Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Legendary Hooligan Tow

Ed (Hooligan) has been having trouble with his fuel filters clogging. Not only does this cause great problems when the engine stops but it can lead to unfortunate circumstances - like when he dropped anchor waiting for a tide change and drifted onto a shoal. The good news is that Hooligan wasn't damaged (we discovered this when he was hauled out yesterday.) Ed went through a fortune in fuel filters and decided to change out the fuel tank. He discovered, after disassembling the current fuel system that the new tank would not fit. He ordered another tank. The result of all of this was that he needed to rig up a temporary fuel system to run the engine to get to the yard to be hauled out.

With gas engines it's pretty easy, you just stick the fuel line in a jug and away you go. With diesel engines it is a bit more tricky. They have fuel return lines that have to also be routed back to the jug. But really, no big deal. Until you have it all good to go and discover that your battery charger is dead and you can't crank the engine. Which is exactly what happened. We considered jump starting the engine. I have an emergency starter pack. As it turned out we decided to tow Hooligan with Reboot's dinghy instead. This worked for me as I wanted to get the dingy in the water to exercise the outboard engine before it clogged up on the ethanol (a.k.a. crap) gas again. Since this is a sailboat story the next line should be that the dingy engine would not start or the dingy sank. But miracle of miracles neither happened!

I proceeded over to Hooligan with the dingy. Fortunately there was almost no wind and very little current. We hooked up the dingy and pulled Hooligan out of the slip. Remember I said there was only a little current. The "little current" was enough to make things a bit dicey. Finally, after about 10 minutes of things not going well (and my Wisconsin hat going overboard) someone on the dock suggested that I run the dingy in reverse and tow that way. It was the suggestion that turned the tide. I was finally able to get Hooligan going fast enough that Ed could steer. That got us away from all the things that Hooligan was trying to hit! The rest of the trip was uneventful. Of course, even before we had made it into Salder Point everyone on the dock was talking about our effort.

The good news is that once we could see the keel there was no damage, just a little scraped paint. There was also a small piece of dock line wrapped around the propeller. Neither of us could figure out when that little gem had attached itself to the prop. At least it was free wheeling with the prop so it was reducing efficiency but not adding any load to the engine. As Shakespeare says: "All's well that ends well."

Fair winds and following seas :)

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