The Adventures of JOINT VENTURE –
(1975 Alberg 37 Yawl, Hull # 147)
Ken and Anita Tillotson
Saturday, July 30, 2005
We are still in Longuieul, Quebec and today, our Cape Horn self steering installation was complete.
In the process, one of our cockpit lockers was emptied as well as the lazarette area, so we now have all the items normally stored there on deck and in the cockpit. I spent most of the day bringing our log up to date and putting it on disk to e-mail when I can.
We didn’t hear from the mechanic Giete today. It may be Monday before we see him again. An early night.
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Today we tackled the task of organizing and listing all the items in our cockpit lockers. It looked like an overwhelming job. Ken put things away while I listed. We worked for a few hours and than rested (Ken took a nap) for a few hours and then we finished up. Amazingly, everything fit with room to store the land lines and bumpers now in use.
I made up a hash of canned potatoes, onions, butter beans, left over beef and ham with a side dish of left over cabbage….“pretty good”, was the captain’s assessment.
We are near the area where small cruise ships pick up people to go to Old Montreal so there are lots of folks coming and going.
The area is lovely and Chelsey and I take lots of walks.
Tomorrow we hope to see the mechanic back so we can get going again.
Monday, August 1, 2005
I spent a couple of hours washing the boat decks this morning which badly needed it. Also gave the cockpit cushions a good clean…whatever possessed me to get white cushions?
Ken, as usual, was fixing things here and there. Just after noon, Giete arrived and I left to use the Marina’s computer to e-mail Joint Venture’s log to Tom and Kaye Assenmacher who will put it on the Alberg 37 web site. Giete was already gone when I got back…the oil and coolant leaks are fixed but something called the feeder pump is defective and Giete has taken it away to be fixed or will bring back a new one. Ken has removed the large pool of oil from the bilge. I left Ken trying to figure out why our port running light isn’t working and got a taxi to the nearest grocery store. It cost me $9 to get there and $9 back! The prices in the large IGA were higher than you would find in Ontario, especially the meat. When I returned, Ken was engaged talking with a couple of fellows from St. Pierre Island which is off the south shore of Newfoundland. They were admiring the boat and inviting us to visit the island. His advice on the port light is that the switch is the problem.
Ken barbequed the rib steaks and with baked potatoes and fresh green beans, it was delicious. We hope Giete comes early tomorrow so that we can finally be on our way.
Tuesday, August 2, 2005
We were up and getting ready to depart as soon as Giete installs the pump. At 8:30, Giete was here with a new feeder pump…the old one was not repairable. Within less than an hour, it was installed. Ken started the engine a couple of times and all seemed well, much to our satisfaction. Unfortunately, the bill was much higher than we expected. We were charged labour for hours Giete spent traveling…?? We took the blow rather philosophically as this seems to be par for the course. As soon as he left, we worked quickly to make everything ship shape for leaving. I spoke to Ginette on the phone and she wished us bon voyage. We had to turn around in a small space because of a huge power launch on the dock opposite us.
The wind was blowing fairly hard and the boat would not come around enough so I was on the bow preparing to fend us off the power boat. The captain elected to back the boat. The dinghy was now beside us and forced up on the dock so I jumped off to bring it around to the back. As I was doing this, the boat was moving and I was stranded on shore. We agreed that he would take the boat to the gas dock and I would meet him there. Huge drops of rain started to fall as I hurried to the gas dock to take in our lines. We decided to take on some fuel while we were there. Suddenly, there was Ginette, having left a meeting to come and see us off. Hugs and kisses and we were finally on our way. There was a fairly strong wind behind us as we motored along. Trois Rivere was our proposed destination. After half an hour of motoring, Ken suddenly went below and urgently took off the steps to look at the engine. From the helm, I saw him grab the fire extinguisher! What was happening! Ken sprayed into the engine briefly and said that we had had a fire but it was now out. It seemed to be coming from the starter. We decided that we better turn around and go back. The problem may have been caused by the work done by Giete. So turn around we did. Now against the wind and current, it took us longer to come back. And a glum pair we were.
Back at the dock, we called Ginette to tell her we were back and left a message for Giete.
