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Date: 10 August 2020. To the Boatyard.


For several years I have been paying a series of divers to clean the bottom of Seaweed each month. Zincs are changed as needed. All in all, I have been satisfied. When I was able to get into the boatyard for a haul-out and paint plus more (there is always more!) I deliberately did not say anything to the current diver. This is an Excellent way to verify that the scraping is being done well.

A great diver is worth the price. He can
identify issues before they become a problem.

Check out Seaweed's bottom:

There were a few large barnacles and perhaps a couple dozen smaller ones near the waterline. This is understandable after a half dozen years without bottom paint. My zincs were in good shape. The condition is a tribute to the diver I have now. He has been doing a great job.

When I told the boatyard (Salt Creek 727-895-4481 in St. Petersburg, FL) that Seaweed had not been hauled for several years they were naturally a bit concerned about their equipment. Barnacles and oysters can cut straps used for the lift. I assured them that I had a regular diver and all would be well.


On the way to the boatyard however I ran into a couple of problems. One was self-inflicted. The other was unfortunate. Problem Two was a direct result of Problem One.

First, the self-inflicted: Aboard Seaweed I have a radiator cap atop an overflow for the coolant. When I opened it pre-trip, apparently I did not get the cap seated correctly. Thus, when the engine heated up coolant was escaping around the cap.

The RADIATOR CAP is near my Racor fuel/water
separator. Just below that is an OVERFLOW ↓ CONTAINER.


You may note the arrow written on the top of my Racor. It's so that when I'm tense I don't have to wonder which way to turn the top. Now I am certain most folks perform well under pressure. I prefer to have clear directions so I cannot possibly mess up when stressed.


This idea, to mark my Racor filter assembly cover, is not my own. I adapted this from Lily Marie. For details on one of the coolest engine rooms in existence, the Life onboard Lily Maria (Thompson 44 M/V) article has solutions you might like to implement. Captain Colin was a smart fellow.

Lily Maria is a 44' Thompson motor vessel.


Like most boat problems, it is seldom ONE THING. Usually
another will exacerbate the situation causing a cascade failure.

That is the exact thing I experienced on the way to the boatyard. The engine overheated first.

Second, the breakdown: Initially I was running Seaweed in place. After a half hour or so all was well so I got underway. Shortly thereafter she began to overheat. I shut down and looked. There appeared to be water bubbling out around the top of the radiator cap. After a few minutes I added more coolant and restarted.

Then I got back underway. You see, I had a long overdue appointment at the boat yard for a haul out. Well, Seaweed stalled out a second time after about 45 minutes. I was near a channel marker so lasso'ed it. Yes, I know you're not supposed to tie off. On a Monday morning with zero boat traffic and shallow areas down wind of my location, this seemed like a good idea.

Tying off to a channel marker is against the rules. So too is anchoring in a
channel. Thus, I opted for the lesser of two evils while assessing my issues.

In my defense, I would like to add that there was zero boat
traffic around and this was a temporary solution to a bad situation.

One Issue:

The TUBE from my oil pressure sending unit had gotten hot, melted, and come loose from the fitting.

When I opened the engine room hatch I saw oil sprayed over the batteries on my port side. The engine was obviously too hot. It was at that point I determined that my problems needed a professional. This was beyond my level of expertise.

First, I telephoned TowBoatUS for their assistance. They sent out Captain Jason. He arrived shortly after I called. I could have used the VHF radio however I was embarrassed... Over the phone was a bit more discrete.

Side Note regarding TowBoatUS: I love love love them, and have always been satisfied with both the speed and level of service. There is another company, SeaTow, which provides similar services. My advice would be to see which company is most prevalent in your area and pick them.

TowBoatUS Cap'n Jason quickly got Seaweed secured
to his vessel. Thus began the tow to Salt Creek Boat Yard.

My engine had overheated. Oil was in the bilge. I do have an oil absorbent pad in the bilge so no oil went overboard. Still, it was messy. I knew the issues I had would require a mechanic. This was beyond my scope of understanding. I did check the oil dipstick and fortunately there was no water in my engine block. I had not blown the head gasket, I hoped!!!

In the meantime I pondered my situation. I was up the
creek with a single engine boat and no auxiliary propulsion.

I needed a solution, one that could help me get to safety if/when my main engine fails. That is when I remembered the lovely couple on M/V Manatee. In the
Manatee Moves article I learned of Ted and Sarah's solution. With modification, I believed I could utilize that  brilliant idea albeit on a smaller scale for my Seaweed.

Though Ted and Sarah live aboard a Kadey Krogen 36, on
the way to the boatyard I passed by another KK, the 42' version.

She's a KK42, and her name is Henrietta. Isn't she just the prettiest gal?


And a final picture of Henrietta out of San Diego, California:

And thus my journey to the boatyard was a bit eventful. The good was Jason and TowBoatUS towing service. One fee, once per year, and my Seaweed is safe from breakdowns. But I need more. I want to be able to self rescue.

Additionally, as I was expanding the job (one-more-thing-itis) I knew my boatyard costs were going to rise. And too, Tom the Salt Creek boatyard manager would not be able to give me an estimate until the jobs were underway. That's scary.

More shortly. I have been having computer difficulties. Argh!!! Thank you for reading.

Have you ever broken down on the way to the boatyard?
And, what was your issue?

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2020, 2023

Categories: Boats, Characters, In the Bilges, Locations, Security,

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A favorite aphorism:  If you want few problems go simple. If you require the comforts of home then you have to live with the breakdown problems. One has to decide between a boat that you live on or a house on the water that can be moved. Each has its pros and cons. Richard Packard.

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