One step forward, two steps back.

As we continue our preparations for leaving next month there are many deadlines that are closing in and too few free days to devote to all of them.

On 9/18/11 we cast off from LGYC and headed upriver to Goose Pond Marina. Our good friends and veteran loopers Ken and Darcy Searl were onboard to assist. The distance to Goose Pond is only about 20 miles and it was trouble free. We tied up at the marina and headed out to dinner. Oh, we had left a car here earlier this morning for this purpose. A nice meal at Ruby Tuesday’s. It has been more than 10 years since we have been in one of these and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality product and service in Scottsboro, AL. We will remember this on the Loop.

We erroneously thought we were to be the first boat hauled out and serviced the next morning by Angler Marine. As it turned out we were third, waiting until about 1 pm CST. A long boring wait. Patience is not one of my virtues but I will have to learn.

They pressure washed the bottom to remove the scum. The hull was in miraculously fine shape and it turns out the bottom is slate blue. I thought it was black. Well, it certainly looked black in the water.

We added zincs to both rudders. Zincs are sacrificial anodes that electrolysis eats away instead of destroying your shafts, props and rudders. Now don’t ask me how this mysterious electrolysis knows to attack the zinc first because that is something left to a chemist. Anyway we needed to add these. The shafts, trim tabs and hull already had sufficient protection. You cannot put zincs on the propellers as it would throw them out of balance like a tire. Our props are 22 inches with a 22 pitch and there is a left and right hand to them so the boat tracks straight. I may be getting overly technical but many who read this have no idea about such things.

Finally we drilled a two inch hole in the bottom of the boat! Sounds kind of counterproductive doesn’t it? You see we were installing a thru-hull transducer called a Garmin Intelliducer. This will tell us the depth and water temperature. We already had one but a backup is good to have when you are in unknown skinny waters, plus this one will display directly on our chartplotter while underway. I set one to give the actual water depth and the other to give the depth below the lowest point on the boat which is the props.

Then we discovered that the boat had to stay out of the water overnight and we were not prepared for this. Ken and Darcy needed to drive home to GA and we had no wheels. Jim, the marina manager came to our rescue with a courtesy car. A word about courtesy cars here. Many marinas have them available for short trips to the store and usually they are pretty ragged out with parts falling off. This is to be expected as beggars can’t be choosers. Ours was a Buick La Sabre and in fairly decent shape. The best thing was it is free. One is expected to replace the fuel used of course. 

After a night at the Key West Inn and a meal at Buena Vista Mexican we returned to the marina and Angler Marine Repair was ready to splash the boat. Mr Joe King operated his own sling lift and we were off. 

Unfortunately after several miles of travel I went to check the new Intelliducer for leaks and the boat was taking on water, several gallons of it. The key element to dealing with situations on a boat is never to panic. Jan was at the helm on the flybridge and I began dealing with the water. A water vac was used. Now, the boat has 10 bilge pumps. The previous owner had doubled the number when the boat was built and though I thought this was excessive at the time of purchase, I quickly began to appreciate his foresight. 

As it turned out the hole we drilled was not leaking. Water was actually seeping in through two places in the transom (rear of boat) and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. My best guess is that the pressure washing had dislodged some sealant around one of the many bolts that penetrate the hull. It could be the swim platform brackets, the trim tabs or the most likely suspect is the bracket that holds a large zinc, dead center in the back. I say that because that is exactly where water is coming in. This is not uncommon after a pressure washing but irritating nonetheless. 

I made a decision to continue back to LGYC as there appeared to be no danger of sinking. We had plans for a sweet little girl’s third birthday and no mere leak was going to stop us. We stopped by Angler in the vehicle on our way home and apprised them of the problem. We will return and haul out the boat next Tuesday to attempt repairs. I pray it is simple but know it will be costly. That is where the acronym B.O.A.T. comes from. Break Out Another Thousand. 🙂 

Before leaving Cbay we made arrangements with our dock neighbor, Don Stoud, to check periodically on the leakage. I rigged a sump pump up just in case and he can plug it in if he deems it necessary. Better to find a leak now than in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.