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Old 19-10-2005, 08:43   #1
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Best emergency repairs

I'd like to hear from those who have made emergency repairs - engine, hull, rigging, waterever - while at sea.

Let's hear your best jury rigs and how you did 'em!
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Old 19-10-2005, 19:19   #2
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Last Aug.

On my way back from Canada the water pump">raw water pump (Jabsco) started throwing water out from the shaft seal. So I dismantaled it and jamed in some prop shaft packing around behind the seal nice and tight and put it back together.

It got me all the way back to Seattle with just minor drips. Now I carry 2 full rebuild kits, bearings and shaft.
..............................................._/)
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Old 19-10-2005, 20:58   #3
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OK, but this one does not really qualify as a repair, more of an alternate solution.
About 15 years ago, I decided to buy a power boat. I was when I was first wanting to get serious about being on the water, and half th people I knew said power, half said sail. I located a very nice 26' cabin cruiser, and went for a sea trial. We motored out the Monterey Bay for a 3 hour trip (yea, I get the irony) to anchor out for the night, and come back. We got out around the point, and the hydraulic steering started to go south. The housing at the helm was leaking, and with 12-15' seas, we were having a heck of a time keeping the boat on track. As the steering got more and more hinkey, we decided to head back in. By the time we got to the Monterey harbor, we seemed to have no steering at all. I am still not sure how, but I set her into an endtie as smooth as glass. We still had to get the boat to the launch ramp, about half a mile away. as I stepped off the boat to survey the situation and secure some lines, I happend to look at the steering linkage that connected to the outdrive through the transom. Or at least, what was left of it. The aluminum had become cornflakes, and was no longer connected. We (I) decided that the only way to get the boat to the launch ramp was for me to sit on the swim platform, and steer the outdrive by hand, while my friend handled the throttle, and directed me from the fly bridge. It worked, no damage to the boat. Gave the tourists something to gawk at from the wharf, and I still have all my fingers. I do not, however, have a power boat, OR hydraulic steering.
I have others, but at least I can say this one was not due to MY unpreparedness. (Although I do tend to check boats out more closely now before I go on a sea trial.)
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Old 20-10-2005, 05:03   #4
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Many years ago, we were day cruising in Georgian Bay (Lake Huron), when (about 15-20 miles from our home Island) we destroyed the steering cables on our 20' outboard powered run-about. It took about 8 hours to wend our way home wend (through the many narrow channels & islands) - hand-bulling the 200 HP engine all the way. Tired!
Knowing that everyone wanted to go waterskiing the next day, I arose before dawn, got my spare steering cable, and rove it to the wheel & engine.
As soon as two more guests got up & out, we were set. My cousin steering, Maggie observing, I sat on the dock, wound my finger, and off we went.
The island cottage was on a small bay, with a narrow opening at about 45 degrees offset to the dock.
Cousin Ken turned left to exit the cut - but the boat went right - SMASH!!!
No-one hurt, not even the boat (well ... some “cosmetics”).
I’d wound the cable backwards on the steering hub. Oops, how embarrassing for a construction rigger (at the time).
Re-rove the cable, and out skiing within an hour.

