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Old 10-09-2012, 04:21 PM   #1
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The trip from Stuart, FL toward St. Marks, Fl

I am into the 6th day of this trip, singlehanding a 1973 Gulfstar 36 from Stuart, Florida (on the East coast of Florida) and heading toward my final destination of St. Marks, Florida, in the panhandle. Started out last Wednesday (October 3rd), taking the Okeechobee Waterway across the Florida peninsula. Got as far as Lake Okeechobee on Wednesday, and anchored out of the channel and just off the shore (about 300 yards). A light east wind was forecast, and I figured that it would be a pleasant night. Wasn't, though. Rolled a lot.

Next day got as far as Denaud, and anchored a bit beyond that in the Calahoochie River which is quite wide with deep water pretty much up to the bank. A pleasant night.

Next day stopped to refuel at Fort Myers, and then proceeded on down the Waterway to Useppa Island, where there is a very good anchorage. Lots of sailboats anchored there, and they were running back and forth in their dinghies and making friends. I felt like an outsider, with my trawler, which is ironic considering that I had a sailboat for 17 years. :-)

Next day (Saturday) out into the Gulf of Mexico at Charlotte Harbor, and proceeded north about 3 miles offshore. Lots and lots of crab traps in the water, and my autopilot seems to want to unerringly head directly for one everytime it gets a chance! Also thousands and thousands of small fish (pin fish?) floating on the surface of the water. Had hoped to anchor in the Manatee River for the night, but it got too late, so anchored in the Gulf just off Anna Marie Island, near the southern entrance to Tampa Bay. Rolled a bit. I need to buy some rocker stoppers!

Next day (Sunday) got up early and headed for Clearwater. Just before the outer channel marker, the port engine overheated very badly, and I limped in to the Clearwater Municipal Marina on one engine. Lots of smoke in the salon, lots of greasy soot all over everything. Not fun.

Monday morning called a "mobile mechanic" and he came out and looked at things. Shift cable for port engine will not work, but the transmission works OK when shift cable is disconnected. Strainer looks OK. I dove the bottom and nothing blocking the raw water intake. Impeller looks OK, although he is going to replace the impellers on both engines just on general principles. Hose from engine to exhaust has big hole in it.

Not sure why I do all this. Perhaps it is kind of like beating your head against the wall, in that it just feels so doggoned good when you stop!

John
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:41 PM   #2
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John,

I've been there, I feel your pain. Kinda makes ya glad you've got twin engines though. I'm sure you'll figure out what's going on and be on your way again.

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Old 10-09-2012, 09:02 PM   #3
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Welcome to boat ownership. It reminds me that whenever I'm picking up a new boat, to make sure I have someone better than I am as the ship's engineer. Last time, I hired a Captain while I did the engineering. I was fixing most of the three days we were on the delivery. Best of luck....and don't worry, ....all this is fodder for future stories. It's an adventure. Sometimes fun and sometimes not, but you're out there.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:00 PM   #4
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What's that we say, "cruising is fixing your boat in exotic places". Hope there is not serious damage. If you had to pick a place to have trouble, Clearwater is not too bad. The clearwater St. Pete area has some really good marine trades people around. Hope this works out well, and you have an uneventful trip from here out.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:40 AM   #5
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John, any news of the trip?
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:51 AM   #6
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No, still in a slip at the Clearwater marina. The "Marine Doctor" has been working on the engine for the past few days. Replaced a connection pipe going from the manifold to the exhaust, which had burst from the heat, replaced shift cables for the port engine -- the heat caused the plastic to melt on the shift cables and so could not shift the engine. I was afraid the inability to shift was a transmission problem, so feel OK that it was only shift cables. Put in new impellers (both engines, of course), changed the oil in the port engine, and today will clean the air intake filters (most likely clogged with greasy soot, which is all over everything), and see if the engine will start.

I've decided to just rent the slip for a month, since I am fast approaching the point at which taking it by the day will be the same as taking it for a month. Not that I plan to be here for a month, but that will let me rent a car and run home for a bit and wait for better weather. Weather is sunny, but 15-knot winds on the nose for the next several days.

So life goes on. Thanks for inquiring.

John
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:07 PM   #7
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They got the port engine going today, and it seems to run fine. So apparently the severe overheating did not damage it internally. As the guy said, these old Perkins are tough engines! Still do not know why it decided to overheat, which is kind of worrisome. New impellers, new shift cables, oil changes in both engines, new hoses, lots of labor involved, no doubt a nice sized bill coming up. Oh well.

Anyway, tomorrow afternoon I plan to run North up to Tarpon Springs, anchor at the power plant in the Anclote River for the night, and then head north on Sunday morning and try to anchor in the barge canal on Sunday night. Then on to Steinhatchee on Monday, and if all goes well will be in St. Marks (home!!) sometime Tuesday afternoon. Keep your fingers crossed.

John
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:39 PM   #8
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Congrats on meeting your cruising challenge head-on, John. Surely, you'll gain confidence in your boat as you fix and replace one thing after another. A big sigh of relief on that engine, I bet.
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:52 AM   #9
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Anyone doing a run up or down the Caloosahatchie , remember we have a free O'nite dock with 15A of 120V for wandering cruisers.

About 1 mile East of the Ortona Lock.

8 ft of water OK to about 75 ft.LOA
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:02 AM   #10
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FF wrote:

"Anyone doing a run up or down the Caloosahatchie , remember we have a free O'nite dock with 15A of 120V for wandering cruisers.



NOW you tell me!! :-) Wish I would have known that when I was coming through. Would have liked to have met you.

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Old 10-13-2012, 08:21 AM   #11
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Keep a close watch on the water depths in the big bend area!Have a good trip.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:34 AM   #12
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NOW you tell me!! :-) Wish I would have known that when I was coming through. Would have liked to have met you.

We are there 1 Nov till about 1 May , so you would have to rafted to LUCY , the boat in the photo.

Better when I know your coming , and since we have a pretty good shop setup,
A 6x 48 sander , table saw and drill press can ease some tasks that hand tools handle poorly.
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post

Better when I know your coming , and since we have a pretty good shop setup,
A 6x 48 sander , table saw and drill press can ease some tasks that hand tools handle poorly.

Carefull, FF. You'll find us lining up at your dock to use the shop!
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:11 PM   #14
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I overnighted at Freds dock in 2009 it is a very nice spot. It is very good of him to offer this to cruisers.
Thanks Fred, I hope we'll be passing that way again.
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:06 AM   #15
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Carefull, FF. You'll find us lining up at your dock to use the shop!

When the summer hurricane hole folks get underway , there is sometimes room for more than just an O 'nite stop.

Sometimes ,
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Old 10-17-2012, 04:58 PM   #16
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CONTINUING THE TRIP. The port engine was running OK, with no sign of overheating, so checked out of the Clearwater Municipa Marina on Saturday, and after a short sea trial with the "Marine Doctor" to make sure everything was OK, dropped him off at the dock and did an afternoon run to Tarpon Springs. Spend the night in the City Marina there, and headed North the next day.

Spent Sunday night anchored in the Florida Barge Canal. Long run in (and back out) but I wanted a quiet anchorage, and that is a good one. Some dragging near the turning area, but anchoring up near the bridge (U.S. 19) was better, and spent an uneventful night there.

Monday morning got up early and headed out, going North again. Pulled into Steinhatchee and stayed at the Sea Hag Marina, which had been recommended to me.

Tuesday morning, headed NW to St. Marks, and pulled in there about 5 PM. My slip was ready, and after I got the boat tied up and secured, a friend picked me up and brought me home. Good to go, good to come back.

Overall, except for the engine overheating, it was a good trip. I was fortunate to have good weather.

John
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:15 PM   #17
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John: I'm the veteran of many a trip home with old machines that were not in the condition to undertake such a journey. When I finally arrived after a lot of stress and strife, I had to look back once more at what I brought home, as if to understand that it was not easy for either of us, but after all, it was "us" that made the journey. I hope you're OK with each other, cuz at the risk of sounding romantic, in future journeys, it will always be at least the two of you in the adventure, discovery, challenge, and sometimes just simple learning. Like it or not, you have to count on one another, and it helps to like it instead of not.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:49 AM   #18
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"Some dragging near the turning area,"

What are you using for anchors , and how do you set the anchors?
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:22 AM   #19
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FF wrote:

"What are you using for anchors , and how do you set the anchors"

I used a single Fortress. The tide was going out, so the boat was moving. I let the anchor down and then kept letting out line until I had about 40 feet out (anchor has about 15' of chain at the beginning, then rope) and I felt it catch. So held it until it seemed to be caught, then let out about 20 more feet and cleated it off. Watched it for a bit and the boat seemed stable. Good hard tugs did not dislodge the anchor. So it did not drag immediately. But there was a crab trap nearby, and after I poured my sundowner and relaxed for a bit, I noticed that the crab trap was not quite as near. Watched some more, and the boat was definitely moving with the outgoing tide. Not fast, but enough to be worrisome. So pulled it up (it came up fairly easily, which was ominous) and moved up by the bridge (U.S. 19). Anchored the same way, but this time it was firm, and quite hard to get up the next morning. Conclusion: the holding is better up by the bridge than there at the turning basin. :-)
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:30 AM   #20
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Healhustler wrote:

"John: I'm the veteran of many a trip home with old machines that were not in the condition to undertake such a journey."

Well, this was an older boat (1973), but it was what I could afford to buy, and I am very happy with it. My brother-in-law bought a fairly new Mainship Expedition not too long ago, and brought it down from Annapolis to Wilmington. He had some problems on his journey. I think it is all part of the game. At any rate, I did the journey, and you learn more when things break than when everything runs smooth. (I think that is probably known as rationalization).
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