Saturday, August 19, 2017
Another Nice Boat
For someone who has spent an inordinate amount of his life looking at boats, Maine is a treasure. It is like finding Eldorado. In Pulpit Harbor, North Haven Island, one of the premier anchorages on Maine, one sailboat after another came to roost. Most were larger than Carrie Rose, some close to 100 feet.
Now Carrie Rose is further Down East and the boats are no less classic but of a more manageable scale. Of course, this excludes the schooner fleet we just left behind at Camden. We swing in a mooring field surrounded by a multitude of Herreshoff 12 ½’s, Concordia yawls, and other beauties of unknown design but all of wood with varnished topsides and painted white hulls.
The fiberglass boats are also vintage good old boats. There is even a boat Charlotte and I coveted before turning to power, a Hallberg-Rassy 32. Our beloved Lenore was of an older vintage from this Swedish builder of wood lined ocean ready sailboats.
It was a twenty mile cruise today from Camden to Castine. The seas were calm and though cloudy, the rain held off until almost into the harbor. It was turning into an uneventful day (if that can ever be said about a day spent on the waters of Maine) when I noticed the bilge pump’s red light flicker on and off.
Of course, this light should not be flickering. Charlotte took the helm and slowed us a bit. We informed our cruising companions of what was taking place and I began to investigate. First, I looked at the engine gauges. All was well, nothing overheating. Then, with flashlight in hand, I skipped down the three stairs into the saloon and took the floor panel off.
The bilge pump was cycling on and off as the water rose and fell. The propeller shaft was turning and its seal was intact. The various other potential leaks were also intact, so I replaced the floor and focused my attention to the engine room.
Back up the stairs, I removed the port side pilothouse floor. Noise and heat and crankcase fumes filled the space. Clear water was lapping under the main engine. I pointed the flashlight around, stopping at each possible water source. All looked undamaged. The search was narrowing. The water was clear so it was not engine coolant. The raw water valves and hoses that bring in cooling water for both engines were dry. I quickly moved to the starboard side.
Charlotte had to move to the far right, so I could slide that floor panel over. Using the high beam, I started the next inventory when I saw it. The cold water hose for the water heater was spewing like a garden hose. I turned the water pressure pump switch off and the leak ceased.
Now imagine if you can a 6 cylinder 220 HP turbo diesel and a 2 cylinder 23 HP diesel running side by side in a narrow compartment in a boat mid channel on East Penobscot Bay with Islesboro Island on one side and Resolute Island on the other with the heat, noise, noxious fumes, and the intermingled fumes that reside in the bilge despite all my attempts to eradicate them . . . well, it is not the kind of place to lightly crawl into.
I procured the few tools I needed and lowered myself on to the battery box, wedged into a space confined by the thumping main engine and the waste holding tank. Careful not to scorch my right arm and shoulder, I reconnected the hose. It was not complicated, just loosening and tightening a hose clamp.
By now, the bilge was dry and we informed Sir Tugley Blue that we were coming back up to speed. Forty five minutes later at the dock of the Castine Yacht Club, we replaced the seventy gallons of water that had emptied into the bilge. In another thirty minutes we were attached to mooring “3” in 68 feet of water at low tide on the Bagaduce River.
Charlotte made lunch and I did something I rarely do, took a nap. As I lay across the pilothouse bench, covered in a cotton blanket I took a last glance at the nice boats Carrie Rose was privilege to be part of on this rainy eventful day, and faded off with dreams of varnish and wood shavings, expectant of the next Eldorado.