Monday, July 7, 2008

Busted but Safe

Vicki writes…
Perhaps titling the last posting 'Nova Scotia or Bust' was too great a temptation of fate. We started the crossing at 5:15 a.m. yesterday from Southwest Harbor ME to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in heavy fog, going slow, dodging lobster pots. About 8 miles into the trip, Norm checked the engine room and yelled up to the bridge “There’s smoke in the engine room!” These are words you really, really don’t ever want to hear.

Those of you who are faithful readers of the blog will remember that about two weeks ago I committed to developing and drilling on our emergency procedures. Thank goodness I have been working on them. We now have emergency procedures for Fire, Boat is Leaking, Abandon Ship, Storm Preparation, Grounding, Man Overboard, Medical Emergency, and how to make May Day and Pan Pan calls. Having to think through exactly what to do, point by point, was excellent rehearsal and kept me reasonably calm in this situation. Norm seems to have the ‘calm in a crisis gene’, but I do not.

To continue… I radioed Jim and Robin to advise them of the situation. Then a bit of smoke started wafting across the bridge – that ratcheted up the heart beat! Remembered that I should point the boat into the wind so the smoke won’t choke the boat, but couldn’t figure out which way the wind was blowing. I started preparing for the possibility of an emergency call – figuring out where we are on the map, what’s our lat/long – when Norm called up that there was NO FIRE. We’d lost all coolant in the port engine and it had overheated, creating the acrid steam that resembled smoke. He shut down the port engine and we returned to Southwest Harbor on the other engine (a good advertisement for having two engines). The fog was still very heavy away from shore but lifted nicely as we approached the inner harbor. Norm expertly "shoehorned" our 49 foot boat in a 55 foot space on the dock on one engine.

We knew there was a Hinckley Yacht Company facility here in Southwest Harbor. So, Norm called a friend that used to work for his employer in Maryland, but now works for Hinckley there. Tom Turner is his name and he was very helpful in getting us connected with the Hinckley service folks here. Hopefully we didn’t do any damage to the engine – we’ll know today – the Hinckley mechanic should be here in a few minutes.

After determining that we were safe, Jim and Robin continued on to Nova Scotia and arrived safely. They will continue on up the coast to Halifax where Robin has airplane tickets on Thursday to fly to Annapolis, unfortunately for a funeral.

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