Stuff happens. When it does, we humans are quick assign it some value or make some judgement about the occurrence, is this good stuff? Bad stuff? Terrible stuff? Just what kind of stuff is it and how will this stuff affect the future? I would like to report that on Monday, July 16, 2021 at 1000 these were the lofty questions being contemplated, but I would be lying. At the time I was busy practicing my bad language. What happened?
At 0830 we left Oyster Bay in light winds headed east towards the north shore of Long Island Sound. Of course, the wind was absent, and we were motoring along making about 6 knots and then we weren’t. That’s when the bad language practice session began. We had been warned.
Now dead in the water, we began to consider our options. We tried restarting the motor, but it would not turn over. That and the way it suddenly stopped ruled out a fuel issue. Three possibilities remained, a prop fouled by some debris, a failed marine gear (transmission), or a seized motor. None repairable in our position. Sailing to a nearby port and requesting a tow to a repair facility was the best and really only option. We headed towards Stamford, CT, requested a tow from Tow Boat US, and called Hinckley Yacht Services. By late afternoon we tied to a dock and had a plan to haul Second Star on Tuesday morning.
We DIY sailors always get grief about boat projects and inaccurate completion times. The Pros aren't much better. By 1000 on Tuesday we were prepared for a 1100 haulout, which became a 1400 haulout, which became a 1500 haulout. Second Star was hauled on Wednesday morning. Removing the marine gear to further diagnose the problem was the first order of business. With that complete, a repair plan would be developed. In fairness to Hinckley Yacht Services, the delays were due to their scheduled customers failing to adhere to the schedule.
In the end, this was not much of a disaster, we were safe the entire time, a plan evolved quickly, and we were in a most fortunate place when this occurred. True it interrupted our frequently interrupted travel plans, but that is part of cruising, dealing with unforeseen events in unforeseen places, a life we have chosen. The motor failure was an event destined to happen, it could have easily happened on Lake Ontario, in a remote Bahamian anchorage, or a few hours earlier in the middle of a raging current in Hells Gate. Had we continued on our journey we would find ourselves on the outskirts of Hurricane Henri. Sometimes small seemingly benign events can make big differences.
In the end we are safe with another story to tell and maybe a new more reliable motor.
Time for a short road trip through New England while waiting for repairs.
Update: Late this afternoon (8/19/2021) we received a call from the boat yard. The problem was a failed marine gear (transmission) and a replacement has been located. We'll order it tomorrow and with luck we'll be back in the water by the end of next week!