Monday, January 17, 2011

Another Haul Out.

I took this video on Friday when The Knotty Cat was initially dumped into the water. She was hauled out again today, and Honest to God I don't think there's a boat on earth that's been hauled out more times than our Knotty Cat.

According to the experts today is supposedly the most depressing day of the year and I would imagine the folks at the boat yard might concur with this notion after Hans wandered up to the office at 7:30 this morning. Very soon thereafter the manager arrived at the Knotty Cat, assessed the situation, determined the problem to be on the 'outside' and promised a haul out as soon as the tides lessened. And let me tell you Tide is King in this river. Even the TowBoat US guy told us he hates getting called to this neck of the woods because of them.

When the travel lift finally hoisted our girl out of the water I fully expected to find that she'd shed her propellers but sonofagun they were still very firmly attached. The only problem was; they were on backwards and apparently our girl doesn't like her shoes on the wrong feet.

Hans immediately noticed that the propeller blades weren't lined up properly and couldn't be put into their feathering position, and he's now blaming himself for not noticing this before the Knotty Cat was launched, but I think he's being too hard on himself. The mechanic who originally did the work is off until Wednesday so the manager and another mechanic went to work. They started talking about pitch and angles and diameters, and did we have any specs? Unfortunately these details were left out of all the literature we received when we bought the boat but a call to Island Packet and VariProp (a company that offers some support for the now defunct propeller maker) answered our questions, and let me tell you that the people at VariProp are wonderful!

So in the end what we've learned is that propellers are actually quite sophisticated and not only were ours improperly aligned they had different pitches. This caused our engines to scream in outrage and our boat to race with the mercy of the current because they were of absolutely no use to us whatsoever. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we go back into the water and this time we'll have company (most likely in the form of the manager) for a bit of a sea trial to see if all is well. We're a bit puzzled over this situation and really don't understand how it happened but we also know that sh** happens and as long as everything works out in the end we'll be happy.

However, Wilbur is not at all happy with his situation. I mentioned yesterday that while we were on the hard we had to rappel him on and off the boat. Apparently Wilbur has a very good memory because tonight we had to once again hoist him up via the gennaker halyard and as soon as Hans dropped the line overboard Wilbur went nuts and tried to get away. I jammed him into his life jacket anyway, hooked up the halyard, and when he tried to flatten himself into the ground, Hans started hauling him up. Even though Wilbur was paddling the air like crazy, all was going well, and then Hans' phone rang as I was scrambling up the ladder to finish hauling my baby on board and he dropped us both like a hot potato in order to answer it (I forgave him since it was the man from VeriProp). He didn't actually drop Wilbur but it was now up to me to free a very strong and frightened pit bull from his harness and safely deliver him to the cockpit.

Tomorrow we'll have to drop him overboard when they move the Knotty Cat again and I will try to get a video.

I'll try but if he does a mid-air flip on the way down like he did yesterday, I'm not promising anything!


  1. Poor Wilbur, but I have to admit I'd love to see a video. Good luck today with Knotty Cat!

  2. Thanks Cheryl, I am so keeping my fingers crossed!

  3. If I understand correctly by backwards you mean they were on the opposite side of the boat. Were they on the wrong side before the leak? If so I could see vibration causing premature wear but I still think that it's hard to believe they both failed from wear at the same time. (Maybe they didn't and one side failed to the point of leaking while the other side had not failed quite that much yet.

    Hans seems a little less like a cyborg based on his trip up to the marina and the managers quick trip out to the boat. (or maybe is is and told the manager "Get out- and fix my boat!")

    Well at least this one won't keep you off the boat for months but I would still take whatever lucky charm you use out and shoot it.


  4. They put the propellers on the correct sides but the blades were re-installed backwards and by golly it does make a difference! And it wasn't until we hit the Intracoastal that we really used our engines full bore for hours at a time and popular opinion at this time is that the vibration of our engines on their old motor mounts finally caused the bolts in the cutlass bearings to work loose.
    The boat yard (and BTW it has an excellent reputation) realizes that what happened was pretty serious and never once questioned us or gave us a hard time. Believe it or not I really wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to other boaters. However, I do feel that a sea trial might be a good idea.

  5. Although we don't have much trouble hauling Chopper on and off the boat, he too does the air paddle sometimes when we lift him and its hilarious, so I can imagine Wilbur doing this must be really really funny.I second MLC on that video!

  6. I just uploaded a video but it's pretty tame compared to past experiences!