Yachting

WHEN MURPHY STRIKES

Things can happen to new boats too. ¶ The delivery from Florida to New York went flawlessly. A group of us took turns running the boat north, and I had the wheel on the North Carolina-to-Virginia leg. Shortly after getting the boat settled ¶ Putting the boat into neutral, I assessed our situation. There was no obvious fire. Good. The port engine was operating in get-home mode. OK. The hydraulic power-assist steering was gone. ¶ After listening for noise and checking for heat, I opened the engine-room door. The burned-wire smell was strong. A smoke cloud hovered over the motors. The two Daves looked around the rest of the boat while I went to find the cause of the short circuit. ¶ Char marks were on top of the starboard-side motor’s inboard engine stringer. The 50-amp fuse for the windlass was on the side of the short circuit. I determined that when the meltdown had started, the fuse had blown and the anchor, which had not been secured with its safety prior to departure, had dropped like a rock. Our vessel’s propeller had cut the anchor line. Luckily, the prop hadn’t caught the anchor chain. ¶ We still had one working motor and some steering. It took several hours to wrangle the boat to port. ¶ An engine tech met us and headed below. A few hours later, I heard, “I got it!” coming from the engine room. The tech noticed that some wires, out of sight and running along the inboard of the stringer, were positioned close enough to the bell housing that the hot side rubbed against the housing as the boat ran and bounced, chafing away the insulation. ¶ The tech jury-rigged a setup to get us back to New York the next day, so a full repair could be completed. As we headed out, there was zero visibility. But at least I had two engines.

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