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Date: 23 September 2014. Leaving Steinhatchee (and engine update)


While chatting with a friend who lives aboard a 34' Mainship, we discussed helpers who lack skill and create worse problems than they solve. Often stopping and calling in a professional is by far the better choice than continuing down the nickel-and-dime aisle. And that is where I have been a time or three. Of late though, I have been blessed to not deal with too many without the brain cells necessary to function. There are exceptions however.


As you may recall I was towed back into Steinhatchee by Captain Dave of TowBoatUS. After the last time I went through a thorough diagnosis of what went wrong.  Cap'n Will of Beachcomber was a great help in determining the probable problem. [See the Diagnosing a Blown Bearing article.]

Part of the confirmation process involved pulling the injectors. When I contacted Just Right Marine [http://justrightmarine.com] in Carrabelle, I was told in no uncertain terms to stop messing with the motor and Jerry would fix it. Apparently my injectors are pressed in and believe me I tried to remove 'em. No, I did not damage the things. I was careful after all...

After that determination, the next problem was finding a reliable towing company to get me to Carrabelle where I had a network of new friends and am comfortable with the quality of work, all done by professionals. My initial tow-truck company choice arrived late, with a truck/trailer combination that would not work and a driver with the surliest attitude this side of a divorcing spouse. ARGH!

Remember the old saying about how you can have it good, cheap or fast?
Pick any two.  Well, I had opted for cheap and fast and it was not any good at all.


So I was at a dock by a ramp in Steinhatchee, stuck there with a motor that would not run and definitely in the wrong place. Fortunately I had made friends with the folks at Ellison's Fishery and they were kind enough to tow me back to the anchorage where I belonged.



Let me interject one thing I heard while visiting with the gals in the office at Ellison's. One said "We're running low on crabs" and shortly thereafter the crab-boat was underway to pull traps. That is how fresh their seafood is.



And the prices certainly met my budget. If you're in Steinhatchee, visit them.


Steinhatchee is a wonderful place however the boating in that community is nearly 100% outboard motors. I wanted a place where an inboard diesel is the norm, not an oddity fixed on the side by somebody who knows his outboards. That meant getting back to Carrabelle.

In that regard I checked with Jerry who made the phone connection for me to Marshall Marine. [Mike Marshall's website is http://boattransport.net.] Arrangements were made for a large hydraulic trailer to pick Seaweed up in Steinhatchee then bring us back to Carrabelle.


Next I needed to hire a lift to put Seaweed on the trailer. Several phone calls later led me to River Haven. They had the best prices and gal on the phone quoted $23 to lift my boat onto the trailer. She also said $1 per foot overnight for dockage -- no power, but water was available.

Because Marshall Marine was due to arrive at 0830 in the morning I wanted to be ready, thus I should spend the night on the dock. But first I needed to get Seaweed to said dock. I have this basic belief that boaters are good folks, and at a nearby pier I noticed some activity so rowed Algae over and chatted with a couple of fellows I met that night. Matt and Chris were up for the adventure and promised to meet me at Seaweed in an hour.

One hour later my rescuers arrived in their 24' cuddy cabin cruiser. Chris and Matt maneuvered beside me, and then took a line from my bow. It was tougher than it could have been because the current was with us. In the deep of night (it was about 2200 aka 10 p.m.) and it was dark with nary a sliver of moon.  We even went through a bridge before getting to the place that had quoted $23 for my lift onto the Marshall Marine trailer. 


Like champs, the men got Skipper and I safely to the dock, and tied Seaweed securely. Chris was captain while Matt (on the right) manned the spotlight and made an excellent navigator. Thanks fellows. I hope your fishing and scalloping were as successful as moving my Seaweed. You are the best!

In the morning I went into the office and was delighted to be charged just $11.50 for the haul-out. Apparently it's $1 per foot for launch and retrieval but since I was having just one part of the procedure, half price.  With the dockage and a coffee here is my receipt: Please note the one on the left.

The facilities are clean and the staff nice. The coffee was okay too. There was no power where I was. What I liked best though is that there are hoses everywhere on that dock. I was able to give Seaweed a bath so she would be clean for the trailer in the morning. It made for a late night, but I was happy to have her tidy again. As a matter of fact, all was well in my world.

Then came haul out on the lift. It was a rush job and as you can see, well, there was a reason I was not impressed. The tilt you see is not the camera. Seaweed is crooked in the slings.

