OK..That was just cruel...Teasing the last post with "...and it does not go to plan AT ALL" and then waiting two and a half months for the next post is just wrong....Apologies...Especially since I now know that almost all of the former owners are reading this post! (Hello John, Gary, Frank o/).

It had been almost a year since I had brought back the boat from the Navajo lake in southern Colorado, on the New Mexico border to Stockton at Ladd's Marina and it was finally ready to take her to her new homeport at Westpoint Harbour in Redwood city. She was all rigged up, filled up with Diesel and water and ready to go on the almost 80 miles trek.

All gassed up and some place to go

My friend Leif had agreed to accompany me on the maiden voyage and we made the trip with my friend John who had agreed to drop us off at Ladd's so we did not have to pick up the car later. Everything was looking great and we cast off at about 10:30...Little later than we hoped, but we were on our way!

Early on in the trip...No wind so motor city

Everything was going swimmingly and although there was no wind, in this case that was OK since most prevalent winds would have been straight against us, so this was actually helping us...Even the tide (there is a significant tide, even this far into the interior of California!) was helping us, since it was going out, helping us a half knot (when you are going 6 knots, half a knot is helpful!).

We were enjoying the great Californian spring with a nice temp in the sixties (about 17-18 C) and just chatting away. I had always assumed this would be a two day trip, since 80 miles at 6 knots is at least 13 hours and that is quite a lot for a maiden voyage...I had set my sights on somewhere around Richmond or even Berkeley to make it easy for Leif to get back hope via Bart or be close enough to be picked up.

My friend Leif and me in my Kettenburg K-38 (Blue Heron Jr.) on our way from the marina where she was fixed up to the new home port of Redwood City, CA.

The state of the hull

When I had brought her to the marina, there was a lot of work that was needed, and especially to the hull, since she had been out of the water almost 6 months so the hull planks had shrunk a significant amount and it was quite a feat by the lads from Ladd's to address this with lots of cotton and tar. She had not been completely watertight when they were done but the bilge pump was perfectly capable to pump out any water that made its way in.



Underwater-ship fully caulked and painted

So, with the hull mostly fixed I had actually turned off the bilge pump just before the trip to ensure I was not draining the battery, since I was not sure how long that old battery would last and I had not yet connected the solar panel. (asstute readers know where this is going!). About an hour and a half into the trip I decided on a whim to check the bilge area....


What I saw there made my stomach turn and do a double summersault that would have won the gold medal at the Olympics I am sure! The water had actually reached up almost to the floor in the cabin and luckily I had not been able to turn off the bigger of the two bilge pumps that were installed since that pump was running full stop trying to stop the flood!

I quickly turned on the other (smaller) pump that is lower in the bilge and it was quickly able to clear most of the water, but I could see it flood in as fast as the pump could pump it out! A quick check in the cockpit under the motor panel showed that the water was GUSHING in from the keel bolt (outlined in pic below.

Water came in through this bolt(s). Here shown in better, drier times

Now I had to decide what to do...I was only 1.5 hours into what surely was going to be a two day trip and my home port in Redwood City does not have a boat lift or anything, so there was no easy way to fix anything there...Decision was easy...Turn around! I informed Leif that we "were making a little water" and that I suggested that we turn around, PRONTO! Our friend John had been following us for about 30 min into our trip, but was already on his way home. He had some meetings later that day, but agreed to pick us up later that day.

So we doubled back to Ladd's Marina and to say that they were surprised to see me is an understatement! I explained the situation and beforeI knew it, they started to haul her out!

It was soon very obvious what had happened...The lagbolt that holds up the propeller housing had clearly failed and had created a nice little opening for al that water to gush in...The engine vibration probably had a lot to do with that, since I had not actually run the engine for any length of time before.

I am also pretty sure that Frank (the previous owner) never had much use for running the engine for any length of time, since you could not go far on that lake and if there was no wind, I am sure he had no reason to be on the water so this engine had never really run all that long in the last 15 years (Frank, correct me if I am wrong) so that bolt never had much time to be tested before.

The guys at Ladd's fixed the bolt that very same day and we had also discovered that some of the caulking at the stern was leaking so they fixed that (for free!) as well...

So...Now I was back where I started and still had to move the little lady to Redwood City, but that voyage would have to wait...

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