As some of you may have known, I have been in New York for almost 2 weeks now, preparing a boat, who's name and Captain I will not mention for privacy reasons.
Long Story made very short, we have not left and will not be leaving for the Azores. The whole trip here has been a nightmare, and a great example of one of the worst and poorerst organized passages.
May any of you learn from my mistake when signing up as crew for an Ocean crossing.
When I got here, the boat was in the hard, and was completely disembowled. It was full of trash and personal belongings of the captain. Okay, so I thought we could clean it up quickly
Very soon we learned that the engine wasn't installed yet, and the prop shaft, a new engine was coming and a new prop shaft, prop, zincs, whole deal.
We spent a whole week putting in a new engine, and rebuilding the exhaust system from scratch, the water exchange system.
We re-painted the whole boat. We unplugged throughulls, re-organized the whole boat.
Days and days of pain-staking work.
What is worse, the captain did not hire a qualified mechanic to do all the engine work but insisted on doing it all himself.
(He did get a diesel mechanic to do the prop shaft installation and allignment, but he was a "friend of the family" )
Miraculously, we got it all done in 7 days, and actually got the boat in the water... WHEN..
The real problems started.
The waterlift muffler, which wasn't a muffler at all, but something someone put together with hardware store plumming, and which the captain had used for 15 years, leaked water back into the engine.
The engine oil turned into white milk.
Luckily the water was NOT salt water, so we were able to save the engine after draining the oil 4 times.
We then had to remove the exhaust system and install a proper waterlift muffler. Which I spent a whole day climbing into small spaces, covered in grease.
All this in a little tiny RedNeck town somewhere in upstate new york, where the only food we could get was Pizza, oily chinese food, and polish sausages.
We kept on pushing and pushing because we had already spent 7 days cleaning the boat and putting the new engine in... that's why I didn't leave.
After we cleaned the engine... something else went wrong. The anti-siphon valve began gushing out water, we spent a whole day finding out how to install it properly, and eventually never found out but created a totally different concocktion that did the same job.
Just when we thought we were ready to leave.
We started the engine, put her in first, like we've done many times...
The cutlass bearings, turns out, were mounted wrong, or cracked, or screwed in improperly. As they were making a rubbing screaming noise - which wasn't present before.
So back on the hard the boat goes, the engine must be taken out, along with the propeller and prop shaft, to inspect the cutlass bearings.
So - at this point, the whole crew of 5, including me, had enough, and we abandoned ship.
I'm in NY now and going home on Thursday, at least I get a chance to look around manhattan
So here's what NOT do to:
1. Do not install a new engine into your boat and expect to leave the next day. It takes a lot of tinkering and maintainance, it's like a brand new baby. Expect at least a 1 month delay
2. DO NOT insisit on doing engine work on a new engine yourself just because you know how to change the oil and attach some hoses. Hire a mechanic, get some rest and sleep, and have him do the work.
3. DO NOT leave your boat on the hard for 2 years, and then, 2 weeks before your departure date, start working on it and doing everything last minute in a frantic attempt to head out on time.
4. DO NOT make your crew do more than a little painting and twak up jobs, they are there to crew your boat, not "fix up your boat from scratch" for the next 2 years, for free.
5. FEED your crew, if you are going to have them work longer than 3 days on your boat for free, for longer than 4 hours a day.
AAAAAAAh - I have no words left. I'm going home and I do not want to look at a sailboat for at least a month.