The wind dropped and it was very hot and humid so we read and slept the afternoon away. We were thinking about supper when a different mechanic came. Giete Mechanical is the name of the company. Anyhow the new mechanic quickly found the problem. The bleeder screw on the injector line was broken allowing a lot of fuel into the bilge area and spraying forward toward the starter. Also, the alternator power wire was jammed under the starter baring it and shorting out …probably started the fire in the first place. So this was fixed at the same time. The heat exchanger installation earlier had necessitated the removal and replacement of the starter; it was put back with too small of a washer and binded on the alternator power wire. A bigger washer was fitted by the first mechanic from Geite , although the bared wire was not. The engine was started while we were at shore and connected to shore power. Because of this , and because the shore charger isn’t grounded properly, the wire was sparking (shorting) after starting it. This alerted the mechanic to this specific problem …the problem that started the fire in the first place. He was a good guy and wasn’t going to bill us … Ken gave him 40 bucks cash. We readied the boat for leaving early the next morning. A quick supper of sausages and fried potatoes and early to bed.
Wednesday, August 3, 2005
We were awake before 5:00 and after off the dock by 5:30 am. We were treated to a lovely sunrise over Montreal as we motored along.
The engine was running very smoothly and the current was moving us along at a good rate. There was very little wind so we powered all morning, eventually up and around numerous islands and channels. We kept a cautious eye on the temperature gauge and Ken periodically took a look into the engine compartment. Late in the morning, on one of these checks, Ken saw liquid being sprayed all over the engine. He quickly asked me to slow down the engine. What now?
Further checking found that it was water, not diesel. There was a split in the exhaust hose allowing water from the exhaust to be sprayed directly into the engine compartment. We would have to stop and fix it. We were just coming to the city of Sorel where the river bent and widened. A suitable anchoring area was marked on the chart. As we approached this area, there were no less than 4 freighters coming and going. Slowly we left the main channel and deployed the anchor and some chain. The boat rested quietly as Ken worked to patch up the split in the hose. The problem was to find tape or material which could do the job on boiling hot wet rubber. Anyway, Ken did the best he could and after about an hour, we were ready to proceed. The exhaust leak was now down to a drip. Ken hoped to get better material or replace the hose when we got to Trois Rivere. We then entered the very long Lake Saint Pierre. We motored all afternoon before we saw the bridge at the other end. Trois Rivere was not far beyond. The entrance in guarded by a long spit which you must go past and then carefully navigate a very narrow channel marked by red and green barrels. At the gas dock, we arranged for a slip for the night. The smell from the nearby pulp mill was not pleasant. After docking, we went to the office to sign in. Asking where the nearest Canadian Tire was, we were told that we could bicycle there and they provided us with the bikes.
Leaving Chelsey on the boat, we peddled along a lane way and then had to cycle on a sidewalk over a bridge beside a major highway. Not having ridden a bicycle much lately, I was kind of nervous as the sidewalk was not very wide and buses and trucks rumble by. At the Canadian Tire, we bought some things that Ken thought might do to fix the hose as the store did not carry any hose of the kind we needed. Cycling back to the boat, I decided to walk the bike across the bridge!
Back at the boat, Ken got busy trying to do a better job with the new materials. Unfortunately, much to his disgust, nothing worked. We would have to continue with a small leak until we reached Quebec City where surely we could get the materials we needed.
Thursday, August 4, 2005
It was a long way to Quebec City so we wanted to leave early. At 5:30 am we pulled away from the dock and headed towards the narrow channel and right into the rising sun. Blinded somewhat, we got out of the channel slightly and went aground. No problem says Ken. Into the dinghy he goes with our anchor and chain. A ways away, he drops it and the chain. I use the electric windlass to kedge to boat off the mud. The boat moves but not enough…we are still stuck. Ken goes further away and drops the anchor again. This time he comes back to the boat to steer and use the engine while I use the windlass to pull us into the channel. This time we are successful and are able to get underway once again. Having the electric windlass was a blessing and has proven it’s worth a couple of times already.
