Here is a quick 2018 update. We’ve spent most of the year prepping the boat mechanically for the trip and adding some enhancements (Tom Toys).
Also, we couldn’t use the boat for almost 2 months due to the effects of Hurricane Florence and the resulting flooding, which damaged the marina and caused the Coast Guard to close the river to boat traffic for several weeks.
We did get to use the boat a few times this summer. We took a few day trips, anchored out one night to get some practice, took our friend Teresa and her family for a ride as well as taking Sylvia and Bethanny for a ride. We got lucky there as they opened the river back up to traffic just 3 days before they arrived!
In preparation for the trip, we had all of the boat systems inspected. We’d had a few major items taken care of when we bought the boat, but there are a number of major maintenance items that are scheduled for 1000 hours. Since we are at about 700 hours, and the former owner was not really good at maintenance, we decided to have them taken care of before we are away for 12-18 months.
A car has a radiator that keeps the engine cool, a boat uses water drawn from under the hull to cool the engine and components. There are 4 “heat exchangers” on each engine that circulate cool water from under the boat through the engine coolant, oil, transmission, and exhaust air. We’d had the engine coolant exchangers replaced when we bought the boat as they had rotted out from being in saltwater. When we inspected the other 3 units on each engine (6 in total), we found that 3 of them needed replacing. Given that we don’t want to deal with a leak on the trip, we decided to replace all 6 while we had the engine apart.
During the removal and maintenance, we found that both of the turbo units on the engines were blowing a lot of oil, so… we decided to replace those as well. During the summer, we would occasionally hear a squealing sound from the starboard propeller shaft. We figured it might be related to when we ran aground last fall, so we decided to re-align the propeller shafts. While removing the bolts, we heard a fairly loud “clunking” sound coming from the starboard transmission. Ugggg!!!!! Not wanting to take a chance, we pulled the transmission (heavy but not that bad a job since we already had the engines half apart) and send it out for a rebuild. When they had it apart, they found that indeed we’d broken off a part and it was dangling by one screw and flopping around in the transmission. (Had it fallen off into the gears, the prognosis was that we would have had to replace the entire transmission). We got lucky (sort of).
All of the maintenance, waiting for parts, the transmission rebuild, and scheduling, all took a little over a month to complete. Now however we have a fully tested and updated engine system so hopefully, we’ll have smooth sailing on our trip!
There are only two maintenance items left for spring just before our trip. We need to have the boat pulled out of the water to have a fresh coat of bottom paint applied and to fix a minor leak around the exhaust ports. You can read about the haul-out here.
When purchasing a boat, people sometimes forget to budget in the required maintenance which can be extensive at times! We have found that we average 20% of the boat price per year for maintenance.