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Old 20-10-2005, 12:35   #5
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I was much younger at the time and newly married. It was my first powered boat. A Hartley 21ft GOP with a 140HP V6 petrol engine, and she cost me NZ$3500 on a trailer. I thought it was a good deal. She was old and tired and I had already spent many hrs repairing variuose area's.
The first story.
We filled her fuel tank for the first time. 200ltrs of petrol(gasoline). Drove 1/2hr to the nearest slipway and backed her down to the waters edge. I notice a strong smeel of fuel and looked in the bilge to see 200lts of fuel in the bilge. The main fuel tank had ruptured and poured ou the lot.
The second storey.
We went water skiing one day and broke the steering cable. No it wasn't hydraulic.
The third storey.
We went out in her once again and the engine started overheating. I would stop the engine and allow the engine to cool down. Then start and travel for a short distance and stop again and keep going through this process. But halfway across the harbour, the gear cable broke. So I placed the gear in forward, problemn solved. We got to the slipway and I went to nose the boat onto the concrete slip to let off a mate to go get the car/trailer. I turned on the motor aimed and turned off, but the starter chose that very moment to lock on. I am not kidding guy's, this is true. So the boat happily wound itself up the concrete launch ramp screwing up the propellor as it went.
Fourth storey.
Thining I finally had all issues resolved and having one or two positive outings, we went on a fishing trip. While out in the middle of nowhere, we were having little luck, so decided to try a new position. I started the engine, placed the boat ingear and accelerated. I thought I felt and heard a strange "clunk" and throttled back. I look around the engine compartment and found nothing suspect. Went through the same motions again and once again heard and felt the clunk. Stopped and look the second time. Nothing. Accelerated for the third time, but this time, no go. Engine reved and nothing. We had shorn the drive coupling bolts on the shaft to the stern leg. The storey goes on a bit here, with ones being seasick in the big swell and ended in having to fire a rocket flare, so I won't bore you with the details. But we did get rescued and the storey ended happily.
I never let it get me to a fith storey. I sold it.
Hmmmm, don't know if there was a remedy in that, maybe it should have gone in the things that went wrong catergory.
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Old 20-10-2005, 12:51   #6
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Repairs

Not at sea but almost.
Went to the ocean with the Zodiac and 8hp Suzuki motor.
Going out the long wide bumpy channell ( Barkley Sound ) the motor would not get up to full revs. I think I new the problem as it was common for the float bowl to get out of adjustment from the bumpy road to get there.
So I pulled up to the nearest beach and leaned the motor against a big rock, removed the carb and adjusted the float level.
Back on boat and we were off at warp speed.
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Old 20-10-2005, 14:26   #7
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I had re-fuelled diesel and got a lot of water in the fuel but did not know it. Got into Portsmouth Harbour and the engine died due to the amount of water. already had the tender inflated so threw it over the side and used the tender's outboard (a 2hp yamaha!) to push me the remaining 2 miles back to my mooring - luckily there was no wind and we were at the top of the tide. even managed to secure between 2 piles .

Unfortunately the water had got to the injectors and these were combined high pressure pumps and injectors - they were wrecked and cost an arm and a leg to replace alll three.

These days I filter all fuel through a "smart tech" funnel which not only stops any water from passing through but also pre-filters all the fuel.
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Old 20-10-2005, 18:32   #8
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I find it interesting, that all of these are engine related issues (Steering on an out drive, or outboard counts) In fact, with the possible exception of Talbot, it sounds like all were power boats. HMMMM?
I guess when it comes to sails minor glitches are just dealt with as SOP.
I will add that I blew out my main once, and was able to sail in with a double reef in. (Should have been in when it blew. Oh Well)
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Old 21-10-2005, 04:35   #9
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if somebody (nigel calder/don casey where are you?) wanted to collect these and other stories, throw in a few diagrams and a little "color" as we say in the journo biz, this could probably make a nice book for a certain audience (namely yachtie nerds like us).

;-)
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Old 21-10-2005, 06:57   #10
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jeez - good thing you guys own sails. i know, myself, the thing i dislike about power, aside from the noise, is the utter dependence on the engine especially with my minimal mechanical skills, and with newer outboards, there is no "on water" repairing. gord - you have 1st prize so far. we have all bumfuzzed, but that one is great. you resolved the tiller/wheel thread and made a wheel act like a tiller - worst of both worlds. nice job ! i can see the look on "cousin ken's" face as his brain tries to process that one.
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Old 21-10-2005, 13:04   #11
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I (thank goodness) haven't yet had a catastrophy in a sailboat. But I have read many accounts of those that have. And everytime I go out, I like to practice something new to see if I can make it work. More for fun than anything and then I become versed in knowing exactly what to do if I have to.
One recent account was steering in the event of a major steering failure. But then I have haydraulics so that won't happen right?
I heard of one guy that towed a drogue made from all sorts and steered via shifting the line from one side to the other to tack the boat. I am going to try that this week when we head out for 8days.
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Old 21-10-2005, 14:12   #12
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Another time - another problem.