We motored all day having a good current with us but the wind is 15 - 20 knots on the nose. By 5:00pm, we are outside the entrance to the inner harbor of Port de Quebec. We circle while we wait for the lock to open along with several other boats. Finally, we get the green light and tie up to the small dock inside the lock. It takes some time for about eight boats to get inside and then the gate closes. If the water was raised or lowered, it was not noticeable to me. Anyway, we radioed for a slip and went directly to our allotted space on A dock. There, a marina worker took our lines. When we signed in, we were asked if we had been there before. We said yes, 3 years ago. They found us on their computer and entered us in again. The bill for two nights was $92. I thought that this was less expensive than I remembered this port being. Perhaps it is just for the one night and we will have to pay another $92 for the second night. It wasn’t until after we had left the port that looking at the invoice, we realized that they had charged us the rate for our 26 ft Tanzer, “Tabasco” , which we had the last time we were there. So we ended up paying $92 in total.
We took a happy Chelsey for a walk on the grass and then we walked to the SAQ store (liquor store) and bought a bunch of wine to make our store of wine last longer. We enjoyed a relaxing evening sampling one of the bottles of wine.
Friday, August 5, 2005
What a day this was! First, I cut Ken’s hair which was so long it was a mass of curls. Then both of us had much needed showers. We then walked to the nearby marine store. Chelsey enjoyed meeting the resident dog and being petted by the owners of the store, while Ken bought a piece of hose and other items to fix our exhaust problem. Leaving Chelsey having her morning nap, we walked a fair distance to the A J Roy store which sells alternator belts, etc. Ken is anxious to have a spare alternator belt. After quite a bit of looking, it appeared that of all the many alternator belts in the store, they did not have the right one. They promised to get one and have it for us by 2:00 in the afternoon. Ok, we will come back. We had made a list of things which we needed…one of the most important ones was a new prepaid telephone card as our last one was out of time. Since we lost Ken’s cell phone, it is important to be able to call from land lines to keep our family up to date. Walmart sells the best ones. We were told of several Walmart location choices by the A J Roy guys and were given advice as to where to get the right bus. After a ten minute wait, we boarded the bus getting transfer tickets as we knew we would have to change buses. We got to see a part of Quebec City that we had not seen before as the bus took us up and down highways, and smaller streets. Eventually, we changed to another bus and finally got off just a short walk to a major shopping area with a Canadian Tire, Walmart, etc etc.
In Walmart, we bought food, some jell pads to put in my shoes as my feet have been getting very sore and many odds and sods, including two telephone cards. We also bought a new supply of Ibuprofen as Ken has been bothered by a very sore shoulder for more than a month. We ate at the store’s McDonalds and took a taxi back to the marina. We had noticed that the drivers in this city drive very fast and our taxi driver was no exception as he sped through back streets and had us back at the marina in quick time after stopping at AJ Roy store to pick up the alternator belt. He was a very friendly guy who told us it has always been his dream to sail to the Azores. Back at the boat, Ken promptly went to work on the exhaust hose while I gratefully crawled into our bunk for a much needed snooze. Ken found that the hose was not the right size and went back to the marine store to get the right one …. taking the old one with him. No luck, they don’t have one the right size. Also, the alternator belt is the wrong size, so Ken went back there to make an exchange. By the time I woke up, Ken had patched the old hose to try to stop it from leaking. Time will tell. To be sure though, this is another engine problem caused directly by the heat exchanger installation by Durham Marine. The exhaust pipe had to be cut and turned, because its position interfered with the new plumbing for the heat exchanger. Because of this change, the hose that split had to be bent to a 90 degree angle. Presto …split hose in short order.
We will leave tomorrow morning as we have a long way to go and the current will be against us for some of the time. Unfortunately, 7:00 am is the earliest the lock opens. A simple supper and early to bed.
Saturday, August 6, 2005
We are on our way at 7:00 am. I have put the weather cloths that I made last winter onto the life lines. Later today, the wind is forecast to be 15 - 20 knots. The cloths will prevent some splashes & spray.
We left when the current was against us slightly. Later, the tidal current changed direction in our favor and became stronger as the day wore on; at one point we reached 11.3 knots over the ground (per GPS). When the current is strong and against you, you want to travel close to shore as it will be weaker there. We were on our way closer to shore when a boat from out of nowhere, traveling closer to shore, came right across our bow and passed us. The captain slowly moved inshore and we passed the other boat…were you surprised? If there is boat ahead of us, Ken will do his best to pass him….very competitive fellow, our captain!
