Saturday, October 4, 2014

You Only Break Your Leg on the Last Run of the Day

One of the things on my "to do" list has been to sort out an issue with our lower unit on the Flying Scott as we have never had reverse. At the beginning of this season I adjusted the shift linkage on the motor and voilá I had reverse! But no forward. I then swapped my original lower for a lower unit off a 1959 Flying Scott parts motor I bought last year. (So far I've used the starter, a cowl latch and the lower unit from this motor. So I'd say I've gotten my $50 worth out of it.) The lower was a direct swap but I still had no reverse.

The key to success to having no reverse is to always dock where you
can pull out
or... have a small boat.

I determined either 1) both lowers had a failed gear slide or 2) the upper gear shift connector had slipped. Since servicing the upper gear connection would require removing the power head, I decided to adjust it to allow forward to work and to live without reverse for another summer

Ultimately the goal was to keep the boat in the water until after a scheduled September visit by our daughter and her boyfriend. All summer, Karen has been insistent that I don't mess around with the lower unit and that I don't break something trying to fix something. In August I bought a newly rebuilt 1959 Flying Scott lower on Ebay and had it ready to install. But given my promise, I decided to wait to mess with it until after summer was over.

After our successful family weekend visit and because the weather has been so nice, in mid-September we decided to keep the boat in the water through the end of October. We figured we'd enjoy a few more weekend harbor cruises before we called it a season. I though maybe I'd swap the lower at the end of October to test it before storing it for the winter. This would tell me if the problem was actually the lower or if it was in the shift linkage below the power head.

Then last Friday night it happened. We were cruising to have dinner and stopped by a friends dock to chat. When I fired the motor and pressed it into forward... nothing but a revving motor. Did I loose a prop? Did I spin another prop? Is forward gone the same place reverse went? As the tide was drifting the boat down the channel out towards the open ocean, I grabbed my Coast Guard mandated paddle, jumped up on the bow and paddled back to the dock. (Ok I only got about 15' from the dock but the tide was going out.)
Paddling against the tide going out to sea.

Fortunately our friend Larry was coming in on his inflatable and he saw me paddling. He came over to help saying "Either that's the worlds largest canoe, or you need help." Larry towed us back to our dock during what may have been one of the best sunsets of the summer. Safely back at the dock in the dark I decided to wait until morning to investigate.
Whats better than having a boat? Friends with a boat.

Sunday checked the prop nut and prop and verified I still no reverse OR forward. Along with the paddle, fire extinguisher, horn, life jackets and throwable flotation device, one of the first accessories we bought for our Dorsett was a Sea Tow membership. We finally got to use it. We had "Rio" from Sea Tow take us over to the Newport Dunes where I keep the trailer so I could pull the lower unit.

Getting my money's worth out of my Sea Tow membership.

My goal was to just swap the lower with my newly acquired lower unit and put the boat back in the water. Unfortunately when I went to do the swap I realized the rebuilt unit was off a long shaft motor and would not fit my short shaft motor. With my head hung low, I loaded both lowers into the back of my truck and put the boat in dry dock until I can get a known working lower on the motor. Last run of the summer = broken lower leg.

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