Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Little Moments of Panic

Usually right about the time something happens
It happens just about every time we're out on the boat, we're happily enjoying ourselves and everything is postcard perfect. Then something happens that causes you to have a moment (or a few) of panic-ridden, adrenaline packed "what the hell was that?!?" mixed in with an unhealthy number of visions of water rushing into the boat, the boat being pushed toward something hazardous with no way to stop it or smoke pouring out of the cabin. Or maybe that's just me.

Then a light bulb goes off, you realize what's happening and start fixing the issue (if it's even our issue, read on).  While these experiences usually end up teaching us something, it's not very comforting to know in the back of your mind that our next lesson could begin at any second.

The two things that worry me most on the boat are, without a doubt, electrical/battery/fire issues and engine failure. Both of which we have experienced. Fantastic.

Some of our moments of panic thus far:

  1. The time a wire shorted out on a battery terminal while installing the inverter - As part of the process we were installing, moving and replacing wires. During this time one of the (small) wires accidentally fell on a battery Ron was working on (hence the cover was off), hitting the terminal and immediately commenced a nuclear meltdown (in my mind) and the companionway filled with thick, nasty smoke. Ron replaced the shorted wire, we aired out the cabin and Lexie and I took a couple extra doses of Xanax and changed our shorts.
  2. The time we forgot to turn on the diesel - After being gone from the boat for an entire month we were a little rusty on our 'standard operating procedures' for getting the boat ready to get off the mooring. We took off with a stiff breeze at our backs and made it about 100 yards when the engine stutters then up and dies. And we're crossing into part of the lake currently being used for a sailboat race. OH SH!T. With the wind at our back we're still moving at 3 kts so at least we still have steering but on the other hand, none of the other boats could tell that we were currently engine-less. Ron starts poking around in the engine compartment and realizes the diesel was never turned on. Oopsies. He turns it on, bleeds the lines of air and I hold my breath and turn the key. That little beauty fires right up and away we go! Crisis averted.
  3. Something smells hot - Man I hate that smell! Earlier this summer our engine got hotter than normal after motoring a short ways. Ron checked everything over and didn't find any issues with intakes, impellers, all that stuff. This issue resolved on it's own and hasn't been a problem since, but now we check the temps regularly. On this particular day, I had just checked the gauge, which was perfectly placed where it should be. A few minutes later we both get a big whiff of, boy. Our heads whip around and we look at each other in that moment of panic. Is it us?!? It's pretty strong and is coming from somewhere close by. I check the gauge again and we're good. Then I notice a boat behind, but upwind of us who is clearly having some (outboard) engine issues. 
No panic here, just the way I like it
Not listed above are my personal moments of panic when Ron makes me dock the boat. I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable with it, but I think it's going to take a loooooong while before that feeling goes away!

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