welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Breakdown in the Locks

Imagine this ship twenty feet off your stern. Then imagine putting the boat in forward and hearing a resounding SNAP!

Well that is what I heard upon leaving the second lock. After the the linehandlers had pulled in all the lines and we were to move forward I tried to shift the transmission into gear but only heard a snap and felt no forward motion.

Mind you we had a similar problem leaving the bay and entering Monterey Marina. But this didn't sound like that.

Anyway I turned to Danny and asked if he saw a prop wash off the stern. He turned back to me and said "Nope" in a very Danny defintive way.

I then started throwing lines, seat cushions and the piece of wood we were using to cover the inspection hatch that is beginning to crack, down into the cabin. Gaby was looking at me like I was possessed.
I knew I had to get to either the transmission or the control cable or both. We had pliers and a screw driver out under the dodger just in case. This was the case. Looking down into the engine compartment I could tell that the Monterey problem had not resurfaced so I then went to the starboard lazzerette. Immediatly I could tell the cable had broken off right at the control assembly.

Realizing we were drifting helplessly in the lock I stuck my head above the dodger and in a blood curdling snarl said "Cora, Come here!"
She looked at me for barely an instant before she hurried to the stern. She could tell something was not right.
By this time I figured out that we would have to hand shift the transmission.

With me lying in the floor of the cockpit, Cora steering the boat and the linehandlers waiting to enter the next lock we put the engine into forward at a very slow crawl. Shifting the transmission with your hand is not really hard but is uncomfortable and also rather awkward. Not to mention that as the captain I can't see what is happenning. So with confidence in the crew we transitted into the next lock. Now mind you confidence in the crew is important and I started to get up off the cockpit floor and then get back down every minute or so, but I relaized that I would have to just have faith so I stayed down on the floor.

Our advisor, Ernesto, had been on the radio to report that we were having some problems but that we were moving under power into the next lock. Once we were safely secured to the next lock Ernesto turned to me and said, "Captain, are we ok? Because if we have to get towed out of the locks it is going to cost lots and lots of money. Like thousands of dollars." I told him we were good and could make it to the anchorage for sure. He smiled and hopped back on the radio to report to the lockmaster that we were making way under our own power and would be a bit slower than usual. We really weren't slower but I didn't feel any need to correct him.

We did make it out of the locks and into the anchorage that night. Be prepared and know your boat. Also Great crew makes all the difference.
Much to our relief we were able to replace the cable the next day and continue our journey.


Ben Kiblinger said...

cool transmission and crew story - nice to hear of a captain who can pinch hit in the engine room.

Anonymous said...

Wow - Rick didn't do this stroy justice. Good going Ute crew - knew you could handle anything!

Ute said...

Thanks Marti, we really appreciate the compliment. Allen

ncareypaint said...

An wow form Nancy - you are both great. Love to hear the stories and find you are a wonderful problem solver. Makes my heart sing. hugs. nancy