27°12’29.1″N 80°15’44.1″W June 16, 2022
This week has finally seen progress in resolving the engine issue! But first a bit of catching up:
At the beginning of May when it became apparent Wave Marine wasn’t going to fix the problem they created, at least not voluntarily, I made the decision to move forward with a new install. I’ve been working with Shearwater Marine in Stuart, as well as with Mastry Engine Center, the Yanmar distributor for southern Florida, trying to figure out how to salvage the first engine.
When I decided to purchase another engine, Mastry told me that if I were to buy one that day, it would not arrive until October. Supply chain issues for parts and components have orders backed up at least half a year.
As I recall it was May 2nd that I spoke with Daryl Dykens at Mastry about availability and the backup of available engines. (He and his brother, Doug, both at Mastry, have been no end of help to me. Both have been kind, patient, and above all, helpful to this newbie – thanks, guys!). So May 2nd it was “about October” before I’d see anything.
Two days later I received a call with advice to “buy a lottery ticket” because today was my lucky day. The very engine I needed, a Yanmar 4JH80 bobtail, was sitting in Mastry’s warehouse for an order that had just been canceled. It was mine if I wanted it! I quickly wired over the cost and got the ball rolling.
We need a plan!
Shearwater was going to do the install but I needed to get Strider to a boat yard for them to work from. They could not do the swap at a mooring ball or even at the docks in Sunset Bay. They recommended Apex Marine which is just across the St. Lucie river. By this time the engine was sitting in Stuart at Shearwater and it was the week before Memorial Day so activity came to a halt as people were in and out with the holiday and plans for that week.
The first week of June I spoke with Dutch at Apex, and Adolf at Shearwater and we decided to do the job the week of June 13th. Not by coincidence, this was the time of the full moon tides. Because Strider is such a deep draft boat (6′ 10″ or 208 cm), finding a boat yard was difficult. Apex wasn’t sure at all that I could get in close enough for their fork truck. Perhaps we would need a crane instead. Those few extra inches the full moon would give just might make the difference between needing a crane or not, a potentially significant saving.
Friday the 10th I went to Apex and measured their depth at low tide… 5’3″ along the edge of the dock. Well, it was what it was. We’d either get in, or we wouldn’t.
Monday I called Sea Tow for a Tuesday morning high tide tow to Apex. My dad came along to help handle ropes, and at about 10:30 we were off.
The trip was uneventful and brief, just across the river. We did go aground a bit on a shallow spot near the docks, but we actually got in OK and tied off at APEX. They kept me out away from the sea wall as much as possible to try to get as much depth as possible, and even so, at low tide the keel would settle in the mud a bit, but no major heeling over.
We hoped that we could get the engine out the companionway, but that ended up being impossible. Wednesday morning, the carpenters who work with APEX then cut a hole in the roof and a tech from Shearwater got the bad engine all unhooked and ready to lift. At high tide, all the workers came over to help and we spun Strider around to be nose first and brought her right up to the sea wall. An operator and a marine fork truck with a 20′ boom reached out, and even with Strider right against the wall and turned at an angle, was just barely able to reach the hole in the roof. But, it was enough! He hoisted the old engine out and we moved Strider back away from the wall.
Thursday afternoon at high tide we performed the operation again in reverse. Once again up to the sea wall, the tow truck operator dropped the new engine into the hole and onto the engine mounts and we moved Strider back out to deeper water. The Shearwater tech spent the rest of the day hooking up the engine.
They will need to build some custom exhaust pieces, however. They are quite sure that a bad exhaust design and lack of siphon break caused the first engine to flood. The way Wave Marine had installed the exhaust coupled with the fact they didn’t install a siphon break made it essentially a nice pump. A pump to pump water right back into the engine.
Friday, the carpenter told me he repaired the hole in the roof and Strider is ready to go back to the marina. I can’t actually run her yet due to the exhaust changes that Shearwater is making. Oh, and yet another gift from Wave Marine, I have no steerage at the moment. It seems their auto-pilot work didn’t include leak-free fittings… They’re the gift that keeps on giving.