Last month I wrote about the failure of our boat trailer. With little use (less than 150 miles and never put into water) the left rear wheel bearing failed on the trailer. I had a hard time getting the wheel bearing off the axle spindle and I was waiting to hear from the trailer maker. I have to say Gary from Magic Tilt Trailer Company and Chris from Hampton Watercraft came through for me. After hearing from Chris, Gary sent me a new axle and the parts needed to get me going again. I really do not want to lay under the boat and trailer and remove the axle and install the new one. So I worked very hard to get the spindle cleaned up enough to put on the new hub/brake combo so I can at least move the boat out of the garage and take it to our marina. The boat will be dry rack stored and launched when we want to use it. After that, Chris may take a look at the trailer to get an estimate for Gary to put the new axle on. I did check out the three other hubs on the trailer and they seem fine. We are ready to take her out east, as soon as the rain stops.
In the meantime, we have been cruising around the Peconic Bay on our 1999 30 foot Pursuit, Keeper. Around mid-June, we took our friends out for an afternoon cruise with a stop in the Shinnecock Canal for dinner, and then over to Robins Island to watch the Wednesday evening sailboat races. Before we went to dinner I cruised over to Riverhead to show our friends the aquarium and the surrounding area.
It was still a bit early for dinner so as I headed back out toward the Canal I decided to anchor for a while. With the wind from the northwest, I tucked in off of South Jamesport Park. We anchored there near a sailboat and enjoyed some appetizers while we talked. In time the sailboat pulled anchor and came behind us with the wind. Just as they passed us a gust of wind blew the captain’s wide-brimmed hat off his head and into the drink! He yelled out in surprise when this happened but could not stop to retrieve the hat.
I watched them sail off, on a very sunny day with no hat. After having melanoma myself, I knew what I should do. I could still see what to me looked like an expensive leather hat floating, and since it was time to head over to Shinnecock for dinner I decided to get his hat and drop it off to him on the way. Getting the hat was easy, I got out the boathook and gave it to Bill to use when I was close enough for him to reach it. Once Bill had the hat onboard I headed over to the sailboat to deliver it.
As I slowed and approached the sailboat I had my crew tell them we had the hat, and if they held a straight course we would come up from the stern and pass it to them on the end of the boathook. We were making about 5 knots and closed in slowly with Bill holding the hat out reached on the boathook. We were almost there when a gust of wind blew the hat, hanging on its strap, right down the handle to Bill. Let’s try that again! We made another couple of approaches before we finally delivered the hat. With that, the man with his returned hat thanked us and told us it was his lucky hat. He told us how he lost it once before and found it washed up on the beach. He said he paid $4 for it at a street vendor in the city! You know what they say, no good deed… but at least he had some shade.
We had a good meal and then headed over to Robins Island for the races that had already started. We anchored up on the north side of the island and I went up to the bow to secure the anchor line. That’s when I smelled the diesel fuel. I opened up the aft bilge first to see if any fuel was there, nothing there. I opened up the deck hatches over the fuel tank fittings and again found nothing. After clearing the crew off the main hatch, I opened it up and started sniffing around. After checking the port engine over I went to the starboard engine and literally started sniffing. The smell was fairly strong up on top and soon enough I found the cause of it. Right at the front of the engine at injector number one was a broken fuel return line. I must have caught it very quickly because I did not see any fuel on the engine.
I shut the hatch and told everyone we would just leave a little earlier and head back on one engine. I locked the propeller shaft so it would not turn, put a piece of an absorbent towel under the broken fuel line (I would start the engine for docking) and headed back on a leisurely sunset cruise! When we got close to the marina I unlocked the shaft and started the engine to dock. Once docked and secured I did check the absorbent pad and found only a drop of fuel. Glad it did not spray all over the place.
The next day I started my search for a replacement return line. I contacted John at Dickson’s East and Chris at Dickson’s West. They are Cummins dealers I have used many times. Unfortunately this time I got the same report from both of them. The part is no longer available! I was a little concerned, to say the least, and wondered what I would do. Both John and Chris recommended trying Moreland Hose over in Oakdale. I have used them before also but not for this type of repair.
I walked into Moreland on a Saturday morning and Mike came out to help me. As I stood there he could see the return line in my hand and just shook his head. This was not his first time seeing this, and he even told me what engine it was from before I could say anything. Mike told me he would do his best to silver solder two hose barbs onto the pieces and supply me with a rubber hose to use for the repair. Monday I went back and picked up the repaired piece. What a load off my mind. I installed it on Tuesday and we are back in business! These engines are over twenty years old and parts are not always available, but it is nice to know that there is support out there. Thanks to all involved.