We made excellent time and arrived at Cap-a-L’aigle. We circled around waiting for our turn at the small gas dock. Ken attended to the fuel up as Chelsey attended to her business on shore. We were given a slip along a long dock and were tied up in no time. The docks float and undulate as you walk on them. Chelsey was so glad to be onshore that she took no notice of the movement. We made some phone calls to relatives and relaxed with wine in the cockpit. On to Tadoussac tomorrow. It’s about 42 miles but the forecast is calling for 25 to 30 knot winds behind us so we should make good time.
Sunday, August 7, 2005
We quietly pulled away from the dock at 6:30 am. Very quickly , the wind gained in strength from the west, pushing us along a great speed, the fastest was 12.4 knots; half boat speed thru the water and the other half speed of the current over the ground. The waves were running about 2 meters and the boat would rise up as the wave rumbled under us and splash down in the trough. The weather clothes prevented splashes into the cockpit. By 11:00 am, we were at the “Grinder”, a very large navigation marker which we need to round to set our course directly for Tadoussac which we could see on the north side of the Saguenay River. The new course has us taking the waves more on the side. The boat rocked steeply to one side then the other and water splashed across the deck frequently. Our speed was reduced to 3 knots and it seemed to take forever to get to the Tadoussac basin. The wind had piped up to over 30 knots and we have a 2 knot current against us from the Saguenay river. At 12:30 pm, we were finally in sheltered water and took little time to get tied to a dock. A short trip, but a difficult one. After a welcome hot cup of coffee, we strolled along the walkway towards the center of town. We looked down at a sandy beach where children were playing at the shoreline of the large sweeping bay. People were sunbathing and having picnics. There is a large red and white hotel that is a local landmark and can be seen from far out on the river. We found a small café where we enjoyed a cold beer and a small pizza. Chelsey could be seen through an open low window as she occasionally looked in at the people sitting nearby. Back at the marina, we found an internet access was available. We had problems with it and after accessing our e-mail, the connection was lost and we couldn’t get it back. The water is very cold here and you can feel it in the boat. It was about 5 degrees C when we arrived at low tide but fell to 3 degrees with the incoming flood tide.
Our next stop will be Rimouski on the other side of the river where the water should be a little warmer.
Monday, August 8, 2005
It was a foggy day when we pulled away from Tadoussac at about 7:00 am. The fog was not particularly thick but the radar is not hooked up. I sat on the bow with a fog horn which I would use to warn Ken of any ships ahead. It was a cloudy morning with little wind to banish the fog. Suddenly I heard a booming fog horn which I knew was a freighter. When I heard it again, I could tell it was passing ahead of us. I had warned Ken and we both watched intently. We came out of the fog bank we had been in long enough to see the back of the freighter heading away from us. We promptly were into another bank and I continued my vigil on the bow. Occasionally the sun would peek out from behind a cloud and the fog would lift a bit and a quick look around reassured me of no freighters. An hour or so later, the sun came out briefly and I could see a freighter directly ahead. Fog came in again but I was pretty sure that the freighter would have passed us by the time we reached the area where I saw it. Later, I was able confirm this in a break in the fog. The clouds were clearing up and the sun was burning off most of the fog. It was turning into a nice day. I was surprised that we had not seen any whales yet. When we were here three years ago, we saw a great many. Several seals popped up their heads to peer at us, but no whales. We pulled into Rimouski gas dock at 6:30 pm. We motored to our assigned dock. Chelsey enjoyed her walk on the grass around the Marina building. I decided that I would cook the curry dish I had been wanting to do for some time. Ken went to a nearby marine store and came back with some material which he hoped would fix the small leak we still had. The sink and companionway stairs came off as Ken began his work. After a couple of hours, he had done the work and my galley was put back together. Ken went to shore and I had started cooking when Ken came back to the boat. He was surprised to find me cooking already because he had planned that we would have dinner at the restaurant. I was disappointed to have missed the luxury of a dinner out, but the curry dinner was delicious.
