Join Date: Dec 2008
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It was all looking great. Friday, the boat passed its mechanical inspection. Saturday morning, the boat passed the final sea trial and Saturday afternoon we completed the purchase. Due to deteriorating conditions on Lake Huron, 18 knots and increasing and thunder showers in the evening forecast, we decided to spend the night in the previous owner's marina.
Saturday evening forecasted a Sunday sail of 10 knot winds from the south-east, overcast and no rain until later in the day. Perfect for a morning delivery sail up to the new harbour - a mere 13NM dead north. Is it *ever* that easy??
We awoke on Sunday to calm conditions... The WX channel claimed 5 knots and increasing at our destination with a few fog patches along the way. Ok, fine, no biggie, we'd motor until we caught some wind and make use of what we could. The hazy/fog (not too bad) moved in right away but no problem; lights on, radar on, vhf on and then we power on... well, about 1/3 of the way before the oil pressure on the diesel bottomed out and the engine has to be shut down. $#*! (and a few other non-printables)
No problem, there's a bit of a wind and it's building from 1knot - we're a SAIL boat, right? - so we toss up the sails and catch a breeze for a little while... I think it hit about 7-9knots briefly and then drops right off to nothing. nada. glassy great lake. And that's a problem.
We finally figured out that if we let the oil cool long enough, we could then run the engine for a short time before the pressure would drop completely... about 5-10 minutes of run-time for every 15-20 of cooling. It was going to be a long day to finish off the trip in those short bursts! We edged our way to port, a little at a time, stopping to bob around in the zero wind, zero current conditions... it was a bit stressful as my wife (new sailor) and dog were my only crew and neither were too amused at being becalmed without an engine.
Finally, with the port in sight, we prepare to make our final run in... we can't get around the commercial port, into the river channel then up the channel to the marina in one go. We end up becalmed in the gaping mouth of the commercial port... great lake freighters starting their engines and preparing for departure - you have no idea how slow 15 minutes feels while cooling oil and wondering if you'll beat the clock before those freighters depart! Since we can't make it up the channel in one go, we decide to pop in at another marina and call ahead to explain the issue... they graciously grant us use of a slip right near the entrance... sure enough, just as we power into their basin, the engine gives up again and I coast from the mouth of the basin, into the slip on the first go. You have *NO* idea how hard it is to keep from jumping up and down and screaming "BOOOO_YEAH" when you dock, without power or sail in an unfarmiliar port on the FIRST try and bring it in so nicely you can hand a helping hand at the dock the spring line when he doesn't even need it. Just nod and smile as if I had it planned out. :-)
After an hour of cooling at the dock, we fire it up and move into the inner marina without issue... tie up and breathe a sigh of relief. The sky behind us turns black, the lightning cracks across the sky and thunder rolls. *PHEW* Got off the lake just in time! 8-hours of the slowest, littlest, 'big freakin' sail' ever.
I'm home safely now but I think it's time to have a little chat with the previous owner. Like the oil, maybe I should cool off before proceeding.