14 December 2011

Good Prop, Bad Prop

Moving aboard JOY was like purchasing admission to a grand Easter egg hunt, so many surprises have we discovered over the almost two months we've lived aboard her.  Hidden among more identifiable (even to me) items were odd objects that would have been relegated to the "thousand mysteries" pile had they not been charitably "gift wrapped" in blue painter's tape and labeled by JOY's previous owners, Steven and Rene' Slack.  Even still, it took a phone call from Steve to explain to me which "egg" I needed to attach the fixed prop.  Truth be told, we were so embarrassed when he called, we couldn't bring ourselves to answer the phone.  We were sure he'd be beside himself, nonplussed at our stupidity.  We didn't even want to listen to his message.  We could just imagine what he'd have to say about this latest debacle.  "How on earth did you lose a propeller?  Bend, even brake off a blade, I could understand, but lose the whole thing?  OK, that's it.  Give me back my boat.  You're killing her, slowly and cruelly."

What he did say, when we finally worked up enough courage to listen to the message the following morning, was that he'd lost a prop a couple of times.  "OK, I guess I can call him back."

"I called Max Prop," he said during our conversation.  "They told me that that happens every so often."

Nice business model.

Imagine it without barnacles.  It's a beauty.
"You don't even need feathering props on a catamaran," he went on to explain "because with two engines you don't get prop walk when you're in reverse."  Fixed props have numerous advantages over feathering or folding ones, it turns out, like how much easier they are to install underwater, (for those who go underwater) and how much less they cost.  A few hundred bucks versus $3100 for a new Max Prop.  All you sacrifice, Steve reassured me, is about a half knot of speed.  A half knot is not enough to outrun bad weather and other than that we don't care how fast our house goes.  "Good," I said "I'll buy several props and just wait for the other one to fall off."  Although, as I think about it, with my penchant for going aground I'll probably help it.

Ted the diver happened to be in the neighborhood, came by about an hour after I called him and 15 minutes after that we had  prop wash, beautiful, wonderful prop wash.  A little while earlier, the electrician that Hazzard Marine called mostly fixed our port engine problem.  Just a wire that broke loose from the starter solenoid.  I really should have caught that myself, but because the symptoms were restricted to the port engine instrument panel, I was sure it was a wiring problem at the panel, not on the engine.  The alarm functions still don't work, we don't know why, but all that means is that we won't get any warning before the engine blows up.  No biggie.  At least it starts.

It was still early enough in the afternoon for us to leave the marina with our two functioning engines.  Our new old prop rewarded us, (with a little help from the wind and current) by pushing us to a new personal best of 9.5 knots at 2,500 rpm,  so we got about 14 more miles and dropped the hook.  JOY rides again.

Tonight we are at mile 472, just south of, probably still in the suburbs of, Charleston, SC.  We've had a day and a half in a row with no drama.  Sunset was lovely and the evening was warm enough to watch it sitting in the cockpit with a Partagas and little too much Knob Creek (no, we don't get paid for plugs, but we're not opposed to it...just in case anyone wants to know).  On one bank of the creek in which we are anchored is the ubiquitous-for-the-last-hundred-miles marshland, on the other a street with cars whizzing hither and yon to home, I suppose, and houses whose lights come on in the twilight like the stars.  A Gabe Dixon lyric paraphrases itself in my head:
...And the world turns, and the world turns, and the world turns, and the world turns.

In my whiskey haze I watch the birds overhead and the planes overhead.  I am witness to other worlds from my own and that suits me just fine.  

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