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
We started off for Matane, which was only 40 miles away. We were not very far when the Ken noticed that the engine was overheating. We turned it off and continued under jib in the light following sea. Ken spent some time determining the problem. He noticed that the metal arm holding the alternator had broken. This is something fashioned by the good folks at Durham Marine. It broke right where it was bent. Anyhow, the heat exchanger works by having the belt turn the circulating pump. With the alternator arm broken there is not enough tension on the belt to circulate the glycol to cool the engine. We would have to leave the motor off until the problem could be fixed. So we sailed for the time being. After 5 or 6 hours it became evident to Ken that we would not make Matane before nightfall so he suggested a point along the way that would provide some shelter. We found a suitable spot to drop anchor and proceeded to deploy the dinghy motor from the stern rail to the dinghy. We have become good at doing this. The 6 hp, 4 stroke Yamaha weighs about 90 lbs. We simply raise and lower it with the mizzen halyard. Ken took Chelsey to shore several times traveling about ½ a mile each way. In the dinghy he can go 12 - 15 knots once he’s up and planing. During the night it rained hard several times with thunder & lightning, but it was mostly clear by morning.
Wednesday, August 10,2005
We were off by 6 am as Ken used the windlass to pull anchor and unfurled the jib. We clipped on ‘Clipper’ (the name we have given the dinghy) in case any motoring was required. We still had 20 miles to Matane but the wind was light. So we sailed at 2-3 knots and enjoyed about a knot and a half of current.
The marina at Matane is subject to silting and we were concerned about the depth at low tide. We decided to go into a very large protected area at just before the marina at Matane . It’s the shipping and fishing port where the chart shows good water depth.
Once inside, we tried to put down the anchor but the electric windlass had no power. What now!
As we drifted very slowly, Ken worked to find the problem. He found a loose connection and we finally could deploy the anchor with hope of retrieving it electrically. This gave us time to look around and see where the best place to anchor for the night would be. It was clear we couldn’t stay where we were as there was a large docking area for a passenger ship and we were right in front of it. Deeper into the bay, there was a smaller area in which we could see many colorful large fishing boats tied to docks. There was room to get in beside them where we could anchor and be out of the way. We pulled up the anchor (the electric windlass working fine now) and used ‘Clipper’ to move us slowly in towards the chosen area which was fairly close to shore and dropped the anchor. Shortly thereafter, a very large passenger liner came and slowly turned around to present the stern of the ship to the departure terminal. We would have been in big trouble if we had not moved! Ken took an anxious Chelsey to shore in Clipper. Ken then set to work to fix the alternator arm. Once he jury rigged that fix he started the engine…it went for a few seconds and then clunk to a sudden stop. Not good. We buttoned up the cockpit surround to keep the water out in case of rain. It also functions as a sort of greenhouse in the morning when it’s a bit chilly. The sun shines in the large windows and warms the cockpit. It’s commonly 5-10 C degrees warmer in the cockpit by 8 am unless we use the force 10 diesel heater below. We enjoyed a restful sleep in relative solitude once the logging mill rested for the night.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
In the morning, there were two other sailboats nearby, rafted together at anchor. The weather report indicates SW 15- 25 knots …just what we need to get to somewhere that can provide a mechanic. Ken takes Chelsey to shore for her business and upon returning requests my assistance to help him raise the dinghy motor to the stern rail. Once this is done, Ken decides to clip ‘Clipper’ on our starboard quarter for travel there. Towing the dinghy with large following seas has its problems with stress on the tow lines as well as the dinghy ramming the boat. This new method of transporting the dinghy proved to be much superior when wind & wave build from behind. As long as travel is downwind, this method is most satisfactory. We hope to find a mechanic at either St Anne des Monts or further along at Riviere au Renard. As we departed, there was a light breeze, 8-9 knots says the wind speed indicator. We are moving at 2.5 knots but with a 1.5 knot current. It is just after high tide, so we should have current for another 6 hours or so. Ken heads the boat out from shore in search of more wind. In less than half an hour he finds it… 18-19 knots from directly aft. I am below during this time and am oblivious to the build up as I type away trying to catch up on days of this journal. After another hour of so, I begin to notice the motion a little more. I ask “what’s going on out there”? “26 knots …..I need your help to reef” he screams! It is very difficult to keep the boat on course with a full genoa in this kind of wind, to prevent jibing or back