It had to happen…

I got the call yesterday afternoon… The Mrs’ pontoon boat was fixed, tuned up, and ready to be picked up. Her pontoon has been at Josh’s Watercraft shop outside of Rochester, IL since late spring, facing significant motor repairs. The starter motor is attached to a flange that is part of the aluminum motor block. One corner of the flange broke, through one of the mounting bolt holes, and the starter broke free (danged free-range starters!) When I took it in and and discussed it with Josh, he said he has a couple guys who will come to his shop and bring their aluminum welding equipment. Since these guys are good at a fairly rare skill, AND will travel to job-sites, it is tough to get them in to a small shop for a small job. He finally got them both to stop in and both said they couldn’t weld the motor flange, the aluminum was pretty low-grade and wouldn’t take a decent weld. So… Josh built a bracket and fixed it…

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Starter works & is solidly attached again, yay! Did the tune-up and then started it to make sure everything worked… but it was only firing on one cylinder (boy, do I know THAT feeling!!) Turns out the CDI was bad! So he ordered one out of St. Louis, and had it shipped overnight. TA-DA! You can see the pretty, new CDI in the lower right corner of the photo above.

Yesterday afternoon I drove over and picked up the pontoon and brought it home…

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As you can see, it is still sitting in the driveway, waiting to be launched, motored home, and docked. And this is where “It Had To Happen…” is relevant. Since the pontoon was not here all spring/summer so far, I have docked the Miss Mollie between the two docks, nice and safe and secure. But that is the pontoon’s spot, so now I have to move Miss Mollie to the south side of the smaller dock.  I had to add a couple new cleats before the move could take place, and after a trip to the hardware store, I moved MM… She is now snugged up in her new digs.

I believe this is a good position for her, since  our prevailing winds come out of the south,  just off the starboard, so it should be quite easy to set sails and pull straight ahead from the dock… The weather dude is calling for rain later this afternoon, but I may go down now and take a quick sail as soon as I hit “publish”…

HikingTheTrail.com 365 in 365

July 21st – Walk postponed, on the water

The day dawned clear, breezy, and cool, and we were getting our gear gathered. The Mrs told me her ankle was not feeling 100% and the more we discuss her symptoms we decided not to risk an injury. We postponed our long walk for a day and I focused on pulling all the Hilu equipment out of winter storage and began prepping it for launch….

Prepping the Hilu
Prepping the Hilu

A year ago in the spring I had ordered a few replacement parts for the Hilu but never installed them due to retinopathy issues, but the time was now. I replaced the halyard and the mainsheet and added a halyard camlock. I reinstalled the trampoline which I am pleased to say to made/sewed myself last spring because the original one was rotted and torn. In no time at all she was rigged and begging to get out on the water. A steady 10 – 12 mph wind was blowing out of the north.

Hilu rigged
Hilu rigged

Hilu 2

With the wind blowing out of the north, this was a very easy launch and I was immediately cruising along at a good clip across the water. I did a quick calculation of my course using MapMyRun and it calculated I went just under 3 miles. My little loop is posted below…

Hilu Lake LoopI was going to do the loop a second time but the lake was starting to get busy, mostly with power boats pulling tubers and skiers. The majority of these do not give right-of-way to sail craft so I decided to call it a day and go out again when the lake was quieter. It was certainly nice to get out on the water under sail again!!!

So then, late afternoon, The Mrs said she was going to take her pontoon out for bit and invited me to join her. I agreed since it was still such a perfect day and being on the water sounded nicer than doing chores. We puttered around for quite a while with no particular plan or destination and then headed back to the dock. As we were approaching the nearby cove, a man in a fishing boat zoomed by then slowed and threw a line in water and starting trolling near our dock. The Mrs stopped while the fisherman blocked our dock. After he cleared the dock we moved forward slowly, but the north wind and the wavy water put us a bit of course and we hit the dock, and the motor stalled. When The Mrs tried to restart the motor, the starter made a horrible grinding noise and wouldn’t turn the motor over. And so we drifted away from the dock, blown south towards the cove. I pulled the paddles out from under the seat and started trying to paddle back to the dock, but the wind was more intent on sending us into the cove. The fisherman asked if he could help, so I threw him a bowline. He tried to turn us around and pull us, but he only had a 25 hp motor, and the pontoon was probably 2 or 3 times heavier… I told him we would drift to the end of the cove and tie up to our neighbor’s dock. I got the brilliant idea as we drifted near the shoreline to do a modified “African QueenBogieand jumped off the boat with bowline in hand and started pulling the boat back towards home. The Mrs used the paddle to keep the pontoons off the rip-rap as I tugged. As we got to the next door neighbor’s dock, I walked out onto his dock, then “balance-beamed” across his boat lift, leapt onto his wave-runner dock, and as the pontoon was passing by me, I jumped back on board. All that was left was for The Mrs and me to paddle furiously back to our dock. Mission Accomplished!