We trundled down to Astoria again this weekend with big plans to accomplish ‘stuff’. Seems like we always have big plans. I think the problem is that in our heads, things are very simple. Just do this, then this, and then THAT will happen and voila! Finis! Probably it’s a good thing that we have the simple minds of children in this way. We’ve accomplished a lot in our lives by being either ignorant or innocent or both.
In theory we should have been able to pick up the special piece of exhaust pipe we are allegedly having made and we should have been able, then, to install said piece, after which our mechanic could come back and get the engine aligned again. In addition, lest you forget, we’d left the top plate the compass rests on soaking in Kroil Penetrating Oil all week, hoping to get it to let go its death grip on the stainless steel pedestal guard.
When we walked down to the boat, we noticed a very cute little wooden sailboat in the first guest slip. Adorable! And there was a nice looking Hunter docked just across from us. Usually we are the only sailboat on our dock. We got to visit with the owners of both boats, sitting in the cockpit of our S/V Nameless One. It was a first for us, and reminded us why we are going to like being aboard more often once we are further along with the refit. Our cockpit is big enough for visitors, and that hard dodger protects everyone from the rain. Lovely! I admit to being just a wee bit envious of Tom and Mary on their big 1990’s Hunter, though. They spent their time relaxing in their cockpit while we worked on our growing list of projects. Oh well, we chose our poison. So be it.
Our best laid plans began to unravel when we went below and noticed that the special piece of wire, the one the exhaust system artiste was supposed to pick up so there could be a custom piece machined, was still on the table. Okay. So the person never followed through this week, in spite of Mike’s two phone calls. I could have been irritated by that, but I chose instead to be relieved.
Yes, that is correct. I was very relieved. Why? Because I’m still not convinced that the piece is going to solve the problem. I’m not convinced that the loop is actually high enough for our boat. I could just see us getting the piece made, and then having the same issue because it wasn’t tall enough. Talk about nightmares. An anonymous reader commented on our post when we first found out that it was the exhaust loop that looked to be the problem and we took his/her comment seriously. The comment echoed my own concern that if the problem was that the loop was too low, then the higher the better and we do have plenty of room in the engine room. Thanks, anonymous, for giving voice to my worry that we still didn’t have it right and why.
So I emailed the owners of a sister ship to ours, S/V Black Swan, on the east coast. I asked them to email me a photo of their exhaust loop and low and behold theirs is mighty tall. It goes almost all the way to the ceiling of the engine room. I know they have a different engine than ours, but their boat is the same, the cooling water exits their boat the same place ours does, and their exhaust loop is much higher than the one we were supposed to be getting (not to mention it’s about 5 times higher than the ‘tall’ loop we bought from Beta Marine).
I’ve learned over the years that even though I don’t know as much about boat systems as Mike does, when I have a gut feeling about things, I should speak up. Sometimes I am wrong and I just need more information to understand correctly. But sometimes I am right and it’s better to know this before something goes wrong than for me to be saying, ‘Damn! I should have said something.’ after the fact. I hate when that happens. I’m pretty sure that I’m in good company with many women who sail with men who know more than they do about boats. It’s pretty easy for us to keep our mouths shut. In fact, it’s much easier that way sometimes. But we have to learn to speak up, even if our questions might sometimes feel foolish.
So I was relieved that this piece of wire was still on the counter and Mike and I talked about my concerns. Turns out he wasn’t so sure about it either after reading the helpful comments and after seeing the photo of Black Swan’s set up. So we’re thinking we will get someone who specializes in exhaust systems to consult with us about this. We just want a fourth pair of eyeballs to look at this thing because we love this engine with all of our wallet and want it to be right. If they look at it and agree that the piece of wire represents a shape and size that should solve the problem, then groovy. But if not, we will be glad we had another opinion before spending the money on this custom part.
So I’m not sure if this is a good thing, (because I don’t really need anything else that can keep me up at night), but last night I had trouble falling asleep because I was going over that exhaust system in my head and asking myself why we needed to pay someone to make something that it sounded like we might be able to make ourselves. That, my friends, is a slippery slope I’m not sure I want to go down yet. When I mentioned it to Mike this morning turns out he was thinking the same thing. It’s probably good to think that way, but it’s also good to know when your money is better spent paying someone to make something for you because it’s what they do all the time. I’m pretty sure this is one of those times. But we shall see.
So Mike turned his attention to that piece of seized up metal. After a lot of this:
A ton of this:
Then more fire until it was almost red hot, then dashing cold water on it, then more whanging, he finally got this:
That’s 100$ saved. I love it. Really, all other seized metal on this boat should be on notice. Mike WILL have his way with you. He will not give up. You WILL do as he says. He beat the transmission into submission, he wheedled the propeller into letting go, and he will beat the pants off of you, too, so you may as well put your hands up now.
He cleaned the piece up with the dremel, then I had the easy job of painting it to look new. He used Flitz to clean up the stainless steel guard and I was surprised as how well it looked. We’ll do a photo when everything is put back together.
By the time the metal gave up the ghost, Mike was looking pretty green around the gills and, feeling his forehead with my medically accurate mother’s hand, I noticed he had a fever. He was feeling pretty awful and took to his bunk early.
Today, he felt no better and, in addition, it was pouring cold rain and the occasional hail; not exactly the kind of weather a sick person needs to be working in. Or anyone, really. Just say ‘no’ to working in hail. We puttered around inside the boat doing nothing, then decided to call it a weekend and hit the road so he could get home and to bed. Sometimes you just have to listen to the body and give it what it wants.
We seriously need a break from this 3 hour drive to Astoria every weekend and this week we’ll get one. Mike’s sister is coming for a visit, Andrew is coming home for the weekend, and we are going to step away from the boat issues for a few days and catch our breath. We are more than ready to have this boat up in Foss Harbor Marina where we can work on her more often, and just hang out on her more often. But she has to be able to safely make the trip up the Washington Coast for that to happen. So onward to Astoria until this engine and transmission refit is finished.