Gear shift cable replacement on the 2nd day of owning the boat was not planned but definitely needed. We pushed off the private dock where the boat was to head to the Fisherman’s Village Marina. Having just changed the raw water pump what else could go wrong?
Well, no sooner do we push off in the canal and the starboard propeller is not working. My very first time behind the helm and we are running on one engine. The wind and not being able to use both engines to make the tight turn was very exciting to say the least (and that’s before we ran aground in the canal on the way out).
We make our way across the Peace River to the marina and have the added adventure of trying to dock it with one screw. That shouldn’t be too difficult but of course the wind picks up along with the torrential downpour and lightning.
I still didn’t know what the issue was and had thought it might be the prop. The surveyor did say he worried about that propeller not making it for the journey – did I mention this is a project boat? The rain continued to come down hard that night and we didn’t even try to stay dry. At one point the lightning strike close to the boat knocked out our power on the boat. Other boats had power so it was internal.
We sat at dinner and all I could think of was the voice in my head saying “get a boat – it will be so much fun . . .” and boy did I feel foolish. Al and I talked it over and decided we should find a dry dock and put it on the hard until we can see what the issue was and repaired it.
We got up in the morning, went for a coffee and start looking for marinas that let you do the work yourself. Unfortunately they were booked for a couple of weeks. We check the engines to see if we can find anything abnormal and there in the back of the engine the cable shifting gear had snapped. So it wasn’t as bad as we had expected. Now we just had to find a cable. Worst case scenario would be we keep it at the marina until we can get the right one.
We waited for West Marine to open and sure enough they had just what we needed. So I used one of the free bikes at the marina and peddled my way to them. Given the way things were going it was only fitting the the chain on the bike fell off and a handle grip as well. Besided almost flying over the handle bars and getting all greasy fixing the chain it was actually quite funny.
The replacement of the cable went rather smoothly and once replaced, Al suggested we leave to get to Sarasota before it gets dark. Figuring the 70 km trip at 10 kn would make it close. I have to say given how everything seemed to be going wrong and our luck getting it’s ass kicked I was a little nervous. I did mention that this is a project boat and hadn’t had much maintenance done to it in a long time, right?
In the end we made it back with some minor issues and tropical storm-like conditions at times, but it all worked out in the last hour of the trip. 6 hours after leaving Punta Gorda we were in Sarasota. As we docked (with both screws this time and it was much easier) the wind, rain and lightning greeted us just like the night before only this time we were home. What an adventure those 24 hours were . . .