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Old 06-04-2018, 11:02 PM   #1
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Remember that show.....

Remember that show….

"That Was The Week That Was", or abbreviated TW3? Many of you are probably not old enough to remember it, but was a great show, basically a highlight of the prior week’s activities and headlines.

Well this past week could be titled “That Was The Cruise That Almost Was”. Let me explain.

My wife and I took my boat down 235 miles on the Columbia River to Portland, OR to have some canvas work done. That was about a month ago. We met with the canvas guy who, by the way, had done canvas work for me twice before and I knew the quality of his work and he was priced right. He said it should take him about 2-3 weeks to have it all done. I gave him a deposit and we drove home.

TYEE Yacht Club, in Portland, was kind enough to let me keep my boat at their docks because we have reciprocal moorage privileges with them, but that usually entails a 2-3 day stay. They went way beyond the call of duty to let me keep it there that long.

Then, after repeated calls with the canvas guy he finally said that he would not have the job done by the time we needed to pick up the boat so he would arrange (on his nickel) to drive up here and complete the job after I got the boat home.

So Saturday morning a friend who had agreed to help me bring the boat back and I drove to Portland to retrieve it. We got to the boat just fine, got our stuff unloaded without issues. I fired up the engines and they both started just fine. Now, keep in mind that the place where TYEE had let me keep the boat did not have power available, so the boat had been there for a month without being hooked to power. I had this fear that we’d get down there and the engines wouldn’t start, but that was all for naught.

But what we didn’t have was any 120V power, nor did we have any 12VDC or 24VDC power to the instruments, no VHF, no chart plotter, etc. But what we did have was a good chart book and I’d been up and down the river a few times before so was pretty familiar with its twists and turns.

We thanked the commodore of TYEE for extending their hospitality and pulled out, intending to go a couple of miles downstream to another yacht club (Columbia River Yacht Club) to fuel up. We got in and tied to their fuel dock only to realize that the instructions to their fuel pump controls were on my cell phone which was still in the rental car which, in all the confusion about not having power, we had forgotten to take back to Enterprise. This gets better. So Dave stayed with the boat, my plan was to call him with the codes as soon as I got my phone so he could fuel me up.

So, as luck would have it there was a boat from TowBoatUS there fueling up. I begged and pleaded with him for a ride up to TYEE so I could return the car. He agreed and gave me the ride, I tipped him $20 for his kindness and I returned the car. I called Dave, he wrote down the codes and all was right with the world. Well, you know those guys from Enterprise, the “We’ll pick you up” guys, when I got there with the car and asked for a ride back he said he couldn’t but if I called Uber he’d take the Uber charge off my rental bill. That worked for me.

So back to the other CRYC, only to face another issue. CRYC’s fuel dock can’t be reached from land. Only by boat, but my boat was already at the fuel dock. So we found a willing boater who gave me a 100yard lift from one dock to the fuel dock.

Meanwhile Dave had pumped ~330 gallons of diesel into the boat, we fired up the engines and headed out. Our original plan was to make the noon upstream lock at Bonneville, which was about 30 miles upstream against about a 4kt current. So we headed out, running on plane, headed for the dam.

Oh, and did I mention we had no VHF? But I did have their phone number so I called them, explained the situation to them and told them we’d be there by 3:00, the next upstream lockage. We got there right at 3:00, I called them on the phone and told them we were there, got the green light to enter and got in and tied up without any issues.

After a fast ride up, we left the lock right at 3:30 and headed to The Dalles, OR where we were going to spend the night. It’s a 45 mile run and we got there right at 5:30. 45 miles in 2 hours meant we were running at 22.5kts Speed Over Ground. Not too bad figuring we were fighting the current.

So, for this next bit of fun and games, here’s an overhead shot of The Dalles YC docks. I’ve stayed here before and it’s been great. Not so much this time.
[img]https://s25.postimg.cc/rhqfxqrfj/The_Dalles_YC.jpg[/img]

We needed to reset our fenders so I went into neutral on both engines, stopped in mid-river and both of us went below to readjust the fender heights. As I was doing that I looked up and we were headed quickly toward the south shore which was a rock breakwater outside the marina. I ran up to the upper helm and tried to back us away from the rocks but couldn’t get the port engine to respond. It either was in forward gear or if I tried to bring it to neutral, it shut off. I fiddled with it for a couple of minutes and after deciding there was no other option, we headed into the marina.

As luck would have it, there was a party going on right on the docks where we had to pass by. Oh, and did I mention that I had to come in under power to maintain both engines running, and we were coming in HOT as they would say in Top Gun? The people at the party started yelling at us to slow down. I tried to explain as I roared by that I had an engine malfunctioning and couldn’t slow down. Also, there happened to be two wakeboard boats tied to the docks right in front of those two corner boat houses.

