A bad day on the boat is better than a good day at work

Saturday Rick and I went up to the boat to move the outboard motor bracket down further on the transom and hook up the motor.  Plus I was going to swab out the bilge, which, I’m simply ecstatic to say, didn’t happen!

I was kinda nervous about 1 particular thing.  We don’t have a head…really… no potty onboard.  You gotta go?  Then hike up to the marina bath house.  I usually have a pretty short window of opportunity between the time my brain is notified ‘soon’ vs ‘NOW’.  That meant I had to prepare for an emergency situation arising, or maybe the right word is ‘befalling’.  Whatever…  But, you know, it was so very hot, that wasn’t an issue at all, if you catch my drift…

First thing Rick did was showed me that those switches he had installed actually turned on some equipment!  I heard humms and buzzes to prove it and even took a picture of water tinkling out of the bilge when Rick switched on the bilge pump (and what a relief that is, to know that the boat won’t sink the next time it rains!).  He’s so proud!

Rick got back down in the bottom of the boat and I got down on my butt on the dock and held onto the bracket.  I also have to place my thumb on the bolt to keep it from rotating and pushing out as he unscrews it.  Yeah, I look like I’m hugging the motor bracket with my feet in the water.

He got 2 of the bolts undone, but the 3rd nut got ‘crossthreaded’, long word for jacked, and we had to make a trek to Home Depot to buy a dremel, which is a fancy word for ‘rotating cutter of things like steel and wood’.  Right at Home Depot we saw a sign pointing ahead to a Lowe’s, so we went there instead – why they are within 2 blocks of each other, I don’t know.   We bought the cheapest dremel they had ($39.00) and came back to the boat – that’s about a 30 minute delay, right there.

Once we got the dremel unpackaged Rick discovered it was battery powered…good and bad.  Good because there’s no need to deal with cords.  Bad because, surprise, it had to be charged up!  These kinds of surprises come often in our house.  Rick once bought a tiny wireless keyboard for the computer/TV media mess, I mean ‘system’, that we have (3 remotes and I usually push buttons randomly until something comes onscreen)…and it wasn’t wireless…its still on his dresser…a cute little thing but purposeless.

 So, we plugged the dremel in and waited for it to charge.

But we didn’t waste any more time.  While we were waiting we thought we’d hook up the cables for outboard motor.  They are thick and very stiff and they have to go from the motor through the transom and up through the pedestal to the throttle and shift mechanisms.  Usually the pedestal is installed AFTER the cables are in place, but, no, whoever put in the pedestal was, I don’t know, from another planet? 

Rick gets down again into the bottom of the boat and starts to feed them through a hole at the bottom of the pedestal and up to the top, where the steering chain is attached to the wheel.  But, blankety-blankety-blank!  The hole isn’t near big enough!  The cables have to be fitted between 2 metal braces that are screwed together and then screwed to the pedestal next to the steering chain but about 8″ down the hole.  From the top, the brace can’t squeeze past the steering chain and from below the bracket can’t fit through the hole.  Head?  Meet wall.

Now what?  Taking the pedestal off and disconnecting the steering chain is a huge endeavor (at least it’s huge to us; maybe you would tell us it’s a simple feat).

Well, we ponder and think and swear a little…we decide to separate the cables and feed them through the pedestal and then try and screw the bracket to the cables and through the pedestal. 

First, Rick threads the cables up and we tape them out of the way.  Then we strip an old electrical cord and use the tiny but strong wires inside to loop through/around the bracket and lower and push and pull it into place so we can screw it to the pedestal.  Then we have to finesse one of the cables into the bracket and screw the bracket together enough to hold it AND use a long metal file to tap it into place – 8 inches down into the pedestal!

Then, we do the same thing with the other cable – oh, and did I tell you that the cables have a groove that must be perfectly aligned in the bracket?

We are sweating and swearing and laughing and it’s like surgery!  Heads bumping with hands and tools down in a hole about 6 or 8 inches in diameter, mostly blocked by chain. 

And we did it!  Amazing!  Stupendous!  Success!


Time for lunch…Subway five dollar footlooong…

After lunch its time to try the dremel again.  Rick gets back down into the lazarette and I sit on the dock.  I put my left arm around the bracket and brace my arm on my leg to hold the bracket when the bolt is cut (we have a rope around the bracket so it doesn’t fall into the water.  Well, actually it can fall into the water, but it won’t sink to the bottom never to be seen again.).  Then I put my thumb on the bolt being cut.

Ouch, it heats up from the dremeling.  Stop and go get a towel… Back to sitting on the dock of the bay…  The dremel does the job!  Yay for powertools! 

We mark the new locations for the bolts, put the bracket back on the transom in a lower position and bolt the outboard motor in place.  Stand back and view our work.   Phooey.  The propeller is still not low enough in the water!  But there’s no room to lower the bracket any further.  Then it hits us.  The 400lb inboard motor is gone.  Our little boat isn’t sitting as low in the water as it would have with that 400lb mass.  Duh!  Ballast is the answer.  Plus all the other provisions we’d have and tanks of gas and water will make a big difference.  No worries.

It’s supposed to rain later this week so Rick dug out old caulking and added new along an area he suspected is leaking.  While he did that I sat in the sun and read for awhile. 

And that was our day 😉


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