In case you noticed, I skipped posting last week. File this one under ‘be careful what you wish for, especially if you put it in writing on the interwebs’. If you’ll recall, at the end of our last post, I said that we ‘seriously need a break from this 3 hour drive to Astoria every weekend’. I had in mind that we would get that break because Mike’s sister, Molly, was coming to visit and we would be spending a week showing her the finer points of the Pacific Northwest. The gods, however, had other plans for us.
Mike had a fever and chills by the time we left Astoria two weeks ago, and then on Tuesday of that week, the very day Molly landed at Sea Tac Airport, I came down with the fever and what we’ve come to term ‘the sleeping sickness’. With this particular virus, from which we are both still recovering, sleeping for a good 12 hours per night seems to be the order of things. That and, in my case, maintaining a nice ‘fever on my head’. Just enough to keep my mind in a muddle and make me a really super hostess. So yeah, we got our break. And I was too busy sleeping to post to the blog. Thanks, gods of illness. We’ll be more careful with our invocations next time.
Still, we did manage one trip down to Astoria last Monday to meet with our new exhaust man, Caleb Michalsky. Caleb understood the situation and we talked exhaust elbow heights and all that jazz. What really helped me sleep more soundly for those 12 hours per night, however, was that I was able to measure the exact height differential from the sole of the boat to the exhaust going out of the boat and Caleb was able to translate this measurement in the engine room at the water line and use this calculation to design the new elbow. I felt better already, and so did Mike. If the boat were in Tacoma where we could just run down there and fit and refit things easily, we’d maybe have been more likely to take on this project ourselves. But as it is, with a three hour drive just to see if something fits, it just doesn’t make sense for us to try to do this ourselves. So we want Caleb to do it for us.
This weekend he came down to the boat and showed us what he has so far and it all makes sense and looks like good work. He was able to use the flange part of the elbow we bought from Beta Marine so that the new piece fits exactly the way the factory piece fit. He should be able to complete this job fairly quickly and then we’ll get Shawn back down to get the engine back in alignment. It can’t happen fast enough for us. Not being satisfied with only one good mechanic, we now have two.
You’ll remember that we were having a bit of trouble fitting the steering pedestal, with its new throttle and transmission cables and new levers, back together. This whole project has created an opportunity for serious contemplation of the meaning of life and what it must be like to be the great Creator of all. I mean, have you ever tried to finagle something this complicated, where each piece is machined with the precision of a southern marching band and one small detail overlooked simply destroys the entire design? It’s flipping ridiculous. We’ve put this thing together at least 12 times and it’s still not right. I need to be able to literally stand in the center of this whole thing and see how each piece interacts with each other piece, and how those pieces interact with all the pieces that surround them both inside and outside the pedestal. It’s taken us this many tries, we still have it wrong, and they tell me that the Creator made the heavens and earth and all His minions in SEVEN days? I think not, people. I seriously think not. Not without a crap ton of mistakes.
We were so close to victory we could smell it. We had the compass back in place, we had adjusted the cables to within millimeters of their lives, we had removed everything one more time because we realized that the stainless steel pedestal guard would not clear the hard dodger unless we installed it into the top plate BEFORE we screwed everything down again.
We had rewired the electronics through the holes Mike had drilled. It all went together like a dream and our hearts began to beat in time with one another, the sweet taste of success just that close to our very lips. Then we played with the new shiny levers, so smooth, so perfect. So. Completely. Wrong.
That’s right. So wrong. Because when you put the beast into forward gear, the lever hits the pedestal guard. You can’t get the thing out of neutral. When you rev the engine on the other side, you can get the lever to go only a little better than halfway before it hits the binnacle. Curses all around, folks. Many, many curses.
Mike went below to think about this. I stayed in the cockpit cursing Edson for making things that look like they will fit together, but don’t. Maybe the new top plates (remember the thing we saved 100$ by recycling) extend the pedestal guard out further from the pedestal. But then, of course, that would mean the pedestal guard we have wouldn’t fit, and we’d have to drill additional holes in the floor of the cockpit. Oy vey. Maybe, I think, we could have pieces welded onto the top plate that would push the guard forward a bit. We’d still have to drill new holes but that would be one solution. Or maybe it’s a simple fix by changing the cables somehow. Hope springs ever eternally.
At the end of the day, Mike read in the Edson manual under ‘troubleshooting’ (ya think?) that adjusting the cables could solve this problem. So we took the beast apart again and did all the adjusting we could possibly do. We are not at all sure that it’s enough, and we won’t know until the engine is ready to fire up again. Mike was thinking Edson would, perhaps, make extensions to bring the handles out a couple of inches. Nope. Nada. (That would just make way too much sense, wouldn’t it?) Then he read that others have had this problem and they have put the things in a vice and taken the bend out of them. But you have to be careful not to break them. So that’s where we’re at. Not a total loss by any means, but not the sweet, sweet victory we had anticipated. That will teach us humility.
In other news, being sick and tired of paying a dog sitter, we took the Skippy dog with us this weekend and he rocked it! Getting him down into the boat is an issue, as he doesn’t care to be lifted. It scares him a bit looking down into the salon from the cockpit. But he has already discovered he can jump off the boat onto the dock (not necessarily a good thing but he’s such an anxious sort that we were heartened by this) and he has found his way around the deck and had some good cockpit sleeps already. Maybe he’ll turn into an okay boat dog on this bigger boat. He slept in our cabin on the floor and was really a good boy.
We are seriously looking forward to having S/V Nameless in Tacoma where we can be closer to her and learn her in the protected and well-known waters of Puget Sound. Yes, she remains nameless, although we think perhaps we’ll name her after our first Australian Shepherd. Still, I’m not completely satisfied with that. It feels a bit like a ‘default’ name. We’ve knocked around some names I like better but I guess there is no hurry. Except that I think she is waiting.
Here’s Skippy’s story in photos because he has a very expressive face offering a number of decent photo ops and some good comic relief: