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Old 01-17-2016, 07:47 AM   #1
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We made it to Marathon!

It had been an interesting trip down to Marathon from Bradenton, FL.
We had 3 great days from Twin Dolphin Marina in Bradenton to Ft Myers beach, except for the one little 'Hiccup' with loosing my Brian and nervous system on my QSB 5.9 Cummins engine. Oh and also, I had to replace 4, 6 volt batteries. So all in all a pretty expensive stop in FMB.
We were looking for a 3 day window for the run down to Marathon for several days. It looked like we might have to make a 1 day run to Marco, then sit there until we could get another couple of days to hop on down to the Keyes.
We got up Tuesday morning and it looked like we finally had a good chance to go. Winds out of the NE 5-10 and seas less than 2. We made a quick dinghy trip to Topps, the grocery accessable by dinghy, loaded the dink and off we went.
We had a good day down to Marco and decided to go the 'back side' to Goodland, anchor to get an early start Wednesday morning. Due to low tides, we had to leave before 7, almost daylight. I had hoped that by avoiding Cape Romano Shoals, we would have a 'smoother' trip. It wasn't too bad, but after a while, we left the flybridge and went to the lower station for a much easier ride, The conditions a little choppy with an occasional 4-5 footer that would kick us around and back, then ease back down. Fortunately we had the seas off our port quarter as opposed to on the nose or beam.
We made it to Little Shark River and got the anchor set. Life was good!
Then I started checking the NOAA weather and it began looking bad for the last leg to 7 Mile Bridge and Marathon. Reporting winds increasing to 20 kts, seas 1-3 ft, small craft warning in the afternoon and scattered showers and thunder showers. YUCK!, that didn't sound good.
And not good weather for the next several days. It looked like possibly going back up to Goodland or Marco might be the thing to do or stay at Little Shark for????
Tuesday morning NOAA weather looked better, with wind not picking up to later in the afternoon, so we decided to go for it!
We put everything away that could move and got ready to go.
Turned the key and NOTHING! What??? Looked at connections, loosened and retightened connections, turned the key again and again and still nothing at all. My wife tried something and the key worked.....
Hoisted anchor and headed South, It turned out to be a GREAT day. Cloudy and 10-15 kt winds, but light choppy seas and much calmer that we expected.
It was a 6 hr run for us from Little Shark to Book Key harbor. Left at 7 and pulled in at 1:00.
Now life is good, We are at Dockside Marina and set for the next couple of months.
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Old 01-17-2016, 08:02 AM   #2
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Congratulations on your run South! Boating always seems to be an adventure. Someone once said," cruising is boat repair in exotic locations".

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Old 01-17-2016, 08:18 AM   #3
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I was 'a little' concerned with the ignition problem at Little Shark.
There is nothing there at all, no cell service, barely VHF coverage. If we couldn't get her started, I'm not sure just what we would have done. Call USCG I guess and hope tha TowBoat US would come out and tow us in. With the current weather and forecast, that doesn't sound good either.

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Old 01-17-2016, 11:44 AM   #4
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Hey your in are stomping grounds, were at 15st marina. We have lots of friends over there at dock side. A lot of wind here glad you made it.
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Old 01-17-2016, 12:20 PM   #5
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so what did your wife do?????
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:22 PM   #6
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When the wind dies down go over to Burdine's at the other end of the harbor. Best french fries in the Keys. Their burgers are not bad either.
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:42 PM   #7
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I had a similar intermittent start problem that would come and go for a year or more. Sometimes I'd turn the key and the engine would start right up. Other times, nothing happened when turning the key. It was very hard to diagnose being so intermittent.

I changed key switches, checked and double checked connections and continuity, but the problem always seemed to come back. I got very good at hot wiring that engine with a screwdriver across the solenoid to hot cable. Eventually I got a remote start switch to make it safer and have found that switch to be a valued tool in my bag of tricks.

Finally, I found a splice in the ignition hot wire. I replaced the hot wire from my switch to the start solenoid (I think) and the problem was solved.
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
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so what did your wife do?????
Neither of us know...
I hope we can get it figured out.
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Old 01-17-2016, 01:51 PM   #9
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Neither of us know...
I hope we can get it figured out.
She probably knows and just won't tell you to make sure you don't leave her behind somewhere.


We had the same problem. Turned out to be a bad battery switch that is mounted next to the motor. It is used to switch between only the start batteries or start and house if the start batts are down.
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:15 PM   #10
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Only time our boat wouldn't start the neutral switch on the transmission was engaged yet it looked like the shifter was in neutral, it was not quite. Just a little wiggle of the shifter and the Perkins sprang to life......
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Old 01-17-2016, 05:28 PM   #11
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Neither of us know...
I hope we can get it figured out.
Thanks for the trip write up. A couple of months in the Keys this time of year ain't bad at all.

Could it have been the neutral lockout switch on the gear control. Sometimes bumping that can mysteriously fix a problem, or cause one.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:31 PM   #12
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OK, you made it and at least for now, the trauma of boating is over. It's Margarita time! Make sure to engage in the great boating community while you're there!
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:52 PM   #13
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Oh yep, that is what we do down here. It's our 8th year we've come down. Always a great trip, some better than others, but always glad to be here in the Florida Keyes.
Now, if this wind would just calm down a little....
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