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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm writing a novel and got some help with tornado (inland lake) issues on another thread from several forum members. Caveat: I am not a sailor (or boater of any type), so if any of this seems ridiculously obvious, apologies.

My characters have survived a tornado, but the storm caused the anchor to drag and now their boat (Grampian 26 helpfully suggested by another member) is dangerously close to a dam spillway zone.

The hero is attempting to start the outboard motor. (I got all of this via online sites -- so it may not be realistic for all I know).

The sequence of what he's done so far is: Hero gives pull cord several hard tugs; Heroine adds her weight to the mix and pulls with him; Hero checks fuel line; Hero pulls out the choke a bit; Hero tries pull cord again; Hero adjusts choke. At this point, I'd like to stretchhhhh out the tension just a bit longer. Any suggestions for other things that could be tried or things that could go wrong before the engine starts up at the last possible moment, narrowly averting their boat getting swept into the dam? Also, at what point would the Hero think it was safest to abandon the boat and try to swim to shore (or WOULD he ever think that)?

Many thanks for any help and suggestions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Barry!

That's a LOT to digest for a non-sailor (and non-mechanical type to boot)! Okay, so . . .

To answer some questions and give you a bit more info, they stopped for lunch, and the Hero started the engine in order to set the anchor (so it's not been sitting in complete non-use for months for example). It did work earlier in the day. Does that eliminate any of the issues you marked as possibilities?

He set the anchor, they had lunch, they took a nap and woke up to find a big storm forming overhead (no time to out-run it). While Hero began process of setting out a 2nd anchor due to shifting winds, he tripped and gashed his head open. Heroine (who is a doctor) put stitches in his wound in the cabin with storm raging around them. As storm begins to move off some, they become aware that they are hearing crashing water, as opposed to just rain, and realize that the first anchor did drag and therefore they are now in perilous proximity to the dam spillway zone (downstream though, not upstream - they aren't going to go OVER the dam, but they might well get slammed into the dam, capsize and/or get caught up in some sort of hydraulic effect drowning machine action). So, they want to get that engine started up and get themselves out of danger.

If he panicked and forgot to squeeze the primer bulb first, the engine wouldn't respond the first few tries (that's the way I wrote it so far -- he pulls on the cord twice, THEN thinks to try to squeezing the primer bulb). Then he tries to adjust the choke. Sounds like maybe I need to re-do some or all of that to approach it a bit differently? If the engine has started before that day though, would spark plug still be a possible issue? Safety interlock tab?

Thanks!!
 
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