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Old 08-21-2017, 06:29 PM   #1
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Adventure #1: Getting her home

In the welcome thread, I posted that I'm the proud new owner of a 42' Matthews Cabin Cruiser. She's got a set of questionable twin diesel engines, but the hull looks good, the interior appears solid, and will just need to be touched up, sealed, etc.

I'm going to be cruising this thing from her current location in Bremerton, Washington down to Olympia where she'll end up living. However... questionable engines being what they are, I'm interested in some emergency back-up plans to keep in my back pocket.

I think the worst case scenario is a monstrous tug-boat bill, in which case it might be cheaper to simply purchase a couple of new engines. But let's honestly say that both motors fail on me on this first-of-many trips. Aside from having a friend with a boat pull me (which is a viable option), what are the common steps here?

Surely, somebody here has purchased a questionable boat before.
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Old 08-21-2017, 06:34 PM   #2
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Did you have full engine surveys? What did they say was questionable?
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Old 08-21-2017, 06:34 PM   #3
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Sign up for one of the towing services. Boat US or Tow Boat US or whatever (I don't know all the names)
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Old 08-21-2017, 06:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Did you have full engine surveys? What did they say was questionable?
I didn't get a survey done. I took a gamble on an inexpensive boat. Yes, I'm aware of the inverse relationship between the purchase price of a boat and it's resulting overall cost, but I think the hull itself was worth the price. It's really in decent shape.

Anyhow, the engines run, but one of them appears to have a failing water pump, so I've ordered a new water pump and belt. But the engines started and ran. The "questionable" bit was really about my lack of familiarity with this specific diesel engines, and not really about their performance. They're just a rather unknown variable for me.
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Old 08-21-2017, 06:49 PM   #5
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Have your anchor ready to deploy, with enough rode for the depth of water that you will encounter. That will buy some time if required.

However, the only thing likely to stop both engines is a fuel issue. So be prepared with spare filters. If possible have the engine's fuel supply coming from two different tanks.

If worried, have your friend with a boat accompany you. If really worried, have a tow line attached from the other boat.

What else? Wear brown corduroy trousers. Some clean underwear, just in case?
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Old 08-21-2017, 06:55 PM   #6
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How about a weekend run, with say 8 hours of continuous running? That should get you up and personal with the engines, flush out any issues with engines drive train, etc and either green light the delivery trip or tell you what needs doing before the trip.
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:17 PM   #7
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The trip from Bremerton to Olympia is approx 5 hours at 7 knots. Biggest concern is timing the current at the narrows. Have another boat accompany you, in case you need a tow.

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Old 08-21-2017, 07:22 PM   #8
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Have you purchased insurance?

Perhaps, you should reconsider a survey. You will need one to purchase insurance anyway.

What is the condition of the fuel tanks? When was the boat last used? How old is the fuel in the tanks?

Consider trucking the boat home.

There is really no way to sugarcoat this. To take the boat home on its own bottom without a survey or insurance or more knowledge of its mechanical condition is irresponsible.
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Old 08-21-2017, 08:05 PM   #9
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I would recommend you to get an insurance covering the tow in case you need it. Last year I conveyed my boat for a 1 week cruise and while it was a stressful adventure (but a wonderful one) it was a relief to have a good insurance in case.

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Old 08-21-2017, 09:26 PM   #10
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Why are the engines questionable?

What makes you think that?


Juat read the last. If water pump a question watch that temp guage. If they start fast when cold Id trust them. Juat wonder about the fuel delivery. I assume twin diesels.
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Old 08-21-2017, 09:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donsan View Post
There is really no way to sugarcoat this. To take the boat home on its own bottom without a survey or insurance or more knowledge of its mechanical condition is irresponsible.
I appreciate the straight talk. I've been handy with most things I've gotten myself into (fixer-upper motorhomes, fixer-upper houses), but I'm seeing that there are quite a bit more potential issues with a floating mass.

I do know that the boat has been sitting for about 18 months. It just came in from Alaska, and apparently went back and forth from Olympia to Alaska with some frequency. The previous owner got old and sick and couldn't manage it. The guy that bought it from him has had it for a few months, but only bought it because it came with the boathouse, which is what he actually wanted. But he did fire up the engine and it apparently fires right up.

I will need to get a marine survey soon as I do intend to get insurance on it, both for the hull and for liability.
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Old 08-22-2017, 12:27 AM   #12
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What engines?
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Old 08-22-2017, 12:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jovial_cynic View Post

I will need to get a marine survey soon as I do intend to get insurance on it, both for the hull and for liability.
Wifey B: Don't try till you do that. Then check it out locally first. Then if all is good make the trip.