An older man (the owner?) told me because I was using a hydraulic trailer rather than a regular one the fee would be higher. That was an unexpected and unwelcome development. And the marina had me by the hull, so I paid. Rather than the $23 (that turned into $11.50) I was zapped for an additional $37.50. Apparently a hydraulic trailer changes everything, including the cost of a lift. Beware.

Proof of the second charge is the receipt on the right: I am still steamed. I have since been told that some places (though not all) charge extra depending upon the type of trailer your boat is lifted onto. Just be aware that things can change mid-lift, as it did for me at River Haven Marina in Steinhatchee. Be smarter than I was.

I wanted out of that place and was glad to be gone. Seaweed was properly set on the trailer and I was relieved to be heading back into familiar territory where prices quoted are the final price paid. What a concept, eh?!?

Arthur (the driver) and his son were wonderful. It was Arthur's hydraulic trailer, and gosh, it could have handled a much larger vessel than mine. Seaweed looked so tiny all the way at the back of the trailer.


When I asked Arthur if he ever rented his trailer the answer was a definitive "No".  You see, I had considered buying a trailer for Seaweed to move her long distances and to new venues. In the meantime, renting the trailer when I was not in need of it. Apparently that is a wonderful idea if you like getting your stuff back broken as folks simply do not take care of other's expensive equipment. Arthur clued me in and so I pass along the information here for others considering a similar plan.

I wish I had a dollar for every good idea I have had that turned out to be a very bad idea! Still, I appreciated hearing a bit of insider talk about moving boats. It truly is a fascinating field.


We (Arthur, his son, Skipper and I) left Steinhatchee and drove for perhaps ten minutes when they pulled off to the side of the road. The two gentlemen walked around my home, checking that the straps were tight and all was well. That sure looked like a professional move to me. They represent well Marshall Marine
[http://boattransport.net] and for the first time since the additional $37.50 fee charged at lift out, I felt safe.

I was glad Arthur had no objections to my Skipper being in his big dual axle truck. She is a good rider and spent most of the trip in the front seat making friends with Arthur's son.

A few hours later and we were back in Carrabelle at Dockside... At Dockside [http://msdockside.com] prices have remained intact. When Shiloh or Eric (the owners) say it will be X-number of dollars for a lift and launch, that is what the cost is. I like that in a company.

Seaweed on arrival:

 From left to right, Vernon, driver Arthur and Eric at Dockside Boatyard and Marina.

The trailer was interesting. The fenders above the tires are actually rubber so they not only prevent road rocks from damaging my boat, they also are flexible.  Pretty nifty things, they are.

But sitting on a trailer and getting her off are two entirely different things. Vernon helped guide the lift driver with hand signals. The closed fist is I suspect universal for Stop. With the thumb up, turn in that direction.

After removal from the trailer I was placed on a stand at the boatyard, awaiting launch scheduled for the next day.  This is a good thing as I will be able to scrape off the growth on Seaweed's bottom. The waters in the Gulf of Mexico are fertile and my bottom paint is old.

The observant will note my swim ladder on the aft starboard of my swim platform. Not only does it allow me easily to board the boat from the water there is an added benefit. At the boatyard, I can simply walk up the steps and get in my boat with relative ease. 

A tuna door would facilitate easier entrance to the cockpit, but that is another project for another year. In the meantime I am glad to be back in Carrabelle and look forward to the next stage of engine replacement. But that is another article, and soon.


Bonus Update regarding my new engine:


I have been blessed by new friends and old. An old friend, Harold, introduced me to Dennis who has made this engine fiasco not nearly so worrisome. Dennis owns Yanmar Tractor Parts and has gifted me with a brand new (to me) Kubota 18hp diesel. She's small, light weight and the perfect horsepower for my Seaweed.

Yanmar Tractor Parts: http://yanmartractorparts.net

Truly, I am beyond fortunate.


Isn't the motor pretty?!?


Side Note: All too often boats get ever larger motors so they can go faster. Well speed equals more fuel used, and in a displacement hull that is a losing battle. Besides, I can get into far less trouble at five knots than ten. And my fuel economy should run between 15 and 20 miles to the gallon: not too shabby for a trawler.


This is the lift at Dockside:


With a lot of help from the Jerry at Just Right Marine parts are being gathered to marinize this sweet gem. The bell housing and flex plate are being manufactured and due for shipment in mid-October.

And earlier this week my new high-pressure water pump arrived. Check out the size of the inlets, and the key is included too. Isn't she beautiful?

Soon Seaweed will be mobile again and that's a good thing.

Have you ever had a price changed in the middle of the job?
How did you handle it?

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