Had kind of a scary day today
We had a bad day today. Left Spencer Spit around 11:00 and headed north towards Doe Island. There was no wind so we motored. Just south of Doe Island a ways, in Rosario Strait, the engine sounded different and I noticed no water shooting out the exhaust. Temperature gauge was okay, so I caught it in time. I shut down the motor then went down below to check the water intake strainer. When I pulled off the engine cover, I found a fan belt completely off. What the heck. Next I found the pulley on the raw water pump broken, with the pulley completely missing.
Rosario was ebbing. It runs at 5 knots in places. We put up the sails and drifted south down Rosario like a log, doing 5 and 6 knots over the ground but only a knot or two through the water, barely able to steer at times. Rosario doesn’t ebb straight down the middle of the channel. It sets to the west a bit against Blakely Island where it looks like river rapids. Even though I was trying to sail away from Blakely Island, we were being set towards it. My wife was getting scared. I’ve spent enough time running the Skagit River that I knew currents will push you towards an obstruction and then usually around it at the last minute. We zipped along the east shore of Blakely Island sideways and cleared a point I was worried about. The next obstruction was Black Rock and we were heading straight for it.
I put the 3 H.P. on the dinghy and hooked a tow line to the boat because there was no wind to sail and therefore no steerage. I started pulling the boat and could only get 1 knot. We just barely cleared Black Rock. I was starting to get worried now. The next obstruction we were getting pushed into was Bird Rock. I decided to see if I could patch the engine to get some control of the boat again.
I took our garden hose that we use to fill the water tanks and cut and end off. I screwed the other end into the anchor wash down hose. I took the cut end down below and bypassed the raw water pump and hooked the garden hose directly up to the hose to the heat exchanger. I started the engine and turned on the anchor wash down pump. Water was coming out of the exhaust again, but at a reduced rate. I put the boat in gear and started idling. We were making almost three knots and the exhaust elbow hose was staying cool. It looked like we were going to make it. We motored over to Deception Pass where it was flooding at 6 knots. We headed through. Unfortunately, a big power boat was coming through the other way against the current and taking his share out of the middle. I didn’t have much steerage and aimed for the middle too. It’s my understanding a down current boat has the right away due to reduced steerage. We cleared the boat right under the bridge and headed over to Hope Island and anchored. We can relax again. I think we’ll sit here until Monday and then go in with the current. It could have been a lot worse. I have a new found respect for Capt. Vancouver who explored this area 200 years ago without an auxilary engine.
1983 Fraser 41
La Conner, WA
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Boating for over 25 years, some of them successfully.
Last edited by erps; 05-25-2008 at 12:03 AM.