Finally back in Osprey. I will stay for at least two months. The trip from Charleston was not without excitement. Just past the Ben Sawyer Bridge the alternator blew a fuse. I pulled into Isle of Palms and fixed that.
We stayed for the night just to watch the mayhem in the marina. Boats, people, standing surfers, everything going on at once. Saw three people get in a canoe, get half way across the harbor and decide to each turn around and go the other way. Each one turned in their seat, as they started I said “Oh boy! they’re gonna flip” and they did. (Everyone safe).
Next day we started out again only to blow another fuse. I anchored for a bit, tried another fuse with the same result. The battery was pretty well charged so we went on to Georgetown. Charged the battery again over night and made it to Osprey.
Yesterday I ripped the alternator apart and found a busted brush holder. I had an old alternator on the boat so I took the brush holder from that and put it in the known good alternator. The fuse doesn’t blow anymore, the voltage reads 12.5+VDC. I changed the oil and the transmission fluid, engine sounds real good.
All in all on this trip I installed a new battery, rebuilt the injectors, new transmission, rebuilt alternator, starter removed and tested, new larger hot wire to the starter, adjusted the valves.
This trip everything went bad, but now all that is in good condition and I can concentrate on the rest of the boat.
Everything is back up and running. If you need heavy work done in this area go to Marine Tech (Hilton Head). Not the cheapest, but they get the job done and know what they are doing. And that is the cheapest in the long run.
Yesterday Ro and I went outside from Port Royal to Charleston. This was a 14 hour trip that was frazzling at the end. The beautiful day was almost wrecked by the darkness of the night. Coming into Charleston harbor in a pitch black night was not fun. Low winds all the way….until I tried to anchor in the commercial anchorage near the entrance. Then it started blowing…..until I set my anchor at the public anchorage near City Marina, then it died again. Someone was telling me where to anchor. I didn’t have any course laid to the City Marina so I had to get one fast. Ro took the helm and I charted the course. Got it done but you can see the “glitch” in the track
The techs came to install the damper plate in the transmission. Although the plate was crap it wasn’t the whole problem. The transmission was cooked. After all that I need a new transmission, too. Well, they took my old one with them and started hunting for a new one. I did, too. I wanted to know the real price before hearing it from them. Found lots of “used but not tested” units for about $500. These were taken off of dead motors and sold as is. Nope, not for me. Reconditioned about $1800, maybe. New $2000 – $2200.
The mechanic called me back to let me know he was still looking but had a price of $2400, he thought it was too high (duh). I told him what I found and he said he’d keep trying. Called back later and said he has a NEW transmission for $1800, being drop shipped from the factory. It should be here Thursday. Believe it or not with the fast work they did getting the old one out, and knowing they can get the new one in and set up in the same or less time, the original quote will only be off by a few hundred. Still hurts, but I can rationalize anything.
Well, I have a verdict and it ain’t pretty, broken damper in the transmission. Estimate >$1500, I think it will be >$3000. Don’t need to pull the engine but it does need to go forward a couple of inches to get the transmission out. With the wait for parts and the availability of the mechanic I am glad I decided to pay for a month here. After all is said and done I will have a good transmission, new filters, a new battery and cables, a new battery charger, reconditioned fuel injectors, and a very well tested starter.
Just got the “Official” estimate, I was closer.
So far I have: Reconditioned the injectors. Replaced the battery. Replaced the 4 gauge power wire to the starter with a 2 gauge. Taken the starter out to a local motor place and had it tested (good). Replaced the filters. Now in addition to not spinning fast enough it is making a grinding noise that sounds expensive. Monday I am having a Westerbeke trained engineer take a look.
This “mildly expensive inconvenience.” could become very costly.
Departed from Thunderbolt, Savannah Bend Marina at 7:44 this morning and tucked in behind a tug barge combo through the Elba and Fields Cuts, if he can make it I can, and did. Beautiful day all the way into Port Royal, SC, Sound. Not a care in the world. Then about 1/2 mile from the Port Royal Bridge my engine died. Tried to restart and the battery was dead. Chucked an anchor out and called Boats US. The Port Royal Marina was my destination and it is just the other side of the bridge. Boats US was there in a shot and I was towed into the dock. I sit here now and tomorrow I figure out what is wrong with the engine. Probably a dead battery. Anyway, I signed on for three nights (buy two get one free) and Ro will drive down tomorrow from Surfside Beach. Some disasters can be lived with.