winding. Once we reefed a little, control was regained. Ken had to take the helm most of the time in these conditions. At one point we had a lull of 19 knots, so he asked me to take it for a while. Of course, within 5 minutes we were up to 23-24 knots of wind …Ken took over. The wind continued to build and we had to reef twice more during the ensuing hours. By 12:30 the wind was over 30 knots and the following seas were 2.5-3 meters with some breaking crests. We were making a good 8 knots over the ground with less than half of our jib deployed, no main, no mizzen … and no motor. The dinghy was fine and in no danger. We were making better time than originally anticipated. We would be coming up on St Anne des Monts where there is a marina and hope of a mechanic. Our ETA was now 2 pm, but by 1:30 or so the wind was howling at 33 knots with one gust to 35 registered. We contacted the Marina at St Anne des Monts letting them know that we were planning on coming in to anchor. The first contact yielded someone not too conversant in English; but shortly thereafter we got someone that spoke pretty good English. I asked where it was appropriate to anchor. I was told the eastern side of the Marina. I further inquired that he meant the eastern side after we entered the harbor? He said yes. So as we were headed for the harbor opening it became apparent that the whole thing was a lot smaller than we thought and to make it we’d have to tack which we did first to avoid going into a rock breakwater & then again to avoid going into the other rock breakwater. Too much wind and the inability to tack efficiently enough to reasonably expect to negotiate the entrance, but with no reasonable chance of going back without hazard; the only salvation was the anchor that Ken told me to deploy. The wind & water are swirling as 35 knot winds threaten to drive us into the cement pier only 50 feet away. People are gathering on the wharf as our plight is obvious. Ken has the handheld VHF and is trying to get assistance, he’s initially told that no one can help him right now but that the wind will die down later! Now we’re less than 40 feet from the pier as we scramble for another anchor & rode. We managed to get the anchor & rode to the bow, but getting the rode ready and attached and untangled, was nearly a nightmare with impending doom as we gradually dragged toward the unforgiving cement wall. Finally, the second anchor was thrown as far as Ken could throw it in desperation. At the same time Ken wants me to get the third anchor. This proves impossible as it is buried at the bottom of a full cockpit locker. Meanwhile, radio communications now indicate that there will be help coming shortly….to pull us into the harbor. Ken gets the snubber for the chain on the windlass that is holding us where we are. The idea is to reduce the stress on the anchor so it doesn’t give. Now indications on the radio are that somebody will be out shortly but will pull us to the outside of the harbor behind the pier on the east side. As the rescue boat appears Ken pulls up the second anchor and takes the snubber off the windlass chain. The rescue boat with 700 hp of engine throws a line that Ken grabs and secures to the bow. Immediately, the rescue boat is powering to pull us in exactly the opposite direction that the windlass anchor is holding us. In short order the bow roller bends and more chain is dragged thru the windlass as it is overpowered. The major threat now is that the forestay gets broken…..Ken had no choice but to let the towline go. So now that we’ve been dragged another 50 feet by the rescue boat, we’re only 10 feet from the cement wall. Ken is up on the bow trying to bring some of the chain in that got hauled out only seconds earlier. The windlass itself could not pull hard enough without Ken physically helping it. With one hand Ken pressed the windlass up button and with the other he helped drag in some chain. After 30 seconds or so we were back to about 40 feet from the wall …then the anchor gave way ….the boat was going to hit. A frenzy of attempts to mitigate the damage with voices everywhere above us screaming direction and suggestions in French and broken English as Anita vainly tries to hold bumpers in place. The rescue boat was back…Ken grabbed the line and secured it. 700 hp was dragging us down the cement pier toward the rock breakwater; the rescue boat had to get enough way on to be able to perform the task at hand, but it was a little hair raising to say the least, frankly at this time I had lost my composure and was screaming. When it was evident that we weren’t going into the rocks I realized that the rescue boat was now dragging us and that we were dragging the anchor underneath us. The windlass circuit breaker had blown and had to be reset before it would work. As we got close to the dock in the inner harbor, Ken prepared the towline for release as I steered the boat. Two or three others were trying to assist from the dock but we got blown off the end. The rescue boat was back and with line thrown and secured we were towed to a different dock where we made a less than spectacular landing with the bow hitting the low lying wooden dock. It has red paint and now so does Joint Venture. The overall damage from the run in with