Racing towards France with Spinnaker set and boat trembling on the verge of a broach due to wind from just a little to far forward, and just a bit too much of it, but we were leading the fleet so.....

Suddenly a broach, foloowed by three more in rapid succession and a plaintive cry from the helm, of rudder problem. So we removed the sails pdq and assessed the problem - very simple, the rudder problem was caused by no longer having a rudder!

We drilled a few holes through a locker lid and strapped it to the spinnaker pole, and used the poleover the stern to steer us back to harbour - naturally the weather was deteriorating F7 by the time we got back underway, and the Needles is not a good place for a semi crippled boat, but we made it back to harbour on our own.
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Old 21-10-2005, 17:43   #13
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Here are a few...

1) Out on a weekend trip to Block Island. The guests had all took cars back due to schedules, and a friend and I brought the boat back. About mid-way through LI Sound (around Port Jefferson), I noticed the boat was sailing kind of slowly. Looking below, I noticed water washing over the floorboards. As we heeled more sharply in puffs, the boards to leeward floated up and off. In order not to panic my friend, who was not really a sailor, I asked him to take the helm while I "checked on something."

I went below and started looking for the source. Found it pretty quickly when I pulled off the companionway stairs and was splashed with a good stream of "fresh water." The hose had ruptured. So... I just cut the hose shorter (it barely made it) and clamped. In about 20 mins, the bilge pump finally caught up.

Through it, I actually got away with casually saying we "took in a little water, but it's pumping out now." Good thing he was a rational guy.

2) Had to change an impeller at sea on the same boat. Not too tough at all. Had the wife sail while I went below and fixed it up.

3) Does "reparing your mind" count? Once in York, Maine I went down York river in my 21ft "Kells" daysailer. It had a Johnson 9.9 on it that failed routinely, no matter what I did with it. It just kept intermittently dying out. So I proceeded down York river to see how badly the seas were breaking at the mouth, since there was a small craft (and later gale) warning up. I wanted to see if it made sense to sail back to my home port, or stay put. Of course, the tide and river current were both flowing out. I was getting great speed down the river until... you guessed it... the outboard gave up. This is a narrow river, so there is no sailing back. I hit the breakers with the Kells, and made it though. There was no way back into this river, after I was washed out, so I had no choice but to proceed to Kittery, Maine - the next town down.

After 7 or 8 hours of really getting beat up and basically steering the boat like it was a surfboard, I had thoughts of just beaching and walking home... especially since I had a girlfriend with me at the time. Anyway, after maybe 8 or 9 hours, we sailed into the harbor at Kittery and tied up at Pepperil Cove. My friend, the launch driver told me we were out in 16ft seas with gale force winds. I couldn't believe we made it in such an un-seaworthy boat. After that, I have not been very nervous in moderately heavy weather aboard larger, safer boats that don't have a 2" draft and a rudder that's falling apart.
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Old 21-10-2005, 17:57   #14
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Non repair

I was sailing on a lake with my friend Dave a Geordie, on a windy night aboard his Shark 24. We had another fellow on board who was trying to attach the spinnaker pole that seemed to have parted company with the mast. We were wallowing and swaying and broaching all the while. I was busy mixing drinks at the time.
Dave asked me to go forward and find out what was taking the new man so long. It was getting dark. I went forward and came back with my report. " The ring on the mast has broken and we will need to drop the chute " which we did, then I informed Dave of the bad news, we were out of mix." Mix " he said in a loud voice," mix!!?? "even louder, "we are sailing on a sea of mix".
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Old 21-10-2005, 21:29   #15
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Here's one. I was out daysailing Kittiwake. As I was running towards the harbor, doing everything I could to keep from jibing as I surfed each wave. Suddenly, the starboard block on the main sheet came flying by my head. On the next swing, I managed to catch it. The shackle pin was gone. As I was single handing, and not in the best spot to turn up, or tie off the tiller, I hooked the sheet above the block onto the cleat, then tied a loop onto the bulwarks through the block. Looked like a tangled mess, but it got me in.
I had a packing gland fail, and all my bilge pumps fail on a trip down the coast. Had to bail by bucket all night in 20' seas. That story is in the "Don't want your name here" thread.
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