Monday, June 23, 2008

Keep it like a Secret

The view from the anchorage at French Wells

Today we had the worst possible news, my nightmare come true of the last five days. The day started with good news--we were able to remove the starter and discovered that it was, in fact, not working. This news was good to me, even though the nearest available starter is two weeks away. A bad starter is a coherent, manageable problem, easily fixed by a spare part.

Mom and I went for a celebratory swim and conch-diving expedition to the bleached sand bar, at which point Dad decided to try his impromptu manual crank, just to see if the gears are still turning. He had pulled two matching bolts out of the diesel and drilled them through a chunk of 2”x4” we had stashed on Secret, giving himself a four-foot lever with which to turn the crank case. He tried to push down and crack--the wood split, right down the middle. An engine frozen enough to crack a 2”x4” is an engine seized. Fate worse than death.

Now I know that the motor was a $10,000 installation in 2000, and it just seems physically impossible to me. I know boats that sit in Marion harbor all season, longer than my boat has sat here! There’s no water anywhere, and it seems impossible that any could have got in. Still. The facts remain. The dang thing won’t spin.

So tonight I had my first breakdown--tears, bitterness, sobbing. All of the beauty that made me so happy yesterday just makes me angry tonight. How dare it be so beautiful here, and so unreachable? It all seems so impossibly unlucky. Here my fantastic teak-drenched house sits, lined with books, decorated with art and varnish and photographs, equipped with everything I need to live, including months worth of canned food. And it’s all so untouchable. It’s all here, right under my fingers, cradling my body as I go to sleep, and yet I can’t have it; I can’t have the dream. I’ve lost it all: captain, sails, engine.

I ask myself the question I’ve been repeating for the last six months: what am I supposed to do?


Anonymous said...

Actually it was the crankshaft (not the gears) that I tried to turn and tried to crank the engine itself not the crank case (that is what holds the crankshaft, connecting rods and various other parts).


rling said...

Not that it's any help now, but if the engine is toast I think I would consider attaching an 9.9 horse outboard and powering with that...and you can always either use or sell an outboard later.


rling said...

I've never worked on a Yanmar and I'm no mechanic but there should be decompression levers (one for each cylinder, or just one for all of them) that might allow you to rotate the crankshaft. However, it does make sense that your starter melted when you asked it to move an immovable engine. The only good thing I can imagine would be cylinders full of fuel...saltwater sitting in there would be terrible. Perhaps the pistons have simply rusted to the cylinder wall. You could remove the injectors and pour in oil that might soak in enough to break them free and get you running...still not a great prognosis.

wfrenn said...

Did my comment on your June 23, 2008, blog get sent to you? After a long comment, I tried to return to your June 23 blog to check something, and it disappeared. I am hoping it was posted automatically.
This has happened several times on your website.
Please let me know if it got to you.

The Capt'n

Melissa said...

Unfortunately, I can't find the comment... Did you post it back in 2008, or recently? I have moderation enabled for older posts as I was being spammed, but back in 2008 blogger's comment page was less trustworthy. I've changed the commenting form, and it should be better, but there can still be glitches.