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Old 29-11-2011, 15:50   #1
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A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

SoÖ the story.

Making our way up from Grenada on our cat with the Mrs and some good friends for crew. Were in Carricou and itís a Sunday, so nothing, I mean nothing, is open in the small town there. Were cruising the dink up along the beautiful beach there and spot a likely beach bar. No dock. Swing out around a reef and the breakers there, and head into shore to beach the dink. Once on the beach we wander up to the shack and get 4 cold Caribs. All is good in paradise.

Till out of the corner of my eye I see the dink getting rolled by some rather large waves that have decided to check and see how well I had beached the dink. Not very well turns out. So, beers in hand, we run down and wrangle the dink back into submission on the beach. All good. Time for another one.

Having relaxed and completed our mission we shove off on the next big wave and head toward our boat out on a ball about a mile or so offshore and downwind. Down goes the trim, key the ignition. Nada. Grrrrr. Nada. I had been working off some old gas from the last season. This was first trip out after hurricane hideout in Grenada. The usually very reliable Honda 30 had been grousing about the gas and not starting very easily. (Yes I had fuel preservative in it) So I figure its just a little tough to start and I probably flooded it with the engine being full up trim and rolling around like it did in the wave action.

Out come the paddles as I continue to try to sweet talk her into firing up. Now the rowing thing is somewhat less than popular with the gals. My buddy is on the bow yelling stroke stroke and the gals are not amused. We are blowing offshore and have our boat in our sites. If we run a straight shot we get right to the boat. Its blowing about 15-20. Going to take maybe an hour. If we drift port we blow through the channel and next stop is Mexico some months later. If we drift starboard we get to cross the reef. I can see egrets standing in about a foot of water on the reef so this is not a very viable route either. So the gals take turns overpowering each other and were going this way and that. While I crank away on it. No go.

We get about Ĺ way back and a couple fellows swing by and ask if were doing this for fun or do we need a tow. The gals didnít think it to much fun and opted for the tow. Iím just ticked at my having tried to run off the old gas rather than giving it away. My buddy in the bow is kind of bummed that he doesnít get to yell stroke stroke anymore. Anyway, made a couple new friends and shared a beer once we got back to the boat.

Then I tear into it. Convinced its flooded and bad gas I proceeded to start tearing down the engine. Got the air intake all opened up while my buddy is looking for some starting fluid that Iím sure I have in the stores. (Didnít) By about this time I figure even if it did want to start I have probably run down the battery to a point where I am going to have a problem. The motor has an emergency pull start arraignment on it where you wrap a spare line on it and yank it till it runs out and you almost go overboard. No go. Because, of course, its flooded with bad gas.

Did I mention that I am 3 months into rehab for a torn rotator cuff repair of my left shoulder? If you have been through that one you know what Iím talking about. Being in excruciating pain is no excuse for the eventual outcome here but Iím using it anyway. SoÖ. Tug tug swear swear, no I donít need any F#$%^ng help I can do it myself! Iím the friggin captain!

So I drag out the old battery charger that I have buried on board and plug in the dink. Then it starts to rain. So Iím looking at an extension cord running down my wet deck into my wet aluminum dink floating in salt water when it occurs to me that I may in fact be violating some OSHA guidelines for safe operation of something or another.

So back into the dink to pull the battery for an overnight charge onboard. Now itís dark and still raining. Let it sit overnight I declare. Iím sure it will start in the mooring. Iíve got it all opened up so it can air out some fumes. Into the Carib I go.

Next morning we put the battery back in and I sit down to try it again. Itís a jockey console setup with the ignition key on the right side of the consol. Turning the key I look down and have a flashback from the going ons the previous day.

Oh my good and gracious lord I declare out loud. Actually quite loud. The French boat next ball over looked over to see what the heck was going on. What, says the crew? I want you all to remember that I didnít have to say anything about this I said. I could have just started up the motor and said that I fixed it. Yíall remember that. I didnít have to say anything.

The dang key has a habit of dropping out of the lock under the weight of the float that I have attached to it. When it drops out you cant kill the engine. Unless you pull the lanyard with the kill clip on it. So were surfing onto the beach and Iím just about to kill the motor and full up trim when I looked down andÖ. No key. So I quick yank the kill clip, trim up, and hit the sand.

So when I sit down and put the key in I notice that I am standing on the kill clip lanyard as it sits IN THE BOTTOM OF THE DINK. Where it has been resting happily since I yanked it the day before. I put the clip back on and vrrrrooom, she starts right up.

Made a couple new friends. I think the crew has forgiven me. Well one or two of them anyway. And RE-LEARNED an important lesson.

SoÖ.. The lesson

START WITH THE SIMPLEST AND MOST OBVIOUS SOLUTION FIRST!!!

And I will never, ever, ever, make that mistake again.

Thatís my story and Iím sticking to it. And if I provided a chuckle or two then my work here is done.

