An Adventure

Date: 05 May 2012

People always ask about our “adventures” with our sailboat. We
came on Amazing Grace II with the intent of avoiding adventure. We
are careful with the weather. We generally don’t go out when it
is bad. With lots of preparation and care, most of the time we have
had fun and avoided adventure.

Two days ago we had an adventure. I was returning in the dingy,
after dropping Chantelle off at a neighboring boat, when either I
hit something in the water or one of the motor mounts on the outboard
broke. There was a big jerk. Then there was a moment when I looked
back behind the dingy and watched as the dingy was towing the motor,
in the water, by it’s gas hose. The hose separated. The outboard
went to the bottom. I was left adrift. Fortunately I was mostly
uninjured. I had a scratch on my leg that didn’t even hurt – but
it was bleeding. I was adrift. I started to put on an oar and
then realized that I have 2 anchors in the dingy – so I put one
out. That stopped the drifting. Having some hope of recovering
the outboard I did not just row back to the boat. I was a little
upset. Being in the Bahamas without a dingy that works would not be fun.
I thought about just up-anchoring and heading back to the USA. I
considered how expensive it would be to purchasing a small outboard
in the Bahamas.

I rigged the small hook anchor and started to look for something
that would float – so that I could mark the spot where the motor
went down. I picked up the life jackets in the dingy and searched
to see if we had left a watter bottle or anything that would float.
Finally I yelled at my wife in Amazing Grace II to come on deck.
I was only about 150 or 200 feet away from the boat. She came on
deck and I told her that I needed something that would float. At
that moment I realized that I was holding a life jacket. I was having
a true blond moment. Instead
of having somebody swim over a watter bottle, I tied the life jacket
on my second anchor and put it out as a marker.

My wife called out to our friends on Cupcake and Jonathan and Simon
came over to help me. They towed me and our dingy back to Amazing
Grace II and we grabbed some rope, a block and tackle and a couple
of large fenders. They snorkeled down to the motor, tied the fenders
on to the motor and lifted it off of the bottom. Another boater
showed up in his dingy and towed all of us and the motor back to
Amazing Grace II. We then used the davit lift to pull the motor out
of the water.

After the motor had drained for a while we brought it into the
cockpit where I have a board that I can mount and do outboard work.
I took the cover off and gave it a fresh water bath. Then I pulled
the spark plugs and drained it. Ouch. More fresh water. I removed
the carburator. With the plugs out and the carburator off it would
turn over. That was a good sign. Lots and Lots and Lots of
WD-40 and washing and cleaning and draining and whipping!

Then I cleaned out the fuel hoses, the fuel filer and disassembled the
carburator and carefully cleaned all of it. The carburator and fuel
pump got a rinse and then a wash down in acetone and a coat of WD-40.
All the parts went back together.

I cleaned the spark plugs and re-gapped them. Finally the moment came.
I repaired the broken fuel hose and hoked it all up. I pumped gas into
the motor with the squeeze bulb and it started better than ever.

Chris from Alchemy came over and helped me figure out how to bolt the
outboard on the transom of our dingy. He also had a portable electric
drill motor and the correct bolt to use.

Hopefully I did enough cleaning and lubricating on the motor to keep
it working. At the moment it is bolted back onto the stern of our
dingy and seems to be running just fine.

I am truly appreciative of the help that Johathan and Simon from Cupcake
provided in raising the motor and the parts and tools that Chris from
Alchemy provide so that I could bolt the outboard back onto our dingy.