the cement pier was superficial, mainly paint scraped off in a few places. Once the boat was well tied, I slugged back some Bailey’s and hoping to compose myself, I tried to read while the wind generator howled in the strong wind; charging our half depleted battery system. The wind generator works only when the wind is forward of the beam. Use at anchor or when beating gives good results with sufficient wind. Our travels with the wind behind us therefore do not produce any recharging by the wind generator. The solar panel is our sole source of recharging otherwise with the engine alternator out of commission. Once we’re in open water/ocean we will use our water generator. By towing a propeller attached to a line that turns an alternator that thru a series of diodes charges the batteries; similar to a wind generator. With our Ampair water generator we hope to not to have to run the engine for charging purposes very often (since it doesn’t seem to run very often!) We were secure for the night; we lit our brass oil lamps, (we have not seen any electrical outlets on this dock,) had a simple meal of soup and wine and finally unwound. We had to laugh at the goings on today. What next? Tomorrow a mechanic is coming to tell us. An early night.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Sainte Anne des Monts
A rather chilly morning as we groaned into the day. Aches and pains from yesterday’s struggles are making themselves felt. Ken’s tendonitis in his left shoulder is particularly painful and I have bruises sprouting everywhere on my arms.
I leave for a much needed shower. When I return, Ken tells me that the mechanic will be coming at 1:00 pm. I do the dishes from yesterday, tidy the boat and prepare to do some laundry while the engine is being looked at. At the marina laundry room, I discover that the machines will not be available for some time. We need to check our e-mail so I check with the reception person at the large “tourist building” for the nearest internet access. She indicates the library has it and writes down the name and gives me directions. Not bad for two people speaking different languages. I take my laundry with me as I noticed that I will pass a laundry mat on the way to the library (Maison de la Culture). Putting my laundry in to wash, I walk a couple of blocks to the Maison de la Culture and at no charge, I am given access to the internet. I check our e-mail, my chequing account/master charge balance, etc etc. Back to the laundry mat, I put the clothes into the dryer and go across the street and buy some groceries. Back to the laundry mat, I fold and load the clothes into the laundry bag, the groceries are in my back pack and back I go to the boat, rather foot sore. Ken lets me know the results of the mechanic’s visit. The engine will have to be lifted from the boat by the marina’s hoist and taken to the shop! Wow…
His opinion is that this is a good engine that should last for years. Some of the parts and the flimsy method of installation by Durham Marine have resulted in our ongoing problems. He thinks that a bearing in the crankshaft has gone as the flywheel is now seized. Tomorrow we will move the boat to the hoist by 9:00 am; hopefully, finally winching in the anchor and rode that we have not been able to get in due to it running under the boat. Winching it in would result in it scraping against the hull. Tricky business. To reward ourselves for our fortitude, we went to a nearby Poissonnerie for what turned out to be a superb lobster dinner. Back at the boat, Ken has lit our diesel Force 10 furnace as we relax and contemplate what tomorrow will bring.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Sainte Anne des Monts
We awaken to the sound of rain pattering on the deck. The sky is gray and it is apparent that the rain will not stop soon. The forecast is for wind gusting to 50 km today. It is fairly calm this early (6:30 am) so we don our rainwear and prepare the dinghy to receive the motor. We use the windlass to transfer all the chain from the chain locker in the boat into the dinghy. While I man the 6 hp motor, Ken hauls the remaining chain out of the water. We make some progress and then it becomes clear that the chain runs under the very large inflatable boat behind us causing us to pull the chain at an angle and the anchor will not come free. We decide to try later when the large boat has left the dock. Ken unloads all the chain from ‘Clipper’ and lays it neatly in long lines on the dock . Wet and hungry, we return to the boat. Ken lights our Force 10 cabin heater while I rustle up some coffee, toast, etc. Shortly after 9 am the mechanic Alain Pratt arrives while is was raining to say that he had a job to finish but that he’d be back at 10 or so. He arrived shortly after 10 with a helper. By 12:45 Alain had the engine ready to be lifted. The weather wasn’t cooperating so we agreed that later in the day or early Sunday we would move the boat with ‘Clipper’ over to the hoist area where a large 60 ft Shrimper has been stationed for the last few days. It rained all morning and the wind blew quite hard so it was obvious that we could not move the boat that day. Perhaps tomorrow. Later in the day, the rain had stopped, so I made a few strips back and forth to the laundry and got all our clothing and bedding clean.
