Nothing but dominos

Saturday came and so did the diver. We had talked ourselves into an easy fix, a line wrap, we hoped. We wondered how Adam the Diver would be able to see in this opaque mess of a river. His boat driver told us he’d have about a foot of visibility.

Adam’s black balaclavaed head broke the murky surface — he’d only been down for 60 seconds — and he flipped up his mask and asked, “How many blades are you supposed to have on this propeller?” 

This can’t be good, I thought. “Three,” we said in unison. 

“Well, you’ve only got one now.” We stood looking over the side, stunned.

“You’ll never find them here,” Adam offered helpfully, and went back under to replace our sacrificial zincs.  

Did I mention they’re very expensive blades, cast in bronze in Italy? Now, where did I last see those spares wrapped in a plastic bag? A previous owner had replaced them with the blades that are now at the bottom of the Brisbane River. After tearing up most of Escape Velocity we found them. Turns out there’s a good reason they were replaced. The gears were worn and they’d only really be good for an emergency. 

We consulted Bruce the mechanic and reluctantly made the cruising kitty-busting decision to order a whole new propeller. There goes our trip to Darwin, M said. 

Bruce started wading through the Volvo number trail to find what we hoped would be the correct replacement and found that in a week he could have it here in Brisbane. It would have helped if we’d thought to have the diver remove the hub and the remaining blade while he was down there. Otherwise we have no way of knowing why the blades fell off or if the hub is damaged or reuseable. Plus nothing beats having the old part in your hand when ordering a replacement. 

We can’t start work on the starboard engine while we’re at anchor because without a propeller on the port engine we’ll be completely disabled. Nothing but dominos. The marina Bruce and Adam need to work out of is very expensive. You can just hear those dominos topple over one at a time. 

So we’ll stay put for a few more days then up anchor and motor an hour and a half downriver and somehow maneuver EV into a slip at Rivergate Marina on one smoking engine. Hopefully Bruce can tear into the starboard engine and finish just as the new prop arrives keeping the marina fees to a minimum. What with the basic Double-Up Theory of marine expense planning in effect we should probably go up an increment and double that. So for example what should take one day will take two weeks, $100 becomes $2000. See how this works? It takes no time for the toppling dominos to become deafening. 


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4 Responses to Nothing but dominos

  1. This has convinced me never to EVER own a boat. Geez! You guys have had some really bad luck with the Escape Velocity.

    • Have you read any other boat blogs? Because we’re actually way ahead of the curve. A lot of people like to equate boat ownership with car ownership but it’s actually much more like a house and then some. Furnace or A/C breakdowns, water heater, roof, all those appliances that need maintenance and upgrades, wind damage or a tree falling on the garage. If you can imagine what we put our boats through and the corrosive environment we live in we’re actually doing really well. They say a good rule of thumb is to budget about 10% of the value of the boat each year for maintenance, repairs and upgrades. We’re not even close to that, thank goodness, and we’re prepared and budgeted for the usual stuff. Once in a while something like a dropped propeller happens. It’s a bummer but we’re still in exotic places enjoying our travels. We don’t like the alternative.

  2. George

    Anyway anything that slows you down and lets me catch up is a good thing. 🙂 I can not tell you guys how much I’d love to be stomping around Brisbane looking for coffee and pastry with you.

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