day free to go to Astoria to meet with our new best friend in the world, Shawn The Diesel Mechanic. He wanted to lay eyes on the engine room and take some measurements and Mike wanted his advice about how to get things prepared. We are satisfied that Shawn has years of experience and that he will do the professional ‘hand holding’ Mike wants in terms of being our main support for this project. He comes well recommended and it will be worth it to have someone looking over Mike’s shoulder. He has already recommended that we go ahead and replace the shaft now rather than wait until later. Okay. We can do that.
So Mike was stoked to start pulling the transmission out so we could commence with the cleaning. And now this is where the true ‘boat work’ begins, folks. Because you know very well that boat work is never, ever straight forward work. Those bolts on the shaft coupling would not come off. No movement. I heard groaning, cursing, and the clank of a wrench at the bottom of the bilge. There was a trip to Home Depot for something stronger. But still, no movement of the offending nuts.
Helpless, as usual when faced with a man working in an engine room, I cleaned cabinets that were, frankly, already clean. I threw out things we had no use for. I offered to start on the work bench since there is a ton of stuff there that needs sorting, but Mike gave me a stern warning about that one. “Mine!” he said, a glint of steel in his eye. I sighed and handed him a wrench, distracting him with a recommendation that he remove the bell housing for the transmission so that he would have more room to access the recalcitrant nuts on that coupling.
Mike thought that might work and those bolts did come off easier. But as he pulled the housing toward him, water began to pour in around the shaft. Pulling the housing forward moved the seal out of place. Nope. We are not even going there with a boat that has been ours for only about 24 hours. So he pushed that back in place, stopped the gushing of water into the bilge, and went for one more go at the shaft coupling. Meanwhile I made my fourth trip to the dumpster with an armload of very old and worn out life vests. We had to leave with those bolts still on, winning the day against Mike’s attempts to budge them. But we’ll be back and Mike doesn’t give up that easy.
So I’d like to pause here and give a little product endorsement for something called Zout, which is a stain remover/enzyme presoak/miracle worker product. Had I been thinking, I would have photographed Mike’s clothing as he climbed out of the engine room. Grease stains everywhere, rust stains everywhere. He was one filthy human. Yuck. I had to drive home with that man. I told him to simply hand me his clothing when we got home and I would handle things from there. Zout is, in a word, amazing. I sprayed the heck out of his clothes, really soaked them with the stuff, let them sit in the washer for 15 minutes, then washed them on hot. They are like new! No kidding.
Next weekend we plan to go down on Friday night so we will have all day Saturday and Sunday to get stuff done. We had a trip to Home Depot and to Harbor Freight today to get blades for tools and hand cleaner, and various other small things for that engine room. Like a steam punk squirrel, Mike is gathering his arsenal of tools to wield against the stubborn nuts. They WILL come off. And I will find a project to keep me busy and will generally stay out of the engine room area of the boat.
Today we had an afternoon at the marina in Tacoma so Mike could climb Moonrise’s mast. Why would he do such a thing? Well, blog readers, get this: On the day we signed paperwork for Andromeda, the very day she legally became our boat, things starting picking up in terms of interest for Moonrise. There is a nice couple who is very interested in her, and another person waiting next in line should that sale not work out. Someone who looked at her while she was listed at the broker in Olympia called to see if she was still listed and was given our contact information. I tell you, it was positively uncanny.
So Mike wanted to climb the mast to check the spreaders since he hasn’t been up there in awhile and you know how he loves to wear that climbing harness. The spreaders actually looked great and climbing the mast gave him an opportunity to clean them off. What we thought looked like a need for a paint job turned out to just be algae that came off with a quick wipe of a cloth. They look really good now and he’s satisfied that they pass muster.
So Moonrise is totally ready for new owners, and we’re totally ready to get back down to Astoria and address that engine room! Bring it on!