Catalina 34

C34 Fleet Forums => Fleet 5 => Topic started by: Ray & Sandy Erps on May 24, 2008, 08:05:34 PM

Title: A scary Memorial Day Weekend
Post by: Ray & Sandy Erps on May 24, 2008, 08:05:34 PM
We had a bad day today. Left Spencer Spit around 11:00 and headed north towards Doe Island. There was no wind so we motored. Just south of Doe Island a ways, in Rosario Strait, the engine sounded different and I noticed no water shooting out the exhaust. Temperature gauge was okay, so I caught it in time. I shut down the motor then went down below to check the water intake strainer. When I pulled off the engine cover, I found a fan belt completely off. What the heck. Next I found the pulley on the raw water pump broken, with the pulley completely missing.

Rosario was ebbing. It runs at 5 knots in places. We put up the sails and drifted south down Rosario like a log, doing 5 and 6 knots over the ground but only a knot or two through the water, barely able to steer at times. Rosario doesnít ebb straight down the middle of the channel. It sets to the west a bit against Blakely Island where it looks like river rapids. Even though I was trying to sail away from Blakely Island, we were being set towards it. My wife was getting scared. Iíve spent enough time running the Skagit River that I knew currents will push you towards an obstruction and then usually around it at the last minute. We zipped along the east shore of Blakely Island sideways and cleared a point I was worried about. The next obstruction was Black Rock and we were heading straight for it.

I put the 3 H.P. on the dinghy and hooked a tow line to the boat because there was no wind to sail and therefore no steerage. I started pulling the boat and could only get 1 knot. We just barely cleared Black Rock. I was starting to get worried now. The next obstruction we were getting pushed into was Bird Rock. I decided to see if I could patch the engine to get some control of the boat again.

I took our garden hose that we use to fill the water tanks and cut and end off. I screwed the other end into the anchor wash down hose. I took the cut end down below and bypassed the raw water pump and hooked the garden hose directly up to the hose to the heat exchanger. I started the engine and turned on the anchor wash down pump. Water was coming out of the exhaust again, but at a reduced rate. I put the boat in gear and started idling. We were making almost three knots and the exhaust elbow hose was staying cool. It looked like we were going to make it. We motored over to Deception Pass where it was flooding at 6 knots. We headed through. Unfortunately, a big power boat was coming through the other way against the current and taking his share out of the middle. I didnít have much steerage and aimed for the middle too. Itís my understanding a down current boat has the right away due to reduced steerage. We cleared the boat right under the bridge and headed over to Hope Island and anchored. We can relax again. I think weíll sit here until Monday and then go in with the current. It could have been a lot worse. I have a new found respect for Capt. Vancouver who explored this area 200 years ago without an auxilary engine.
Title: Re: A scary Memorial Day Weekend
Post by: Randy and Mary Davison on May 28, 2008, 04:13:06 PM
That's quite an adventure and nice save!

Towing with the dinghy isn't all it's cracked up to be is it?  I read after towing through Nanaimo harbor that way that tying to the side, tug style, works much better.  Haven't tried it yet but plan to.

Title: Re: A scary Memorial Day Weekend
Post by: Roger Blake on May 28, 2008, 05:16:25 PM
Unfotunately (or fortunately), I had the opportunity to experience the need to use the dingy to move the boat. I found using the dingy to push the boat, from the stern, worked the best. It should work just as well tied to the side. Trying to pull the boat didn't work at all...the dingy just went in circles around the boat (small dingy, 3hp motor). So, the "tug" approach works best, in my opinion and experience.