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Boat projects! Where sailors learn to curse like sailors.

By April 3, 2016Working on the boat

Let me introduce myself- I’m Leala- aka Mermaid-Pirate McGee. I visit and work with Shane on occasion, and sometimes write blogs for SV Guiding light.

Recently Shane had some time off and we decided to go adventuring on St Croix. This alone warrants a few more stories and pictures to come.  Treacherous hikes, bubbling pools, rum factories, drunken pirates, – I mean tourists (same thing), long sails, shark sightings, driving on the wrong side of the road (Shane will say it’s the right side, it’s actually the left side), Danish history lessons and architecture sightings, and not to mention the snorkeling of Caribbean blue waters abounding with coral reefs and fish, these were nothing in comparison to the “adventure” we were going to have doing boat projects. Ok let’s say boat project. One hulluva project!

In fact when the windless (it’s the motor that lets down and pulls up the anchor) was having trouble pulling in the chain and anchor,  Shane proclaimed, “Boat project!” with just a little too much enthusiasm. See he likes to get things done, be productive on his down time. So he pointed out to me that he knew what was wrong- It was a bolt not connecting correctly. Basically causing a sort of short in the up button for the anchor.  Seems simple enough to a fairly non mechanical girl like myself. So he gingerly starts taking apart this section of the windlass. Let me now paint a picture of where and how this is going down.

It’s about 4 in the afternoon, we’ve been diving and just sailed back from beautiful Buck Island. We are anchored (yes, it let us lower the anchor, thankfully) near a small island across from the marina. Looks ok, but the wind is really starting to pick up. Sun is going down… Shane is sitting in the front  2×4 ft locker that holds the windless. Uh, if you know Shane that is just funny right there. He is 6’5. I need not say more.

He is having trouble getting to said bolt. There are three connecting wires that look like the ones to a car battery but smaller. These connect to the bolt, obviously electrical in nature. All he needs is to tighten said bolt. It seems to be inside of a black sealed tube thing that I am pretty sure is the solenoid (a coil of wire used as a switch or control for a mechanical device. Websters). He can’t get into the solenoid. So he starts taking apart this other part, below the solenoid.

Insert 5 seconds of NOOOO!!!!!

We now switch to the voice inside Shane’s head:  “Oh this is going better. Yes! It’s coming apart easily now. Wait, what is this?” Sticks finger in, “Seems like a bearing of some sort” “I wonder what will happen if I pull it out?” “Insert favorite curse word!!!”

Now voice inside Leala’s head: “Um this isn’t looking so good. He seems far from that bolt thing he wanted to fix. EEW black stinky (let me clarify what the smell is like, think rotten burnt fish)  goo is oozing everywhere. Wow machines are strangely alien and have a weird thick stinky oily blood in them, like that show Stargate Atlantis we have been watching every night.  What is that shaft thing on his finger? Oh he is yelling for rags!”

At this point we are scrambling to clean up the mess, he has been running back and forth getting tools and such, leaving large rusty footprints all over the boat. The oil is contained.  Curse words are fully flowing, which frankly make me nervous and laugh at how out of the norm it is for him.  I am cleaning the footprints and oil.  And luck of the Irish / Murphy’s law, he has some friends sail by.

“Hey how’s it going?  “Great”  “Friendly sailing banter” “Blah Blah Blah” “See you at the next boat show” “Awesome!”   I wave and smile. Voice inside head says, “maybe we should ask them for help”. But they sail away…sigh…don’t worry it ends happy.

It’s getting dark, we have got to get this thing back together!  Whomever designed this thing had to be an Indiana Jones fan. For it was booby trapped. You see there was a metal key/pin that had to lay flat to get the shaft back in. Shane pushes the bottom part slowly in, while I hold the flashlight and a screwdriver to keep the pin from popping up, does not work!. About five times it doesn’t work. More cursing is needed.  Finally somehow in an act of “Oh screw this thing” style he pops it in.

Now things are looking up! The anchor is again connected to the boat. That is a relief as it gets windier and the little island we are near looks rockier.  Throughout this we have been talking about how we will get the anchor up. There is no oil in the windless, he says we might just have to use it without oil.  Voice in head says, “Wait isn’t that against some male law?

I am always getting reprimanded for not having my oil changed etc on time.”

Other option is for Shane to pull it up manually. Of course last time he did this his back went out. Eek. Not an option. So as I am cleaning up more rust and oil, and luck of the Irish (again why not?), Shane finds some stinky gear box oil on the boat. How Murphy is that?

Next morning as we are raising the anchor without incident, voice in head says, “If it gives us trouble just hit it with a hammer”.  I think I am learning about boat projects. Never give up, never surrender, and if all else fails, hit it with a hammer.

And by the way the sail back to St John was exciting yet peaceful, lots of wind in the sails and that’s what it’s all about. Right?

And we hooked up to a mooring ball, no anchor needed! Thank the Stars

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