The wind continued to blow hard throughout the evening and night.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
The sun shines brightly today, but the wind continues very strong. Again, not a day to try to move a 10 ton boat in close quarters with a dinghy and 6hp motor. We do some grocery shopping in the afternoon. Alain does not come by today … he must know that we can’t move the boat in this wind.
Monday, August 15, 2005
A beautiful day with little or no wind for a change. At 9:00 am, Alain and his helper is there. Ken has the dinghy clipped to the port quarter of the boat with the motor ready to go. They help push us out and Ken uses the engine to move us along…backwards works best. The engine has been prepared to be removed and the shaft has been pushed back an inch and a half so we cannot steer with the ship main wheel . As Alain and his helper run to the pier where the hoist is, we slowly make our way around the dock area and slide gently into place next to the pier wall where our lines are taken. As Alain works below fastening the engine so it can be raised, we hear English voices. On the dock are a couple from Michigan with their daughter and her husband and their granddaughter. What a pleasure it is to converse easily in our own language. They ask us about the boat and the engine problem. They have been sailing since the 1960’s and their latest boat is 44ft long. They are on their way to the Caribbean.
Carefully, the engine is raised by the hoist and is finally on shore. Our new friends are there to help take our lines as we move to the nearby dock. Ken accompanies Alain as he takes the engine to his shop. Later Ken is back telling me some of Alain’s accomplishments. He is a mechanical engineer, boat builder and artist. He takes Ken to see some of his work in a nearby park. There was a replica of a bulrush made of steel 20 ft high with little LED’s at the top. Also intriguing and in the works was a wind harp with heads that make whistling sounds depending on the wind strength and direction. Later he is back to go over what he has determined so far. At least 2 bearings will have to be replaced. An internal oil line was broken some time back and is the source of our present engine woes. The parts are available from Vancouver but the crankshaft will have to be machined. There is an area of the motor (part of the crankcase near the coupling) which he cannot open to see if there is a problem with the bearings in there. He will work on this tonight and let us know tomorrow if he finds more problems.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Today, Alain came to take Ken with him to his shop. After a couple of hours, they were back. I had finished grooming Chelsey and was working on this journal. Ken announced that Alain was with him to measure for a new engine..?? Looks like the only rational way to go now. The crankshaft will have to be machined in 3 places. The bearings can’t even be ordered until after that is done. The coupling has stripped part of the keyway out and would have to be machined. In any case the minimum bill would be $6000, maybe more and all for a 30 year old underpowered jury rig? As result of the new engine to be ordered & installed, the sink presently overtop of the engine room will have to be moved. This is actually something we’ve wanted to do anyhow. The new location, which seems like the only possibility, initially looked as if drawer space was going to be lost. Alain came up with a solution to salvage the drawer. Counter space created by the moving of the sink will require resurfacing. Lots of reorganization of the hoses and lines will need to be done. It looks like we will be here for another 10 days at least. But in the end, we will have a 40 hp engine with a built in heat exchanger. We have been underpowered with the present engine…when it worked. Apparently, this problem was probably there when we bought the boat and would have created this damage at some point. We are glad it happened now where there is such a good diesel mechanic to diagnose and advise us of the problems. We plan to cruise in this boat for many years to come, so we will get our money’s worth. If we ever plan to sell her, the new engine will be a good selling point. Ken may be working a few more winters though.
This evening, we will barbeque some steak and enjoy our little sailing home 500 lbs lighter . Later tonight there is a gale warning in effect so we have been getting ready for it. Overcoming adversity is an integral part of the cruising lifestyle, and part of our Joint Venture after all.
Ken, Anita & Chelsey