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erps 05-24-2008 10:55 PM

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.

craigtoo 05-24-2008 11:12 PM


Great read... (not to mention I watched all your vids today too! Thanks...)

Glad things are ok so far!

Quickstep192 05-24-2008 11:18 PM

Darn clever using the anchor washdown hose! Do you sideline as MacGyver?

wind_magic 05-24-2008 11:31 PM

Pretty impressive. :)

erps 05-24-2008 11:37 PM

That's my strength and my curse. I can usually patch just about anything up, but I"m not a perfectionist, so I usually don't fix it until it's broke. Of course that means I end up patching stuff up more often. I need a money tree for a brand new engine. Anyone have an extra money tree?

Giulietta 05-24-2008 11:44 PM

You showed a lot of true pure real hard core seamanship, and above all, you showed brains and skill...

I'll crew for you anytime...Sir.


Faster 05-24-2008 11:51 PM

Great story! must have been a heart-stopping moment or two.. or three!

Glad it all worked out OK, good going with the "McGyver"ization!!

...Saw a money tree the other day but for some reason it hasn't "leafed out" this year - branches were bare :(

timebandit 05-25-2008 01:47 AM

Nice save.

erps 05-25-2008 02:13 AM

Sure makes one wonder how the early explorers got around, not knowing where the rocks are and not having an auxilary engine.

I brought my dive gear along this weekend, figuring I would change the zincs and give the bottom a scrub. After anchoring at Hope Island and changing the zincs I went down to check the anchor. I found our chain was wrapped around an old crab pot. It was full of crab but it's closed season right now, so I let 'em loose and tied a line to it to recover it and then offered it to some campers on the Island. They had been going back and forth all evening checking their shrimp gear. So after dark we were sitting in the cockpit, eating popcorn and having a drink and the campers came by with a bucket of shrimp for us. Looks like fresh shrimp for dinner tomorrow when the kids come out and raft up to us. Guess that would be the silver lining. We'll limp on home on Monday. Hope the rest of you have a nice weekend.

Stillraining 05-25-2008 02:28 AM

I will be in Tucwilla all weekend ( Soccer tournament ) if you need a tow boat have LaConner launch my Sea Ray...Its full of fuel ready to go...Yours if you need it..

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