I finally made a trip out in the ocean from Fernandina, Fl to Savanna (Thunderbolt), GA. A really nice passage, wind 8-10 knts, 3-6′ seas. Traveled with two other boats, Latitude & Valkyrie, both headed for Morehead City. The most unnerving part was the entrance to Wassaw Sound.
Chart of Wassaw Sound entrence. Depths in feet.
The sun went down just as I hit the outer marker. The three red Markers 4,6, & 8 are positioned by the CG to show the current channel, #6 is missing (At least I couldn’t find it ). But I followed the charted depths and, since I hit the outer marker at high tide I had at least 6′ under my keel at all times. I did see breakers about 200 yards to starboard just as twilight died. Once into the sound I was bucking the full flow of the outgoing tide, move the bow 1 inch and the current tried to turn the boat around. Next came trying to find a dock at 1AM. Thunderbolt was full, as was Morning Star. I didn’t know the layout at Savannah Bend, but Hinkly’s had a beautiful floating dock with nobody on it. Tried to point down river, but the current wouldn’t give me none of that. Came in pointing into the current and slid right up to the dock, jumped off and grabbed the stern line, DUMMY! The bow took off and I just made it back on board. Got it under control again, slid up to the dock again, jumped off, grabbed the bow line and everything was good.
All in all a good first solo in the ocean, had the sails up for a while. I was more concerned about getting there then sailing, and the wind was dead in my face for half the journey. A great sailor I ain’t but I know my limits. I did learn some today and will go out again in a day or two, destination… Charleston.
Rain, Rain, and more rain all day Thursday and it has continued into Friday and probably into Saturday. Sunday promises to be beautiful with 8knt winds, sun, and 3′ seas on the ocean. I will be going outside to Wassaw Sound, taking a 4 day inside passage and reducing it to one 17 hour trip. I have done trips this long before and it should not be a problem. But I will rig the lifelines and put on my life preserver all the way. If it gets too cold I have my heavy duty cold weather jacket that has a built in floatation device.
It is raining again, and the wind is blowing. Good day to stay inside.
I departed Loggerhead Marina in Daytona Beach on April 1st, from there changes happened. Night one I stayed in St. Augustine, night two I was in Jacksonville. Both one night stays, got in about 4PM, left at sunup.
Blue Heron fishing from the dock at Arlington Marina, Jacksonville, Florida.
Those trips were uneventful. Yesterday I sailed down the St. John river from Arlington Marina in the most perfect morning ever. About 65° and not a breath of air. Passed tugs at work and crabbers tending their pots.
“Crabber on the St. John River”
Then I turned up the ICW at Sisters Creek. After 2 hours of unlimited depth and room I was confined to 200 yard wide, 6-9′ depths. Did well enough, never touched bottom, until Nassau Sound. I saw unlimited room and depth, a straight shot across the sound to the channel…..NOT!. The well marked channel was not there, to get across you have to go east for about 1000 yards then cut. Found that out the hard way. Went aground and it took me about 30 minutes to get myself off again. From there on it was very shallow in spots and I was glad to have my depth sounder and chart plotter to get me through, until the chart plotter went black! This happened before so I knew what to do, go into the cabin and reset the sailing instruments circuit breaker, this means turning off the depth sounder, too. After the breaker is reset I have about one minute without any indications. Because of this I went without chart plotter for a while until I knew I had a straight run for at least 2 minutes with no turns and good depth. I got to that section, ran down into the cabin, hit the breaker, and ran back to the cockpit. I got everything back to normal and made it to Fernandina Harbor Marina. Today is a day of rest and I leave tomorrow (Friday) for Jekyll Island. I will be two days behind schedule, but schedules were made to be broken.
I have to depart Loggerhead Marina no later than April 1st due to my slip not being available after that date. I will be heading north (again) to get to Savannah in 5-6 days. Ro will meet me there and sail up to Osprey Marina with me, about another 6 days. The weather should be nice and warm by then so it will be nice. I plan to anchor out many of the nights along the way. I have 4 nights scheduled just between here and Savannah. This is the schedule to Savannah:
As you can see the first night will be the hardest. Day 2 will be hard also but I will get a good rest at Jykell Island on day 3, refuel and be gone the next day. After that it will be a piece of cake.