“Are my toys still on there?” Porter said with mouth agape as he watched his home being hoisted from the water at Danish Marine on Hayden Island.
A week and a half earlier when we departed the Portland Yacht Club for destinations farther upriver, I discovered water in our transmission fluid, which, as most would agree, is not good. Wanting to take care of the issue before something more severe happened, we decided to have a mechanic take a look and I called a few knowledgeable friends for a potential diagnosis.
The consensus point of view was water making its way into our saildrive and because our drive is a unique type, the mechanic wanted to take a few days to research the necessary parts and make a course of action. So for the first time in a while, Yahtzee was docked with no set departure date. And while that is tough because we’re so frequently on the move, we also know that it is simply part of the cruising life.
As is our custom when we’re handed lemons, we make lemonade, so this setback didn’t get in the way of a great adventure. With a borrowed car from a pal, off we went to our friends Marcus and Ashley’s house in Bend, Oregon to hang out, play and wait. Along the way Porter asked if we could go sailing on Yahtzee and after a long nap, Magnus grew weary of the car travel — which was understandable since we haven’t owned a car since he was born and this three hour trip was by far the longest he’d ever traveled in a carseat.
But Bend is one of our favorite places in the Pacific Northwest and we were happy to spend time enjoying the company of wonderful friends while basking in the beautiful sunshine, gorgeous mountain scenery, awesome park system and delicious breweries.
I had work scheduled in Seattle (if you can call sailing a Clipper 70 that) for a few days early last week so I made the trek north while Jill and the boys stayed and played. When I returned, it was decided that we’d pull Yahtzee out of the water to get work started on the saildrive and to complete other routine maintenance that can only be done when the boat is out of the water. It was sad to leave Marcus, Ashley and baby Lamont, but it was time for us to return to Yahtzee.
It had been over a year since we’d hauled Yahtzee out, so we figured that — saildrive issues aside — we were due anyway. With the boat hanging from the travel lift, the guys at Danish gave her a pressure washing and I was astounded at how good the bottom looked. Great, in fact. The SeaHawk paint we’d put on in February 2015 held up more than admirably and doesn’t even need a touchup.
Soon after the boat was on blocks, I walked by, looked at the saildrive and saw what appeared to be a milkshake dripping from the unit. Oil was leaking out from the seal at the prop shaft and the team at Danish was quick to diagnosis and disassemble the drive.
We’re still in the process of getting all the parts here including new zincs and we’ve had the rudder inspected — which was deemed to be in great shape. We know full well that this is how owning a boat goes, so we’re making the best of it while continuing to play the waiting game.
Fortunately, we have lots of great friends to hang with in Portland and our buddy Peter lives on a floating home near Danish Marine. He graciously agreed to let me paint our little dink Hornpipe on his back deck and once Yahtzee was out of the water I rowed it down river for a shiny new coat. As you may recall, we did some fiberglass work to Hornpipe over Christmas and haven’t gotten around to painting her yet, so this was a perfect opportunity. Over the weekend I applied two coats of epoxy primer and so far have put on one coat of two-part paint that I colored grey to match Yahtzee’s canvas and hard dodger.
Hornpipe is looking better than ever, and when both boats are done, they’ll reunite for us to head back down river for the start of the Oregon Offshore Race.
And after the fourth night of Yahtzee being on the hard and us in a hotel, Porter said with a sigh as we tucked him into bed, “Mom, I just want to drop Yahtzee in the water tomorrow.”
Soon, buddy. Soon.