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Old 07-02-2013, 10:50 AM   #1
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Our first voyage, or the best laid plans, etc...

The boat has been sitting in the slip for about a year while we were making improvements, changes, etc. Been meaning to take her out for quite a while now for a trip to Offatts Bayou and anchor out for a night or two. Everything finally came together last week, the hottest weather so far this year, but we were determined. The boat is in Clearlake about 20 miles south of Houston and Offatts is another 20 miles south by car on the north side of Galveston Island.

Came down to the boat Tuesday afternoon, set the A/C down to cool off the boat and went for some Margaritas to cool us off. Did some shopping on Wednesday morning and decided to defrost the fridge. In the process I broke the capillary to the thermostat. A quick trip to the other side of the lake and $75 and we have a new thermostat. This was an omen we should have paid attention to.

Headed out on Thursday morning and stopped at the fuel dock, spend a bunch of money and then headed out into Galveston Bay on the way to the ship channel. Noticed that the port alternator was pegging the volt meter, not good. Killed the key switch and kept trucking. Played with the AIS to see which boats were going at what speed, would they pass us or could we pass them. Great entertainment. About a third of the way down the ship channel noticed that the starboard engine was losing oil pressure. Shut it down. Decided it would be best to return to the marina since we would have no transportation at Offatts. But we really wanted to anchor out so we got out of the ship channel and pulled up close to Bacliff. Couldn't get too close since the depth sounder doesn't work below 20 feet and Galveston Bay is about nine feet.

Down button for the anchor windlass would not work. Dropped the anchor with the inside switch. Choppy and bouncing all over the place we decided to hang it up and return to the marina. Twin screw boat on a single engine does not handle, period. Had to turn to starboard to get into the slip but on one engine it did not turn sharp enough. Some prop walk to port would have been great to get the back end around but port engine walks to starboard, no help at all. Had a hell of a time to get it to turn into the slip.



Had redone the packing glands last time I was down there so of course after being run for the first time they leaked. Found out the bilge pump was not working so the bilge was knee deep in water with a layer of engine oil on top. Spent Friday on my hands and knees pumping out the bilge.

I don't know why we don't do this more often. But as soon as the alternator is back from the shop and I can get the leaking fitting fixed we WILL do this again.

Bob
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:26 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing and sorry to hear of your troubles. It's a good thing they were all minor and you were able to get back to your homeport. This boating thing is really a "Compromise".

Get all those issues fixed and get back out there and enjoy.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:55 AM   #3
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I would call that a real "shake down" cruise. Many problems don't show up if you never leave the dock. Now you can take care of those, and get down to some enjoyable cruising. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:00 PM   #4
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Preparation is mandatory. Of course, we're talking about machinery, and stuff breaks (or fails to keep working). It keeps Vessel Assist busy most weekends. All we can do is go thru all systems Before leaving the berth, make sure all systems are go, carry as many spare parts as you can manage, always carry a basic tool kit, and make sure the VHS or cell phone works so you can call for help if it comes to that. It took me 7 months on my last boat to go thru and fix stuff before our first cruise. Oh, don't forget your anchor and ground tackle. When you're satisfied that everything is 'ship shape', you can get out and have more fun, not worried about the mechanics. Happy boating!
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:20 PM   #5
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You are a tougher man than me to go to Offats in late June. When we used to live there we would go in the winter, but summer- no way. Hope you had a genset to run your A/C.

You might have tried Redfish Island which is near Baycliff. It got blown away by a hurricane when we were there but restored after we left. It blocks the ship channel waves and is a pretty nice place to hang out, but is probably a zoo on weekends.

It usually takes a short cruise like that to sort everything out. Glad it was all ok in the end.

David
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:11 PM   #6
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Bob, you did great. I wouldn't hesitate to try again as the list of problems will soon disappear. What did you find was the oil leak? You said fitting, but which fitting was it?

I hope your next voyage is successful.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:53 AM   #7
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Thanks for posting Bob. I'm sure you'll sort it all out and be cruising soon, best of luck to you!

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Old 07-03-2013, 09:18 AM   #8
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We had planned for Offats and Moody Gardens earlier in the year but things kept coming up. Now that school is out I wouldn't touch Moody Gardens with a ten foot pole.

We do have a genset and this was going to be part of the sea trial. It's pretty quiet and we did run it for several hours.

The oil line fitting at the turbo was leaking. I tried to tighten the nut but could barely budge it. Did slow the leak some but that was all. The ferrule looks like it isn't on quite right but it's a compression fitting so getting the old ferrule off is quite a trick although I have done it before. The tubing is welded steel and I'm thinking that maybe the weld has split. It's hard to tell by looking at it. I'm taking it to a friend of mine tomorrow for a second opinion.

Bob
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