As I mentioned yesterday, I spent 10 hours on a friend’s boat today bringing it from Roche Harbor, in the San Juan Islands, back to Seattle. My laptop was able to pick up internet, so from time to time I monitored Sans Souci, and even monitored ourselves (using the link I posted on my blog yesterday). It was very strange being able to do that! As all of you may have noticed, Jeff wound up stopping for the night in San Diego. All of the crew, except Jeff, jumped ship on him, leaving Jeff to run the boat alone to Newport Beach. This was not a problem, as Jeff has family in San Diego, and his brother is also a captain, who will help Jeff run the boat north.
Meanwhile, I had a perfect day on a friend’s Nordhavn N55 bringing it south. We had a completely sunny day, with the calmest seas I’ve seen in a long time. For 10 hours, Dean, the N55 owner, Steven, an N62 owner, and myself, talked boats non-stop. Steven’s wife almost came along for the ride, and Steven mentioned about halfway through our run “Carol wouldn’t have liked this. All we’ve done is discussed pumps, marine toilets and motors all day! She made the right decision not to tag along.”
As boat owners will sometimes do, we swapped a lot of stories that usually began with “I remember the time that…”
Steven had a story that was tough to beat. On his way north from the Panama Canal, he was running off Nicaragua with just his wife and himself, in horrible beam seas, and 40 knot winds, when suddenly his stabilizers failed. Discomfort was the least of his problems. That’s the kind of situation that can wreck your whole day.
Quickly, he pointed his nose into the wind, slowed to a crawl, handed the wheel to Carol, and headed for the engine room. As feared, the hydraulic cooling pump had failed. The hydraulic system on his N62 is cooled by a fresh water loop that goes beneath the boat, to a keel cooler. With no pump to circulate the water, the hydraulic fluid overheated, and the hydraulics failed, taking the stabilizers with them. Luckily, he had an extra pump aboard. But, unluckily, he had to replace the pump, which took three hours, in a 135 degree engine room that was bucking in a way that’d do a rodeo horse proud.
This led to a discussion of what we’d do if someone bends a prop, or wraps a net around the prop while crossing the Aleutians. There’s only one answer. When you are in the boondocks, and something breaks, you have to fix it. It’s not like when your car gets a flat tire and you call Triple-A. As ugly as it is, if something goes wrong, it is your problem, and you have to figure a way out. This means that some member of our group has to be prepared, and equipped, to dive in freezing water. Preferably two members.
And.. on a different topic:
After a lot of asking around, I tracked down someone to help us with Siberia. Being able to go into Siberia on our run next summer is critical for both safety and “fun” reasons. By stopping in Siberia, our longest passage between fuel stops is only 1,100 miles, and it adds an element of adventure to the trip, that is part of making the whole trip worthwhile to all of us.
Our Siberia-expert is coming to meet our group tomorrow. When I spoke with him yesterday, he seemed very confident that he’ll have no trouble getting us into Siberia, finding us moorage, getting us fueled, and setting us up to tour the area. Great news!