A Duck Out of Water

Tivoli is hard aground. No, we didn’t miss a channel marker and end up on the bottom. We’ve hauled the old girl out of the water with a TravelLift and placed her in Seminole Marine’s boatyard to finally finish up several of our ongoing projects.

In the interim we are holed up in a hotel room and spending some time exploring Palm Beach visiting the Loggerhead turtles at Loggerhead Marine Center and touring Henry Flagler’s gilded age home (typical over-the-top decadence enjoyed by the captains of industry of that era).

Hull compounding and waxing is done; she looks like a shiny new boat. Our stabilizer upgrade and service is done. All five opening portholes have been removed, cleaned up, and re-bedded. The big Edson emergency water pump has been replaced with a bronze unit (shouldn’t rust like the original aluminum one). We’ve replaced a number of aging hoses: old deck scupper hoses, some AC pump fittings and hoses, transmission cooler hoses, and stabilizer hoses.. Our teak is nearly finished, the varnish is on but the last couple coats of clear Awlgrip will be put on after the boat is put back into the water. We ran the boat a couple miles back up the ICW and we are most impressed with the autopilot hydraulic pump upgrade; we achieved the 8-second hardover times we sought and the rudder is now immediately responsive to the FollowUp lever making it much easier to manage the boat in tight quarters; it should also be more responsive in heavy seas.

We put a coat of antifouling paint on the props and running gear and we had the anchor chain marked with white paint every 50 feet

Deck repair didn’t go well. The epoxy used to fill the void didn’t set properly so the entire job will have to be redone. This time a small section of the bottom layer of the deck will be removed, the epoxy removed, and the area glassed in properly.

Promptly at our scheduled launch time the TravelLift lumbers over to Tivoli, the lifting straps put in place, she’s lifted off her supports and trundles over to the launch well. We splashed the boat and immediately encountered a problem; the bow thruster was dead. Needless to say I find this troubling. So, I edged the boat back into the TravelLift well and shoreside crew managed to hold the boat in place while we attempted to fix the problem; no joy. The thruster worked perfectly before the props were removed and painted; not anymore. Tivoli can certainly be run without a bow thruster but since it is a single engine boat the thruster is very handy when docking or in any close-quarters maneuvering situation. Of course the wind was piping up and we were departing Seminole at maximum current. Not our choice, but they have a schedule and our departure time was the last available until 4 days later. Staying at Seminole would cost us in additional hotel days, additional yard fees, etc. So, in spite of the challenge of departing under these conditions without a thruster, we did so anyway. Not a problem. Got away from the TravelLift just fine, negotiated PGA and Parker bridges and motored slowly back to Old Port Cove contemplating how we might safely get into our slip. By now the wind was at 15-20 knots and, to add to the fun, it is raining. I radio the marina to request assistance; no response. Without a thruster we opt to bypass our assigned slip in the marina and dock on an outside dock behind a 100-footer. It still took 4 approaches with the wind pushing us away from the dock before we had some help on the dock and managed to successfully get a couple lines dockside and tie up. I phone the marina to inform them of our situation and location and got approval to stay right where we are.

I pull up the floor boards in the master stateroom to access a 400 Amp fuse for the thruster. My multimeter confirms the fuse is blown. I rummage through spares and find a single spare. I install the spare, turn on the master switch, go up to the pilothouse and activate the controller. The green LED lights and I think I’ve solved the problem. I then test the thruster with the joystick; the fuse blows immediately. We discuss the thruster issue with James Knight, Yacht Tech., who quickly arrived to assist and he crawls down into the bulbous bow and quickly determines that the thruster props wouldn’t turn; might be something jammed in the thruster tunnel or, worst case, a bad gearbox.

Time for a stiff drink!

Next day a diver was dispatched to determine that, yes, the props won’t turn but, importantly, there was nothing in the thruster tunnel blocking prop rotation. Bummer! Must be the gear box. This means another haul out and repair job. Fortunately, Yacht Tech will pick up the cost but it’s still a huge hassle. And I don’t look forward to putting Tivoli in a TravelLift in a cross current without a thruster.

While back at OPC we will finish the teak, finish the Edson pump installation, finish the deck repair and install the Maxwell anchor stopper – and schedule a haul out to fix the thruster.

One last 3-day project awaits us; installation of a water maker. It is ironic, a water maker to replace the boat’s original (and non-functional) Sea Recovery unit was at the top of our project list when we left Tennessee but will be the last thing finished. We have selected a Spectra Newport 400 MK II unit that is capable of producing roughly 400 gal/day or 16-17 gal/hr. This unit is a 12 VDC model that can run on our battery bank if needed and produces more water per amp than competing models. It has some nice operational features that should make it easy to use and maintain and has more than sufficient capacity to replenish our daily usage.

We will need to do a short sea trial to calibrate the new steering pump, recalibrate our compasses, etc. Then we will head out on a sea trial to confirm all systems are “go” before heading to the more remote islands in the Bahamas.

It’s been roughly 90 days since we arrived in south Florida and though we’ve been frustrated by the slow pace of progress we now have a long list of overdue maintenance projects that have been completed. Much has been accomplished, Tivoli is in better shape than ever, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed our time in this area, and the view out the back door isn’t bad either.


1 thought on “A Duck Out of Water”

  1. Vickie and David

    Preparation has taken longer than planned but you really have completed many tasks. It won’t be long now. Sounds like you are having a great time.

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