Definitely a good anchor and it will take you decades to figure out what that is and a towing membership from Boat US which is Vessel Assist in that area.
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Old 08-22-2017, 01:30 AM   #14
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Many people have an unfailing trust having two engines (not trusting a single engine). If one engine poops out, you still have the second engine to carry on, but you could have a bit of trouble docking with an uncentered single engine.
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:34 AM   #15
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Apologies for my geographical shortcomings, but can`t you give it a good hard run in protected waters, in company if preferred, to see what happens. I`m no fan of the first trip being a delivery voyage in exposed conditions, thus the "shakedown' suggestion.
My impression is the engines are unknown to you and therefore you lack confidence in them,rather than suspecting some awful fault about to emerge. It will help if you post details of the engine brand/model.
Counsel of perfection says get it surveyed and insured, but I doubt that`s going to happen, at least get tow cover.
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Old 08-22-2017, 05:56 AM   #16
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Unless I missed it what kind of engines are they? #1 thing you need to do is check all your tru hull fittings. IF you have any open ended fitting buy some pipe caps and cap them off. Check the oil about every 15 minutes while running until you get comfortable. Make sure the temp/oil gauge is functioning. Make sure you have a co2 fire extinguisher incase you have a run away. Bring lots of filters, fuel. Install racors to separate water from fuel. Make sure you anchor works, chain and rope in good shape. Buy a GPS that give you good up to date bottom depths, make damn sure the depth finder works. I could go on if this helps
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Old 08-22-2017, 05:57 AM   #17
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When I say check oil, check for oil running out of the block. Valve covers/pressure lines/hydralic lines........
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:31 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the tips, folks. I'm going to get a lot more details about the boat today, to include some closer inspection of the fuel tanks, the engines, the locations of everything, the electrical equipment, etc. I admit, I jumped into this rather blindly, just because my wife and I agreed on the "floor plan" (I don't what they call it in boat terms).

In the meanwhile, for folks who know the puget sound pretty well, there are spots between Bremerton and Olympia that you would recommend for good rates on things like filling up on diesel, getting the boat lifted out of the water for spraying down, painting, inspecting, etc.?
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Old 08-22-2017, 06:43 PM   #19
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If I understand correctly this is a less than one day trip. You could consider getting a delivery capt. to give you a hand. That could well be worth the the modest cost.

The two most likely thing that could cause one or both of the engines to stop is fuel issues and overheating. If the boat has been setting for a while there is most likely some water in the fuel tank so extra filters are a must even for a short run.

If the engines are easy to start and don't smoke much that indicates they most likely have at least ok compression. My first concern would be to find out if they are running at the correct temperature and not overheating. You don't have to go far at all to find that out. I would assume some water and dirt issues in the fuel and be ready to deal with that.

An engine survey can cost a good bit of money because to do it correctly the injectors need to be removed and the compression on each cylinder checked.
A good diesel mechanic could start the engines and look and listen and give you at least a good idea. That would not cost very much.

I don't want to add to your worries but there are several other things that need to be checked by someone with enough experience to say they are most likely safe. A good delivery Capt can generally do these things. I assume no insurance company would cover the boat without a survey made with the boat hauled out.

If SeaTow is there in your area, get tow insurance with them. 800 4 seatow is a number I think you can call. Does not cost very much and well worth it when needed.

I have bought a couple of boats in the 36 to 42 foot range without a survey but I have a lot of boat building/repair experience. Having said that, it is likely pretty risky. Insurance for me is what I need at the dock for the most part. Can not rent a slip without it in many places now days.

Best of luck,

Billy
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:06 PM   #20
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I don't recommend that you do what I did. The fact that I don't have deep pockets and the pockets that I do have have holes in them made my choice easy.

The 34' MT was bought at a price lower then the cost of a full survey, I have been around boats most of my life so decided that I would take a chance and
do the survey my self. The boat was a project boat I new that from the start.

The engine and running gear looked and sounded good, no steering from the FB but lower helm worked fine, had spare filters, tow ins. and my tool box.
Had food and water for at least three days.

It took me two days (about 18 hrs. total) to go from Apollo beach (Tampa bay) - Pine Island FL (Fort Myers area) not one problem on that trip. Although the pucker factor was noticeable. The ride down the ICW was for the most part was quite nice. Good luck on whatever decision you make.
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