Do you ever dream of Plan C? You know. Your third choice in an otherwise perfect plan? Plan A is the ideal & Plan B is our fall back option in case A doesn’t happen as you anticipate. Good old Plan C. Yup, that’s what I always dream of…But seriously, it definitely helps to have a few more letters of the alphabet handy when you are underway.
|While you never plan to find yourself behind a tow boat, having the insurance is comforting when your plans go in a different direction.
After 15 hours or so of a delivery on a large twin engine pleasure yacht to the Chesapeake we had an engine cooling problem. Shut her down quickly and assess. Seems one of the hoses is spouting coolant from a small tear. No Problem, Mon’. We have TWO engines so we can do this. We are 2/3 distance ahead to Jacksonville Ship Channel and 1/3 back to Cape Canaveral. Backtracking is never a part of Plan A. Never-the-less we turn 180 degrees and head back toward Cape Canaveral, FL. Better that we decide to be safe rather than take a risk navigating the tidal current in the St. John River dodging ships. We can have the cooling issue addressed at the “Cape” and continue north to the Chesapeake. Now running on the second engine we begin Plan B.
All the gauges seem happy and we’re making way at about half our usual speed. Safety first since we are down to one engine so we do much more frequent engine room checks. Uh-Oh. Murphy is a stow away this trip. But you knew that, didn’t you? A few hours into our plan B and we experience a different cooling issue on the starboard engine. This time the gauges give us a false hope and we are greeted with a high reading from our IR heat gun. Pull her back to idle and think quickly….QUICKLY! We are just a few miles from the inlet and ultimately the yard where fast repairs can be made on the port engine. They can fix the second engine water pump issue as well but let’s not make the issue any worse by pushing on… So close but yet so far. No longer making any headway, we drop the anchor to prevent us from drifting into the ship channel.
Plan C. Our old friend. Welcome to our schedule!
We radio for the local Boat US towing company and are towed into Cape Marina. Now Murphy’s arch enemy steps in to save the day. The TowBoat US operator calls the marina and described our issues. Their service department is waiting for us to arrive so they could come aboard and make a parts list. How’s THAT for service? After lunch they return and solve all the concerns and we are on our way again after ONLY loosing 6 hours of cruising time – not counting the back track out in the ocean of course.
We want to publicly thank everyone for helping us keep our delivery schedule. In particular:
- TowBoat US Captains EVERYWHERE
- Cape Marina staff in Cape Canaveral FL and their service department, Charlie & David.
Lemons to Lemonade. Just add calm seas to a competent team and you may actually be able to drink it. A Toast to Teamwork!...Of course, a few extra hoses in the spare parts locker would have worked too:-)