Half the people on the boathouse docks were still yelling for us to slow down, the other half were yelling “Don’t hit my frickin’ boat” and a few others were yelling other stuff. The distance between those two corner boat houses and the rock breakwater is about 60’. The distance between the boat houses and the docks is about 100’. In that short space I did two FULL 360* circles while trying to get the boat slowed down and under control. Now the yelling had changed to “HOOOOOLLLLYYYY SHHHHIIIITTT” as in “were gonna see one helluva crash here”.

I finally got the boat under some semblance of control and managed to get between the docks and the rock breakwater and headed toward the open end that’s east of the docks. We did two more FULL 360* turns in that space (it’s about 125’ from the docks to shore) before I finally got the boat slowed down and turned parallel to the long dock where we side tied for the night. Here’s what that looked like….


So, being the prudent mariners we were, we first cracked a beer except it was a warm beer because there was no refrigeration working on the boat. We tried to hook up to shore power. They had a 50A 240VAC connection but we couldn’t get anything out of it. The GFI breaker didn’t trip but there was no power. A guy came over from the yacht club and told us we basically were out of luck because they had rewired the docks to comply with the new power regs and nothing had worked since they rewired it. Great.

Then we started troubleshooting to see what we could figure out what we could do. We ended up hooking up a connection to their 30A 120VAC connection and hooked a regular extension cord to it and brought it into the boat, but as soon as I tried to plug it into a wall socked the GFI on the dock tripped. So we just used the extension cord to charge up the cell phones and plugged in the ice maker so we’d have some ice.

I talked with my mechanic on Saturday evening and he couldn’t give us any real troubleshooting ideas. We called a friend from our yacht club who drove down Sunday morning to pick us up and bring our sorry butts home. So to make a long story short, we are back home and the boat is still in The Dalles.

The boat is going to be there for awhile because Friday my wife and I are boarding a jet to Zurich for a 2 week Viking River Cruise that will eventually drop us in Paris for 4 days there. I gave the mechanic my phone number so he could call me if he needs to get in touch with me.

So what an adventure this trip turned out to be. I’m actually a bit happy to be heading out of town for a much needed vacation, but there’s a part of me that’s going to be worried about what’s going on with the boat.

Life is good.
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:32 AM   #2
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That is the most I have ever read from you. Hope you get things fixed.

Need a crew when it is fixed, count me in.
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:16 PM   #3
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I was so discombobulated by all of this that in my original post I forgot to mention that the boat has hydraulic shifting and throttle controls. So it makes sense that if a hydraulic line blows you're going to lose control of those two functions on that engine. While doing some troubleshooting I went down into the engine room and found hydraulic fluid on the floor and in the bilge, beneath where the port engine controls are.

I also forgot to mention that the mechanic and his son, who also works there, are headed down early today to try to fix the boats. I sat with both of them yesterday for about 45 minutes explaining what happened, what symptoms we saw and we brainstormed about what the problems could be. Well, actually they brainstormed and I pretty much just tossed in bits of info to the discussion.

They both are familiar with the controls on my boat and I will add that they have said that my boat is the only one they would make a "house call" on to do a repair. Aside from being my mechanic, Jim is a good friend.
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:35 PM   #4
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Egad

Would be interesting to get a playback of the images going through your head at the time!

How fast were you going?

If there's a next time (knock on wood!!!!!!!!!!!) would you fight the urge to get to a safe tie up and do donuts in open water instead until things got under control? Pretty easy from here to come up with that question, not being at the helm at the time
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:56 PM   #5
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Here are some of the pics I took.These were taking in the Columbia Gorge which is supposedly one of the mostscenic areas of the country. I'm inclined to agree.






[img]https://s25.postimg.cc/r9gcbcj8v/IMG_0261.jpg[/img]


"Would be interesting to get a playback of the images going through your head at the time!

How fast were you going?

If there's a next time (knock on wood!!!!!!!!!!!) would you fight the urge to get to a safe tie up and do donuts in open water instead until things got under control? Pretty easy from here to come up with that question, not being at the helm at the time"

Murray, I don't think I'd want to watch that video. My mind was going about 200 miles an hour and my hands were (as the old phrase goes) sh!ttin' and gittin' on the shifters and throttles. I did check on YouTube to see if anyone had taken a video of my near-disaster, but I didn't find anything.


The boat's speed at the time of all those whirli=gigs was about 7-8kts.


As to the decision to get to the dock, when I made the decision to get to the dock there were a couple of things in my mind:
1. That is the only dock around. The next one is at Arlington, but it's 55 miles further up river and we'd have to go through 2 more locks to get there, so that really wasn't a logical choice.
2. I knew it was going to be a struggle to get to a dock with the way the hydraulic controls were all F'd up, but there really was not any other option.


