My funny, yet embarrassing sailing story

I’m getting ready to do a bunch of sailing next week, hopefully. I say hopefully because I had a funny, yet embarrassing experience happen to me today. I’ll get to that in a bit. First a little back story.

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As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I bought a MacGregor Venture 222 last year so I can get my son out on the water early. Two weeks ago I was having problems with the water pump on the outboard motor. As I was heading back into the marina, I noticed the water wasn’t pumping out the telltale. The motor seemed to be working fine so I took it slow into the marina and it didn’t die or seem to be overheating. I figured it was just a clog in the telltale line. This line spits water out the side to let you know there is water flow.

Last week I went to the marina to try and fix the clogged line. This should have been an easy problem to fix but, the motor wouldn’t start. It was a frustrating couple of hours. Just pulling on the chord to try and get the thing going while trying to trouble shoot the problem. My arm and back muscles were a little sore the next day because of it. So, I ended up taking the motor home to see what I could figure out.

I spent a good few hours working on the motor the next day. It ended up being the throttle cable was adjusted too low. I fixed that and got it so I could start the motor on one pull and it was idling well. Putting it in gear seemed good. It’s hard to check off the boat though. You have to take the prop off to turn up the throttle when the motor is sitting in a bucket of water in your driveway. This doesn’t create any load on the motor to get a real sense of how it’s running. But, with that fixed I could turn my attention to the initial problem, the clogged water line. A quick shot with some compressed air down the water tube and everything was good to go, pumping like a charm.

Fast forward to today.

I decided to get the boat out today for a shakedown on the motor. And, because I never got out sailing the week prior. I am half way through a three week vacation and haven’t been able to get out sailing yet. What a shame.

I showed up this morning and everything seemed good. The motor started with little difficulty and the weather was great. Once everything was ready to go I started motoring out of the marina with no problems. Until about half way out.

The motor cut out.

I thought it was strange but it started again with no problem and I continued forward out of the marina. I realize now, it was then I should have turned back.

The second I cleared the break wall of the marina, the engine died again. This time for good. No matter what I did after that I couldn’t get the motor started. It wouldn’t even stutter. I eventually just drifted to the break wall and I tied off to it to keep me in one place while I took the motor apart. As I was trying to trouble shoot the problem, I gave a pull on the start chord.


marina trip copy

The chord came out and never went back in. I ended up breaking the spring that rewinds the chord onto the motor. What a shit show I was in then.

The funny thing was, the kid that works at the marina yelled to me ( Yes, I was that close) and asked if I had a VHF radio. He told me I should call the coast guard if I needed help. What a joke. I was so close I could have a conversation with him without calling on the radio. I asked him if he could give me a tow back into the marina. Of course not. Because of all the rules we have to protect people from just about everything now, he wasn’t allowed to help me. It was because I was just outside the marina. I wasn’t about to call the coast guard and have them tow me 50 feet back into the marina.

I decided to swallow my pride and paddle the boat back into the marina. It was only about 9:30 in the morning so there was no real wind yet. The boat wasn’t to bad to maneuver once you got it moving either. I had managed to paddle the 2000 lb boat the 50 feet back into the marina. Just as I got to the docks, another boat owner showed up with a little dinghy to help. He towed me the other 30 or so feet back to my dock and all was good. No thanks to the marina staff, who I pay.



Now the real challenge begins.

I now have to find a Honda small engine mechanic up here. This would seem easy, except I live in Quebec and cannot really speak french. I shouldn’t say speak, I should say understand. I can speak enough to get my point across to anyone but I don’t have the slightest clue what people are saying back to me. They speak way too fast and slur all their words together. If you ask them to slow down, they just repeat what they said at the same speed. This makes phone calls challenging. I either have to email people or talk to them face to face.

I hope all goes well and I can find someone to fix the motor before next week. Or, cough…cough, this post could make $15k and i’ll just get a new “steem powered” motor. I’m going to count on finding a mechanic though. But, you never know.



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