Captain Al Is Not Perfect…😳

That is a truly shocking title, isn’t it? The story behind those words comes at the end, but first…..

Spontaneous get togethers are often the best. We grabbed 3 days in a row to be out on the boat. That’s why we have one, right? 

I (Michele) foolishly slipped down the steps in the boat last week after swimming in Coecles Harbor (my feet were still wet) and bruised and sprained my foot. After a few days I saw a doctor who put me in this boot thing for 2 weeks. I’m not going to last 2 weeks in this! It’s hot and clunky and the foot is improving.

Stonington was our destination.

What’s that in the sky?
A blimp advertising “Shark Week.” Is that really what you want to see in the sky over the water? Considering the shark sightings on Cape Cod?

The short ride to Stonington brought us together with Mary Jo and Dean on Jallao

Stonington has some nice restaurants. The Dog Watch is one of our very favorite places, but this time we tried the happy hour at Breakwater, an easy dinghy ride.
Breakwater’s happy hour is a good deal. From 3 – 6 pm the “light bites” are half price and the drinks are very reasonable, too. Look at our plates – that’s a regular meal to us, not a “light bite.” You do have to eat early, but senior citizens like us don’t mind that at all. 😉
Back on Jallao, we played two games of Pitch or Setback (it seems to have more than one name.) It was a fun afternoon/evening and the first time we’ve had the opportunity to get together with Mary Jo and Dean on the water this season.
The moon over Stonington

Saturday was a lovely day filled with boat chores and some nice swimming in the 70 degree water.

I swam over to Jallao for exercise and a chat with Mary Jo.

We were in the perfect spot for the weekend. Dan and Marcia on Cutting Class were traveling from Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard and decided to end in Stonington.  They had a long day so we invited them for a dinner on Kindred Spirit.

Good times catching up with good friends.
The sky was darkening and the weather radar showed some potentially heavy rainfall heading in our direction. Mary Jo and Dean were onshore having dinner with family. Al hopped in our dinghy and dashed over to close their open hatches. That’s the kind of guy he is – nearly perfect.

Sunday began with fog so we puttered around trying to decide how long to stay and when to depart.  

Cutting Class and Jallao in the foggy morning (8:00 am) Sometimes you could see the Stonington breakwater and sometimes you couldn’t. The fog rolled in and out and in and out.
Can barely see the breakwater at 10:30 am. In and out the fog flowed until it eventually left the scene.

And now back to the title…….. Around 11:00 am Al started lifting the anchor off the bottom to clean it. I got the electronics up and running. Ready to go? All set. I started the engine, or rather I tried to start the engine. No start and she sounded odd. This little Kadey Krogen has always turned right over and begun to purr with no hesitation.  

Al started to investigate the issue beginning with the usual suspects when an engine won’t start –

  • Check for bad fuel in the fuel filter. 
  • Bleed the injectors which usually starts the engine. 
  • Check the voltage at the starter. 
  • Thinking that it might be low voltage on the engine starting battery, he moved a bow thruster battery to replace the engine battery, to no avail.

My job was just to turn the key and push the start button each time he tried something new. Dan came over. Dean came over. 

After an hour of exhausting the possibilities, it was time to call BoatUs for a tow back to Shennecossett Yacht Club. This was a first for us so you can imagine how distressing it felt, but this is why we have BoatUs with towing insurance, just in case. Some might say, with a disparaging air, that this is why a twin engine boat is better than a single engine because you can always limp home on just one.  My response to this (again) – TWO engines is double the expense, double the maintenance, double the fuel, and not necessarily double the fun.  Having tow insurance is much cheaper than having a second engine.

TowBoatUs was very responsive and within a short time, Keith appeared out of the light fog to rescue us and take us home. We waved goodbye to Cutting Class and Jallao and began the journey.
Keith gave us the tow lines to attach to our bow cleats.
The tow begins. At least the fog had lifted enough so that we could all see where we were going.
Mary Jo knew I would want some photos of this event.
Heading out of Stonington Harbor. Al’s job was to steer and keep Kindred Spirit pointing in the right direction behind the towing boat.

The tow back was no longer than if we were under our own power. This was an extreme way to use less fuel in these expensive times, we joked.

That is the top of Ledge Light peeking over the low fog bank. Fortunately for us that fog was ahead of us but not around us.

Turning into Shennecossett towards our dock had me worried. How will Keith maneuver us down the fairway and then close enough for us to wiggle backwards into our slip???? He did it! He did an awesome job! Darn near perfect!

It was a disappointing and discouraging end to a really nice two days. But, to keep things in perspective, there was no accident, no damage, no injuries. Just an engine that wouldn’t start. On the other hand, an engine that doesn’t start isn’t much use on a boat. Al spent Sunday evening at home talking it all through with Don (who is cruising on the Hudson River), searching the internet and posting questions on the Marine Diesel Engine Maintenance and Repair Discussion group on Facebook. There were many suggestions for possible causes.

Al was back on the boat on Monday to test two possibilities 1) could the stop button be stuck or could there be a fault in the stop solenoid? and 2) the air filter. Al had done some routine maintenance and checks on the engine on Saturday. He pulled out the engine’s air filter to show me that it was time to order a new one. Someone in the discussion group had said that their engine had not started once because they put the air filter back in upside down. Al assured me that he would check that but was absolutely certain he had replaced the air filter properly. #1 and #2 were a last resort and the next step was to have the diesel mechanic expert make a boat call (marine version of a house call.)

I answered my phone to hear a happy and laughing voice from my husband, “Listen to this, honey!” The engine was purring in the background. “I am not perfect, he declared, “I put the air filter in upside down!”

Al’s post on the FaceBook group. Original post at bottom and his answer at the top.
Al and Dean with big smiles! Problem solved and a happy ending.

So we had a new adventure – getting towed. Once is enough for that. 🤞

And I still think my Captain Al is perfect. 😘

2 Responses

  1. Jeanne

    We are so glad that it turned out to be something so simple” and easily rectified. Sorry for the tow but why pay for insurance if it’s never used?? Excited to see the boat later this weekend.

  2. Ellen Seltzer

    What a delightful adventure for 3 days…sounds like you guys had a really good time even with the “not so perfect” ending…glad it turned out ok and I hope Al’s foot is all healed soon! It actually sounds like a lot of fun and I am not a water person! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *