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Monday, 3 February 2014

A Season Past

So it's been almost a full season of boating since we last up dated. So much has happened. So many  expectations have been met, and some not so much.

Firstly, an update on our engines. We went out almost every weekend of the summer, through labour day. Every one of those weekends saw some sort of mechanical problem. Most of it was the engine stalling. In late August, I got to poking around the engine myself. I know about as much about diesel engines, as politicians know about modesty. None the less, I can read an owners manual, and have been known to poke around the Internet from time to time. What I discovered is that most diesel problems are a result of bad gas. Unfortunately, I discovered this after the marina switched out the fuel pump ($400), rebuilt the injectors ($1400) and tinkered with the boat for over 3 months.

Cedar Springs - Beausoleil Island
We replaced the fuel we started the season with, and added some Seafoam to help clean out any remaining residue. Almost instantly, we made progress. We headed out to Cedar Springs, relatively even free. Once we arrived at Cedar Springs, we positioned for anchoring, and stalled only once. Still once too many! Through the weekend, I continued to tinker, and discovered how to adjust the idol. I realised the limiter screw was loose, and tightened it up. We headed back to port, hopeful we had found the issue. We managed to go start to finish without a stall, for the first time all summer! However, we did have an engine warning light come on, just to ensure we didn't get complacent! After topping up the oil, we finished the trip.

Next weekend, we headed back out to Cedar Springs for Labour Day Weekend. The trip out was relatively calm, in spite of miserable weather. The engine coughed a couple of times, but no stalls. Starting to feel good!

We enjoyed a nice weekend with my in-laws. Leanne's parents, spent the summer deeply concerned about the safety of journeying out with us novices. Not being overly comfortable on water, it took us a full summer to convince them to visit. Once out on the water we enjoyed relaxing times on the boat, anchored closer to shore than we'd managed all summer. Sunday morning, we decided to head home, to prepare my son for his last year of high school.

The engine started, and we headed out. We managed to get the anchor up with little hassle, and less weed than we had encountered all summer. Out through the narrow channel entrance, and toward Penetang, we motored due to light wind. A quarter of the way back, another warning light. We had already discovered a leaking oil gasket, and assumed the warning light to be the oil indicator. On further investigation, I came to realise it was the temp light. Naturally, I assumed it was the impeller. Two weeks prior, we asked the marina to replace it. They took the impeller out, checked it, and put it back in, claiming it was fine, charging us $165.

I made a quick call to said marina, and believe a choice word or two MAY have slipped out. We put the jib up and used what ever wind we could muster, to keep our momentum, as I shut down the engine. We continued at a snails pace, but were moving toward our destination. As we crossed to main channel from Midland, to open water, and started into Penetang bay, the wind died. We may have still gotten in but I'm not sure my son would have gotten to school before the end of the first semester. As we needed a new plan, I recalled a conversation I had with our first boating friend, Cam, of Las Breezas, several weeks prior.

Cam had an impeller problem in mid July, and described to us how he was able to lash his dinghy to the side of the boat, using it to power home. I'd never done such a thing, but "lashed" was such a descriptive word, I was certain I could figure it out. We tied the boat on, forward, aft, spring lines each way, and started the outboard. I left my son man the dinghy, as I climbed back to safety aboard Tranquilo. As we picked up speed, I considered the possibility we might make it back. Suddenly we were at 5 knots!! Then we entered the inner harbour.

If you have ever been in the inner harbour of Penetang bay, on a weekend, you know it's a busy place. Factor in that it's a long, narrow harbour, being in a dinghy, lashed to the side of a 12 ton sailboat, isn't such a great place to be. What's more, I made a slight miscalculation in lashing the dinghy to the port side. It would be first to shoulder the large wakes of the many oncoming power cruisers. First there was a 35' Carver, heading past us, toward open water, as though there was a fire. The dinghy bounced, popped, nearly slid under Tranquilo, followed by a few more choice words. I issued a SECUITY that we were coming in with engine problems, dinghy lashed... many listened, and slowed right down. My already anxious son used more choice words, with others. My in-laws sat quietly, and Leanne expressed her feelings about two screaming maniacs, yelling like soccer fans! The conversations peaked with each of Leanne and Daeyten pledging that their "boating days are done", just before we entered the marina, sat beside the entrance, concerned for our safety.

For the first time in several weeks, I decided to captain this docking myself, and managed to secure into our slip, flawlessly. Even my mother-in-law said she was impressed. Not sure if she was impressed by my docking skills, or the fact Leanne didn't strangle us both! I felt it best not to ask.

We did what we've learnt best this summer, and toasted to another event filled trip in which we learnt, panicked, learnt more, and survived. Eventually, we each calmed down, and collectively decided none of us are giving up that easy! Then we did the only logical thing, popped a beverage, and relaxed in the sun.