If there was to be a next time I'm afraid I'd have to make that same decision.
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Old 06-05-2018, 03:06 PM   #6
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A few more….







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Old 06-05-2018, 03:36 PM   #7
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Harrowing story. I’m really glad that you got to the dock safe and sound without breaking anything. No way I could have done it.
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Old 06-05-2018, 04:16 PM   #8
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Purdy for sure.

7 to 8 knots is our cruising speed...your frame of reference regarding speed is different than mine!
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Old 06-05-2018, 04:36 PM   #9
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Greetings,
Mr. GFC. Enjoy your trip. Your boat will still be there when you get back and no amount of worry, fretting, gnashing of teeth or donning of sackcloth and ashes will do anything other than ruin your morning "omelet au champignons..."


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Old 06-05-2018, 05:54 PM   #10
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No way I could have done it.
Dave, you might surprise yourself. Looking back on my "fun time at The Dalles" I firmly believe that the only reason I didn't hit anything was that all that "sh!ttin' and gittin'" on the throttles and shifters was done instinctively. If I'd had to take time to think about what I needed to do we've have been banging off docks, boats, rock, and all kinds of other things that gelcoat doesn't like.

"7 to 8 knots is our cruising speed...your frame of reference regarding speed is different than mine! "

Your cruising speed is pretty much what mine is NORMALLY. We were running against a 4kt current most of the way. I'd already done the math in my head, figuring if we'd cruised at 9kts against a 4kt current our SOG would have been 5kts. To do that for a 235 mile trip would have been about 47 hours cruise time plus 2 hours total for the locks, and that's if everything went smoothly.


Mr. RTF, we will try to have a good time across the pond. I'm still going to be thinking about the boat, but at least it won't be first in my mind.
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Old 06-05-2018, 06:34 PM   #11
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We call these incidents "rocking chair stories." Someday you will think about this and laugh. Especially the "making donuts."
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:07 PM   #12
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Howard, tonight my wife and I had dinner with Crusty Chief and ASD and their wives. There were quite a few rocking chair stories told over dinner. Great folks those two pairs. Tomorrow we're going down to the docks to take a tour of their boats. We have our 8 year old grandson with us. He's on sick leave from school today and tomorrow so if he's up to it we'll take him with us.


After all, we do have Klondike bars to collect!
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:10 PM   #13
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Howard, tonight my wife and I had dinner with Crusty Chief and ASD and their wives. There were quite a few rocking chair stories told over dinner. Great folks those two pairs. Tomorrow we're going down to the docks to take a tour of their boats....
Bring a spoon...Crusty Chief will no doubt serve some food from his sparkling clean engine room floor
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Old 06-05-2018, 11:30 PM   #14
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Have a great time.
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:58 AM   #15
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Bring a spoon...Crusty Chief will no doubt serve some food from his sparkling clean engine room floor
I swear I see him with a rag and spray cleaner almost ever day!!! Lot cleaner than mine....
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Old 06-06-2018, 10:59 AM   #16
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Mike, I hope you can recoup the money for the damage the battery folks caused.....
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Old 06-27-2018, 08:10 PM   #17
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I thought it was about time I gave y'all an update on whatwas discovered with the boat, what the status is now and what needs to be donewith the boat in the future. The lengthy delay between when the boatdid its ballet in The Dalles Marina and now is that we had a trip to Europealready scheduled, fully paid for, and the trip insurance doesn’t cover boatrepairs.


First of all, the problems with the electrical system weredue to a blown AC circuit board in the inverter. It was not something the guys who installedthe new batteries did.



As far as the port engine stuck in gear, the mechanic fromhere who normally works on the boat said he first thought it would turn out tobe a control module that is mounted on the trans and controls theshifting. He took it out, disassembledit and found it in good condition. Hemade a few phone calls and after consulting with some Twin Disc experts theycame to the conclusion that the trans needs to come out.



For that to happen the boat needs to be returned toPortland. There’s no place upriver fromthere that can pull the boat out of the water, and the transremoval/repair/reinstall is not something they would do with the boat in thewater.



So I’m waiting for a call back from the marina in Portland thatwill do the repair work to see when they can get it in and the work done. I’m also waiting for a call back from my crewmember to make sure he will be available to help get the boat back downstream.



Then we’ll start out, running the boat on one engine the ~95 milesdownriver to the marina. That will involvegoing through one lock, turning to port from the Columbia to the WillametteRiver, then a turn to starboard to go down the Multnomah Channel and finallyanother turn to port to get into the boat yard’s docks.



At this point I don’t know when we’ll be able to do it or how longthe repair will take once we get it to the boat yard.



I’ve pretty much written this summer’s boating off. DAMMIT!




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Old 06-28-2018, 11:31 AM   #18
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Sucks! See you Sunday
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