Sea Jay Goes North 2011

Sea Jay Goes North  2011
Dawes Glacier Endicott Arm Alaska

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sat July 11 On the hards at Port Hardy

July 10 2009 Port Hardy

We have been off the air since June 27 sitting on wooden blocks at Port Hardy Quarterdeck Marina ship yard.

On June 27 while leaving Wawatle Bay we hit some rocks while idling blissfully along at 7 knots and did major Damage to Sea Jay. I screwed up and was not paying attention to the charts.

The horrible grinding sound was beyond description.

At only 7 knots we did the following:

Tore off the starboard side Stabilizer fin
Mangled both propellers
Bent the port side propellers shaft strut...A huge 130 pound blivit that holds the prop shat to the hull.

Bent both propeller shafts…. one of them beyond repair

Put an 18 in gash in the keel but it was only skin deep and not a serious gouge.

After the grounding we limped at 4 knots on the starboard engine to Charlette Bay and rafted to the Colliers boat.

Both engines were stopped by the impact of the propellers on the rocks.

After impact I started each engine to see if we had any control and the port side shaft made a loud wobbling noise so I shut it down and tried the starboard side. It was better with an ability to make 4 knots before the vibration was beyond operational limits.

The port side strut was bent so far it locked the shaft so it would not turn.

I saw the piece of the stabilizer fin that was sheared off floating in the water behind us so I went below to check both stabilizers to see if we were taking on water and we were not thankfully.

Then I went down to the engine room and looked for water coming in and there was none.

We retrieved the stabilizer piece and proceeded to follow Reflections to Charlette Bay. On the way I called a diver I met in Port McNeal on the Sat phone and asked him if he could get us a tow boat to take us in to Port Hardy. He said he would and later that afternoon Doug Stewart who was on his way to our location from Port McNeal helped me talk via radio to a towing company to arrange a tow through the Nakwakto Rapids down Schooner Channel and across Queen Charlette Straights to Port Hardy. Then I received a radio call ( HE HAS A VERY POWWERFUL RADIO) direct from Don Wilson who has a 60 foot landing craft and agreed to come that evening to tow us the next morning. The agreed fee for the tow was truly breathtaking but when you have no choice the decision is easy.

The next morning they arrived at 7:30 am and we were connected to a giant tow line to this really ugly 60 foot landing craft and began our 7 hour trip across Queen Charlette straights at a blazing 5 knots.

I kept the starboard engine running under power so if we needed control we would have some. The port engine was also kept running at idle in neutral just in case.

When w reached open water the wind kicked up and the trip was very bumpy and our shore boat broke the attachment fittings twice as it was jerked back and forth by the 5 foot wind wave action.

The trip was tedious as I had to run the starboard engine at 700 rpm in gear to help control our beloved Sea Jay. The tow company brought along a very large Zodiac with 2 150 Yamahas on it to connect the bridle to our bow cleats and help control Sea Jay as necessary to navigate the narrow and treacherous Schooner Channel.

By the time we reached Port Hardy the wind was a steady 30 knots gusting to 40 and I am supposed to get Sea Jay into the sling haul out slip??? Which required navigating a very narrow fairway then making a hard left turn and immediately a hard right into the sling slip? All on one engine and the bow thruster.

This would require concentration on a calm day with both engines operating.

When we approached the entrance of the harbor we unhooked the tow line and stared to idle in under our own power.

When I heard the Tow Captain (who was now beside us in the Zodiac) tell me what I had to do and then I saw the narrow path we must take as we entered the marina I said to him this will be very interesting on one engine and he agreed adding “you have no choice but to get Sea Jay into this slip”. On the way in he hailed a Canadian Coast Guard inflatable that was leaving the harbor and they reluctantly agreed to help guide us in.

As we approached the hard left turn we had a 57 foot Yacht close on our left (port) side. The wind was really pushing us now in the wrong direction but some how I got her into the slip and there were 5 guys on the dock yelling 5 different instructions to me and this is when the most horrible thing happened.

The wind pushed the stern down wind away from the dock as the dock hand missed the line that Cheryl skillfully through to him.

We then backed into the 57 foot custom Italian yacht ( BANG) punching a 3 inch diameter hole in her bow.

Now my week is complete. Are you laughing by now? Isn’t this an impossible story to tell.?

I looked at Cheryl and she was white in shock and disbelief at what had just happened. Not only am I suddenly a leading candidate for the coveted Golden Shovel award I am now a sure bet for the screw up award as well.

I know I have a strong heart because I wanted to go into Cardiac arrest.

We slowly moved Sea Jay forward and secured her to the slip.

The next morning at high tide the haul out was completed.

It seemed impossible because of our 70 foot length so we had to nudge close the rocks on shore at high tide so the lift could reach the lift points on her hull.

We have now been in Port Hardy almost two weeks and are getting to know all the nice people all to well.

It is Sat night July 11 and we finally have all the new parts at the boat.

Two new propeller shaft, one overhauled propeller shaft
Two overhauled propellers

One new propeller strut that was manufactured in Redmond Washington on a rush basis and air freighted on Kenmore air to a near by town.

And the starboard stabilizer fin has been installed and both Stabilizers had new seals installed and have been certified good to go.

Gary and Lenore arrived Thursday evening and it is so good to have our friends with us to share this wonderful adventure.

The parts will be installed Monday and we hope to splash Tuesday morning at a 5:30 am high tide . We must then sit in the water 24 hours to let the hull settle out and then have a final engine / shaft alignment made of both engines and shafts and if all goes well we will be on our way Wed afternoon.

We will have the carpets cleaned Monday Morning because of all of the dust from the gravel yard floor and bottom paint grinding dust our home is very dirty inside and out.

This afternoon we went out to test our fishing skills and we caught one small Coho and through him back for a bigger and better day.

I have down loaded many photos of the collision with mother earth, the tow home and the haul out.

It turns out that the damage to the yacht that I backed into was minor. The repair cost will be about only one boat unit.

I will update as we begin repairs on Monday.

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