I’m afraid, it happened again. One minute, putt, putt, putt. The next…
It’s something every “recovering ragbagger” frets about. When-the-motor-quits. Sort of like, when mom says, “…beeeee carefulllll…” And, you aren’t. Early sidewheelers still carried masts and sails. Granted, they remained furled most of the time. Just up there, getting all sooty. Nobody really trusted Mr. Fulton’s monstrosity. This striving for convenience, and comfort has always had its downside. I should say, “down-slide.”
For the first year, I carried an extra motor on Miss Kathleen. Sometimes both a gas outboard and an electric. That stuff not only takes up a lot of space, it adds a lot of weight. And, the way I have franken-engineered this whole thing; it takes getting back on the trailer to really effect a swap. That, and a lifting crane. And, a passle of tools.
I think the crux of the matter is pretty simple. The notion of “adventuring,” assumes a high degree of self-sufficiency. For a couple of reasons. One of ‘em is that help is likely not going to be available, even if other boats and people are close at hand. Yesterday was a case in point. That little voice told me to head upwind. Not, downhill to my initially-contemplated destination. So, about 5 miles out, when my purportedly reliable 15 hp, 4-stroke Yamaha suddenly quit, and steadfastly refused any of my ministrations, entreaties, and blasphemy; I at least had a Plan-B.
Other boats passed within heaving line range, as Miss K wallowed in a moderate seaway. Nobody slowed. Nobody even looked my direction. In fact, I assumed that even if I flagged somebody down; they wouldn’t likely know how to perform a tow in those conditions. Granted, some of us know that a boat rolling beam-on, with the engine hatch up, should be a sign of something untoward. Some of us do. Apparently, most of us, don’t. So, I concluded that we would self-rescue.
The hatch provided what turned out to be a sort of a squig’ger mizzen. We could gybe through about 90 degrees. If we paid close attention to leeway. Here, we had returned to the lee. Landfall was still almost-to-windward, and around a set of obstacles. It became a bit of a game. The object being to land as perfectly as possible back at the dock of origin. Unaided.
The fact is, that we did ‘er.
Achieving the target, deadstick the last 200 yards, wasn’t a real big discovery. Afterall. Miss K was born a sailboat. And, a pretty good one, in fact. Her rudder and keel are truncated to 30% of the original spans. And, that tophamper is not much of a lifting surface. Basically, it was a simple matter of running off in the puffs. Sharpening up in the lulls. And, keeping a very light hand on the wheel. Until, we landed at the launching ramp dock. Against the fender. Shipshape and Bristol fashion.
Obviously, I need to figure out what ails Mr. Yammy. He’s already absorbed an expensive replacement OEM carburetor. A fuel-water separator. New hoses. Secondary in-line filter. New fuel tank. Ethanol-free gas. Fuel stabilizer. And, all the verbal encouragement one motor could hope for. As a pensioner of modest means, a brand new motor is pretty far beyond the pale. That, and any hope of a continued “cruising schedule” this summer. We are already one-third of the way through July. The countdown to Labor Day is thundering across the calendar.
I’m thinking that recidivism is no crime. We recovering ragbaggers need to stick together. Afterall, we can quit whenever we really want to. Right?