and Linda Masters describe their first trip to the moorage and back.
We bought our 1987 C34 in April, 1999. After many years of
bareboat chartering, we decided to experience the "joys"
of boat ownership. Our new purchase had been sitting, through the
winter in a slip in Boston Harbor. The marine survey revealed that
she had a loose strut and corroded shaft and enough repairable
imperfections to keep us busy through the Spring. We had her hauled
at a local boatyard and got in line behind all the other boats
needing work before launching.
As we waited and waited for our shaft work to be done by the
yard, we purchased new sails, replaced rigging, rebeded chain
plates, replaced Y-valves, sanded, bottom painted, compounded,
waxed, and renamed our yacht "Meandher." It seemed like we
completed the work of about three off-seasons in 12 weeks.
Eventually, it was our turn at the boatyard, and since the shaft was
being replaced we reasoned it wise to simply replace everthing from
the transmission to the propeller. So we dug into the savings for a
new coupling, SS shaft, stuffing box, cutlass bearing, zinc, and
even a new prop. On the 16th of July we were ready to splash and
finally go sailing.
Our mooring was waiting for us in Mattaposisett Harbor and rather
than sail her to her home port, trusting an engine we had never run
for any length of time to transit the Cape Cod Canal, we decided to
have Meandher hauled to Mattapoisett by Brownell Boat Transport. We
were happy, excited, and a little bit nervous as our new pride and
joy was loaded on the trailer and driven to Buzzard's Bay. We became
much more confident as we prepared to launch, thanks to the
professionals from Brownell who stepped our mast and put us in the
water. We held our breath as we cranked the engine, which to our
relief started immediately. We backed out the long ramp between two
docks like we really new what we were doing and in five minutes
Meandher was on her mooring at last. While Linda broke out a bottle
of champagne to celebrate the moment we had dreamed so long of and
worked so hard towards, I went to the cockpit to begin tightening
It was then that I noticed the steady stream of water being
ejected by the bilge pump. Water? In the bilges? That much water in
five minutes! Suspecting a loose nut on the stuffing box we raced
below to inspect. To our surprise that suffing box was not leaking,
the shaft tube, however, was leaking like an open faucet. We started
the engine, slipped the mooring, and in five minutes were at the
dock at the Mattapoisett Boatyard. Ten minutes later, Meandher's
maiden voyage ended as she was hauled and put up on jack stands at
the yard. She had been in the water all of twenty minutes on her
maiden voyage! It was a disappointing moment to say the least. It
was most upsetting to have had a serious problem in the area of the
boat where we thought we had acted most prudently. The last place we
expected trouble was between the engine and the prop!
The yard that had done our shaft work was sincerely troubled and
bewildered when we called and related what happened. They assured us
someone would be down on Monday, it now being Friday afternoon, to
figure out what had happened.
Monday: On Monday morning it was discovered, with the use of
mirrors and a piece of wire, that we had a hole in the bottom of our
shaft tube right were it passed out through the hull. The hole was
never apparent previously because the junction between the shaft
tube and the old stuffing box had been covered with exhaust hose
which extended down over the hole. When the yard installed the new
stuffing box they replaced the exhaust hose with a thicker hose. The
thicker hose, however, could not extend down the tube as far, and
didn't cover the hidden hole at the bottom of the tube. Two hours of
fiberglass work easily solved the problem and on Tuesday Meandher
was back in the water with dry bilges and a much happier crew!
As for the "joys" of boat ownership - well, in spite of
the disappointments of our first voyage, we like ownership a lot
more than chartering.
Wayne and Linda Masters