Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oh the troubles I've seen

So, I (Pam) don't often write on the blog, but after yesterday and then last night I felt I should add my thoughts to this adventure.

We had a wonderful run from Newburg to Liberty Landing Marina yesterday(Okay, one glitch at the marina, but I get ahead of myself). The day was a little overcast but the mist rising from the mountains was spectacular.

 As we headed south down the Hudson, we made good time traveling with tide and current. The debris was much lighter so the stress of having to dodge logs every two minutes was gone. I could actually look around and enjoy the scenery as I guided us to NJ.

My Navigator was even relaxed as he helped look for logs in the water and kept vigil for the barge traffic, which was very light.

 There was nothing much to dodge at all until we got to the harbor and the water taxis were everywhere like darn mosquitos! And the wakes... oh boy, the wakes were bad. We were getting tossed around like a toy boat in a bath tub. But again, we pushed our way through and made the turn to head in to Liberty Landing Marina.

The guys guided us letting us know where we were to go, a left turn in with a starboard turn next and the thrid slip in was us.. yep, I saw the two guys waving at us on an inside slip. I always turn the wheel over to Dave for the dockling manuevers since I have never docked anything larger than my 26' Tanzer that I used to single hand on a lake. No wind, no current, and no problem... but again, I digress. As I readied the lines and directed Dave to where the guys wanted us, he headed toward them nice and easy.
"Okay, you need to make your starboard turn"I yelled,  he had a look of panic as he said, "I've lost the starboard engine!" I'm not going to make that turn!"

My heart dropped as we're headed straight at a very large and very beautiful boat. I had visions of our bow sprit splitting it in half. Gathering my thoughts, I yelled at him to hit reverse and do it quick. Then I took a deep breath and we both gathered our bearings. He decided we needed to back out of where we were and go to a different slip. I relayed this to the guys on the dock who scrambled to find a dock we could easily back or pull straight into. Now all we had to do was back the boat out into a channel that had water taxis zipping in and out of, turn the stern starboard and continue on a backward course to the next opening at the other end of the fuel dock. I will not bore you with all the detail, but will say, David is a very good driver and manged (really I have no idea how) to do this whole dance without even coming close to hitting another boat.

Securely in the for the night and after a couple victory beers and quick dinner, we decided to head down to bed to relax and watch some tv in comfort. Not long, all the critters decided they were going to join us.  I looked at Dave and said I was going to sleep in the middle stateroom and for him to come up there after his movie was over. He agreed and off I went to peace and quiet with no animals.

As I lay in the bed unwinding from the day and deciding that yes, even though we do keep losing an engine, I love being here and doing what we do. I hear a noise... hmmm, someone is having a problem starting an engine? no... yes, that's kinda what it sounds like. I go outside, nobody around. I go back down to the stateroom, there it is again. I go see David.

"I hear a funny noise"

"What kind of funny noise?" he asks. I describe it and he says it sounds like the bilge pump and to lift the floor board to check. I took a handy dandy walkie talkie with me and yep, sure enough, water in the bilge, but just a small amount and the pump wasn't cycling off. Dave decided to just turn the pump off from the engine room.... as a small amount of water returned to the bilge we didn't worry too much. We laughed about the comercial with the German Coast Guard "Vat are you sinking about?" and I went back to bed and Dave went to finish watching his movie.

 I didn't hear him come to bed a while later, but I did hear Gertie jump off the bed somewhere in my foggy sleep and thought I heard "SPLASH"    my brain needed to work that out and then I sat bolt upright... thought, no, it couldn't have splashed... I turned on the flashlight and our center stateroom had about 8" of water flooding it! The floor boards covering the hall bilge and our bilge were floating.

"David! We're flooded!"

He sleepily opens his eyes, he'd only been in bed abut an hour and now the next disater of the day has presented itself. We're takign on water. dear God, did we hit something? Do we have a hole in the boat? All this at midnight. The next two hours we spent going over the boat and pulling every hatch we could to find the leak and trying to fix the leak, which we discovered in the engine room. Dave found the stuffing boxes had water pouring in. He got his wrench and tightened them down, problem solved, right? No, the bilge continued to fill about a foot, cycle on, drain, refill. I said to Dave as long as the pump continues to keep pumping it out, I'm going to bed, we're not sinking tonight. He stayed up for about two more hours and we have a long day of engine work in the morning. It is going to be a looong day for both of us.

As we sat last night, trying to figure out what was wrong, I had begun to laugh. He looked at me quizzically and I just hugged him. I love him, I love our boat, I don't love the problems but together, we can tackle anything. I just had to laugh, and no I wouldn't give up living on this boat for anything.....

The German Coast Guard Trainee


  1. Harrowing experience there Pam. Hope you can resolve that issue quickly. 8" of water in the cabin will definitely get the Admiral upset! :-)

    I think I'm going to opt for a high water alarm for our boat. Already have a 4000 GPH Rule for a crash pump.

  2. you are certainly putting the down in shake down. It's really fortunate this happened at a dock instead of half way down the Jersey shore. Good luck with the repairs and the trip down the coast.

  3. As it turned out, the big problem was that the bilge thru hull is now underwater and there is no vented loop or check valve. The bilge pump pumps out the bilge and then it siphons right back in again. I can't get to the sea cock because of cabinetry modifications made by a previous owner so I stuck a wooden plug in the thru hull from the outside to stop the leaking. I ordered a check valve from the marina which will arrive tomorrow.