David Corbett volunteered to join us for the trip north on our Gemini catamaran. He arrived at Ft. Lauderdale just ahead of us and was able to watch us when we arrived. His cab took him to the Municipal Marina at the Las Olas Blvd bridge where he sat on a park bench overlooking the ICW. After YachtAFun was hooked up to the mooring ball, we dinghy’d over to check in at the marina office and to pick him up.
Work began immediately as we needed a change to the access for clearing sea grass out of the strainer should we again have an urgency in that regard.
Saturday morning we cleared the Port Everglades Inlet and motored off shore. David steered for much of the morning.
We entered the Lake Worth Inlet that afternoon and spent the night at Riviera Beach Municipal Marina. The following morning, back on the ICW, we experienced a lot of weekend boat traffic.
Rest was wonderful at the Eau Gallie Yacht Club at Melbourne Florida. The club’s manager was previously at the Peninsula Yacht Club near Charlotte NC. Our stay began with a long swim and then a fabulous dinner.
While David, and I, took care of navigation- Diann created a breakfast for us.
Anchoring near Daytona Beach is so problematic we opted to again spend a night at the Halifax River Yacht Club. A five gallon bucket of ice is one’s welcoming gift. We used a lot of ice to go with our drinks that evening- including at the pool!
Pushing ahead the next day, we found currents were strong in places such as Matanzas inlet…
We had earlier noticed that steering left would require much more effort than turning right. And, there developed a “catch” in the wheel as the left turns became progressively more difficult during the day.
On the way to the municipal marina I conferred with David and Diann that, if steering should fail, he could pull on the drive leg’s rope steering to direct the boat and Diann could operate the throttle and tell him which way to direct the leg. When I gave those instructions, it was “just a precaution”.
After making St. Augustine, our tight steering issue, however, became serious. In approaching the municipal dock, we only had to turn in a right-arc. After fueling, we only had to turn right to avoid the El Galion ship berthed there. On to the mooring field we went.
We were in the midst of dozens of other boats when Yacht A Fun would NOT turn left. OH MY…
David went directly to the ropes, Diann handled the throttle, and I went to the bow for an attempt to get our mooring ball snagged for the tie-up.
First Try- we made the ball.
It was time for Dinner and a few drinks!
The following morning we contacted the manufacturer of the steering cables and verified that they were still available.
To pull the cables, however, involved removing the steering wheel from the gear assembly. David pulled the wheel while I whacked the mechanic’s hammer with a rubber mallet. Try as we might, the shock system would not jar the wheel off its tapered shaft!
Harbor Freight became our destination. A couple of hours later we only had to take ten minutes to ready the puller-tool and off came the wheel.
We created a vice from a set of wooden clamps I had screwed to a two foot by 3 foot work bench made from a sheet of plywood.
Once we had pulled the cables and confirmed the part numbers we were able to order the new cables through West Marine- but we missed their 5PM closing time and so lost a work day.
Whatever- that meant we had an extra play day!
So after calling West Marine the next morning, we toured the town.
The cables arrived on schedule and were actually picked up for us by the “Cruiser’s Shuttle” owner and delivered to me in person at the marina docks! I can’t say enough about how wonderful the Cruiser’s Shuttle is. Be sure to check it out www.portofcallsa.com With the Cruiser’s Shuttle in play, Diann and I will not use the other bus service again- period (which is another story but not told due to its negativity).
Since the rudder’s pivot arm is supported by the pipe into which the steering cable is run- I felt it wise to tie a rope to the rudder just in case the pipe worked too far over in making the removal / reinsertion effort.
The work step is so small, it’s possible for the worker-bee to fall overboard. St. Augustine’s current is so strong at max-flow, one would not be able to swim back to the boat. So a floating safety line was looped to both stern hulls- just in case. (Thankfully that precaution was not necessary.)
We finished the installation and dined at O’Steens Seafood Restaurant. What a wonderful seafood experience. Add it to your list of “must do’s” when in St. Augustine!
We had a number of great sunsets while there. This pair are from one of those evenings…
The following morning we decided that we should ignore the good weather and remain within the safety of the ICW- since our steering needed to be checked out before venturing off shore. More on the trip……next blog.