Saturday, 18 October 2014

It is said that cruising is fixing boats in exotic places, but apparently it is also true for cruising in non-exotic places. During our three months stay in New York City, we had very few problems with the boat and had happily forgotten how it really is to be a boat owner. Now reality has hit us again, and Henrik has spent a lot of his time this week with our normally very reliable 28 hp Volvo Penta engine.

After a rather expensive summer in NYC, we have decided to skip marinas for a while, but when we arrived in Annapolis, we chose to stay in a marina anyway to have access to a warm shower and washing machines, since all of our bedding got soaked by salt water on our trip down. The marina we had chosen turned out to be more expensive than usual because of the boat show, but we decided to stay one night anyway, (which we changed into two nights), and then we could anchor afterwards.

Since the Americans use 110 V instead of 220 V, we can’t make use of the power that’s
accessible from the marina, so we're depending on wind or sunshine to keep our batteries loaded. After two days without any of the two, it was time to run the engine – and then it wouldn't start! After spending many hours with the engine, Henrik figured out that something had to block the diesel intake, since we could get the engine running by setting up a separate tank. Normally, Henrik can fix things himself, but this time he didn't dare, since he had to take the aqua drive apart, to get to the tank. In worst case scenario we had to get the boat on the hard to remove the engine and cut the diesel tank out, since the tank is underneath the engine, but with a layer of glass fiber between the two. We were not the happiest of cruisers!

All of this of course happened on a Saturday with the following Monday as a national holiday – and in an expensive marina! But luckily it also happened in the sailing centre of Chesapeake Bay full of boat handlers. Already Tuesday, Henrik got a hold of a mechanic, and the good news were that it could be fixed here and there. The bad news were however that what Henrik had thought/hoped would take the mechanic one hour, took one and a half day plus a new pump. It turned out that it was not only the diesel intake that was blocked, but the pump had broken as a result of the blocked pipe. It turned out to be quite an expensive stay in Annapolis! Luckily though, we didn’t do any expensive investments on the boat show, so with an engine that works, we are now on our way to Washington D.C.

Signe Storr Freelance Journalist & friend of Boatshed