Monday, October 24, 2011

In From The Sea But Limping

Saint Marys, Georgia
30 43.14 N 081 32.78 N

Florida HO!  That's what I shouted when Libby awoke me at 0600 and I looked outside.  We were only 1 mile from the jetty at the Saint Marys River entrance.  I could plainly see Feranadina Beach.  Thus Florida HO.  It took us 47 hours to make the 250 miles here from Litte River SC.

So, why have we backtracked to Georgia?  Look on the map.  We are just a fraction of a mile from the Florida/Georgia border.  I thought this was a nice place to anchor and take a restful nap to catch up a little on sleep.

Successful passage yes, but we came in limping.  Sunday evening, the wind died and Libby started the engine.  It started but we were startled by an awful noise that sounded like stones in a meat grinder.  I told her to put it in neutral.  The noise got worse!  What the H could it be.  I opened up the engine compartment and did a visual inspection.   Sure enough, I could see that the right rear engine mount had broken.  The noise came from vibration at the broken mount.  

What could we do about that?  I racked my brain.   Then I had a great idea.  I raised the cabin floor and pulled out two big C clamps that we store down there.   I then crawled over the warm engine and used one of the clamps to hold down the broken mount.  It worked!  Upon restart, the engine sounded normal.  Boy am I glad we had those clamps on board.

Suppose we had no clamp, what could we do?   Well, sailboats have an advantage.  We could just have sat out there waiting for some wind to return.  At the time of the breakdown we were 45 miles off the coast of Georgia.  Then we could have sailed to one of the several inlets along the coast of Gerogia and Northern Florida.   Then we could have waited for flood tide to help, and attempted to sail in.  That would have been problematic because the currents are swift and the winds were light.  We might have failed to navigate to where we needed to go against currents.  Of course, that means we could have sat at anchor still longer until a sufficiently strong wind came along.  But what would keep the batteries charged all those days?  Alternatively, we could have chickened out and called Tow Boat US to come tow us in.

I guess that reveals a truth about our life style.  Given enough time and patience, we could of course navigate anywhere the explorers went.  They had no engines, electric lights, or refrigeration systems. But we would choose to be towed instead.  Our lust for our conveniences overwhelms ancient skills and perseverance.  I know many of our land-based friends think us to be very primitive and adventuresome to live the life we do.   That's true in one sense, but it is also true that we're still much more pampered and spoiled than ancient sailors were.

p.s. We'll stay in the Fernandina area until new motor mounts are installed.  By the way, those mounts were only two years old and the second set of motor mounts since we installed the new engine four years ago.  What should the normal life of marine engine mounts be?  Two years sounds short.  However, we put 2,000 hours on our engine in two years.  That's 5 times the hours per year than typical boat engines experience.


  1. Dick. Sounds like a short life for the motor mounts. Traumerei's were 25 years old when I changed them 3 years ago and the old ones looked fine.

  2. I'd have to agree that something is amiss, or not aligned...
    I would think the mounting materials would be more liable to fail due to age than use, leading me to suspect misalignment of the engine/shaft. Justa thought.

  3. Dick,

    Not sure what your engine problem is. Heron never had a broken mount in 1600 hours. I did have one mount replaced due to rust from salt water leak. Hope you can get some answers from Beta.


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