Re-splash Drama – part 1

Everyone would like to have a trouble free haul-out.  It doesn’t always happen.  More troubling is splashing after a big haul-out and experiencing an issue that may require you to get back into the slings – like we did! The pucker factor can be intense.

We had exhaust fabrication work, and our prop shaft and rudder bearings and glands re-done, while SV Take Me There was on the hard…or so we thought.  The work looked great…dry!  The minute she went into the water, the main-shaft packing was streaming water.  No problem, just tighten up the gland…nope – brand new gland wrench not big enough!  The contractor “forgot” to re-pack…and we splashed at 2:30 on a Friday…Contractor Quitting Time!  Now what!  And – oh by the way – the exhaust was leaking fumes like a freight train into the engine room once we primed and started the engine. 

After a few attempts, we reached our contractor’s assistant and he arrived the next day to take a look.  “Oops…the boss didn’t tell me to re-pack the shaft gland!”  Again…no worries, it took 3 hours and a lot of hard work by the bilge pumps but re-pack success (in the water).  Now I now know what a BIG wrench looks like!…and we needed two!  

Finished with the gland and shaft leak arrested, the Tech says: OK…fire it up…varoom…oooh, you’re right, that’s a major exhaust gas leak!…Just need to readjust the angles and – Hey…there’s a lot of water coming in here!”  Well, the engineering of the exhaust elbow (the boss did the fabrication work) appeared off so the tech pulls the 5 inch exit hose back 4 inches and snaps the old clamps on the muffler (below the water line)- big water leak!  Good news is we found bad clamps (rusted) and it happened in a marina with a lift big enough for our boat.  I’m (Steve) now very nervous and staring at another $ 1200 haul-out bill to re-do the rest of the exhaust system (at $ 100 per hour plus parts, hotel and yard fees).  A yoga mat and a few feet of 100 mph tape later…I plugged the main engine exhaust port just below the waterline.  The Tech gets a clamp on the separated hose (remember-now 4″ shorter) and crisis is temporarily abated but we now know we have to add 4 inches somewhere…you got it…new exhaust hose…but “it’s gotta come out for us to do that” (he says).  He leaves and says the boss will call you…I ask “how about he calls me now since I paid for good engineering and now have this PROBLEM?”

Stay tuned for part 2!…