Regards,

Mike
S/V Vivo
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Old 29-11-2011, 17:06   #2
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Re: A story... A lesson... and maybe a chuckle

A salutory story, amusingly told. Well done!
I'm no raconteur, but I have a slightly similar experience that involved spending a night on anchor, with up to 60 knots across the deck, due to a "broken motor" that wasn't, in fact, broken at all...
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Old 29-11-2011, 17:14   #3
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

Excellent story. Don't worry -- your secret is safe with us.
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Old 29-11-2011, 17:43   #4
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

Well told indeed, thanks. So many of us have been there. Well, with some variation for each of us. For me it was a vacuflush head that wouldn't empty when I pressed the pedal, completely filled with -- well, you know. My wife on board with me. By the end of the ordeal the "material" was everywhere, brown water, tissue fragments, plunger was useless, sponge and bucket, "water" sloshing around on the floor, back and forth as the boat rolled with each wave. Must have broken a seal, or maybe the holding tank was full and the tank indicator was bad. The valve ball seemed to open fine, a little water trickled in and out, but the contents wouldn't go anywhere. I finally had to take a break because I couldn't breathe in the enclosed space any more. I walk out to the back deck for some fresh air, past the electrical panel -- and noticed the fresh water pump and head switches in the OFF!! position.

That was two years ago and whenever I tell that story I still have to go take another shower.
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Old 29-11-2011, 18:13   #5
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I love these stories since we have all done something that we would rather not admit too. Many years ago i was taking out my venture 22 when the old johnson 5 horse quit. I was floating in the middle of a large marina entrance in 98 degree weather. Several attempts to start the hated outboard failed. My arm being dead i decided to skull it back to the slip. Finally got there, tied it back up and was close to heat stroke. I figured out i had not loosened the air valve. To tired to go sailing at that point.
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Old 29-11-2011, 19:21   #6
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

"Oh my good and gracious lord" << hahahhahahahahaham, I can imagine...
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Old 29-11-2011, 21:00   #7
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

Good story Mike. I feel I have to tell you that your chance for any sympathy from me was lost at about the point you were drinking cold beer on a tropical beach and I'm sure it had to be more then two for your buddy to think it's funny when someone sits on the bow and hollers stroke!

Thanks for the chuckle.
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Old 29-11-2011, 21:31   #8
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

Mike, I'm surprised that you could see the clip due to your poor eyesight. See, with age your eyesight goes first, then your memory. Pretty soon you won't be able to get an erection

Personally I think the best part of the story is your buddy letting the woman row. I love the mental image of holding on to a Carib yelling "stroke, stroke, faster, faster, put yer back's into it wenches"

Have a good season. I'm off in 5 months.
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Old 29-11-2011, 21:40   #9
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

About halfway throught the story I said to myself "kill switch lanyard". Been there, done that, including spending 30 minutes with cover off my outboard, diagnosing the problem. Unfortunately I didn't have the beer goggles excuse.
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Old 29-11-2011, 22:21   #10
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

Been there done that one m'self...
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Old 29-11-2011, 22:26   #11
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
Been there done that one m'self...
Yeah. Anyone who hasn't adjusted/rebuilt a carburetor when the only problem was a missing kill switch clip has not spent enough time playing with outboards.
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Old 29-11-2011, 23:28   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hummingway
Good story Mike. I feel I have to tell you that your chance for any sympathy from me was lost at about the point you were drinking cold beer on a tropical beach and I'm sure it had to be more then two for your buddy to think it's funny when someone sits on the bow and hollers stroke!

Thanks for the chuckle.
I couldn't get past the part about a 30hp dink with electric start ;-)

Great story...
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Old 30-11-2011, 17:31   #13
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

Sounds familiar.

Years ago we were out on the skiff (40 hp). When we got ready to return, engine wouldn't fire. Cranked and fiddled until the battery quit. What choice did I have--pulled the cover off and wound a rope around the flywheel and started pulling. When I was worn out, I looked at one of the 2 year old twins, and he was playing with the deadman switch that he had yanked out.

He's 24 now and a great crew mate. You can't start them out too soon.
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Old 30-11-2011, 17:48   #14
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

Not unlike the time my 9.8 outboard wasn't "peeing." So I tried running a length of weedwhacker line into the hole. Still no pee. So I spent a couple of hours replacing the water pump. . . . And still no pee. Then I realized I had been poking my weedwhacker line into the exhaust port, not the "pee" hole. Some sort of crud had accumulated in there, or a mud dauber had built a nest, and once I got the right hole, I cleared it right out. . . . God only knows how I missed seeing that other hole just inches away.

Don't tell ANYONE! And please, no jokes about getting the right hole. . . .
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Old 30-11-2011, 21:40   #15
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Re: A Story - A Lesson - Maybe a Chuckle . . .

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Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
Not unlike the time my 9.8 outboard wasn't "peeing." So I tried running a length of weedwhacker line into the hole. Still no pee. So I spent a couple of hours replacing the water pump. . . . And still no pee. Then I realized I had been poking my weedwhacker line into the exhaust port, not the "pee" hole. Some sort of crud had accumulated in there, or a mud dauber had built a nest, and once I got the right hole, I cleared it right out. . . . God only knows how I missed seeing that other hole just inches away.

Don't tell ANYONE! And please, no jokes about getting the right hole. . . .
Awww... pluezzzeeee? Can we... it's just WAY to easy.
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