Mike Wolfe Chapter Six "The River Queen Refit" 2005
Some time and, of course, some money was spent in preparation for our first run. #1 engine seemed ready. Not much more could be done to it short of a rebuild. It still had a tic, tic, tic. We decided it was a hung lifter and it didn't seem like it would free up any time soon. The idea here was to run #1 'til something happened to it. The tic sound may loosen up and go away. #2 engine was the sweet heart of the two. Easy to start and it purred nicely. Two days before what was intended as a first run target date we started getting a higher RPM pop or misfire. It was solved by installing points, roter, cap and wires. One sunny afternoon Patrick and his friend Jason were on hand. Plus Dude (Carl), my family, Deb and the boys were all there for our first run. We pulled out of our marina side tie at about 3:pm with both engines idling pretty as you please. I turned West at Paradise Point . Once clear of the 5 mph marker I turned up the RPM's to 1,000 and all seemed fine. Shortly thereafter I advanced to 1,500 rpm. Let me tell you, for a big steel boat we were sliping along pretty good at low rpm's. I turned the wheel over to Pat while I went for a walk and a systems check. You know, not really looking for anything in particular, just looking. Sniffing, listening? looking...Nine hundred yards out. Thats when it all started...
Pat calls out "Mike, Does your oil pressure indicator work?" "Yes, why???!" I came walking back. "It reads 0 pounds." (F_ _ _) "Whats our temp?!" "165" says Pat. Well that's odd. "Bring her back to 900 R's and I'll check the fly bridge indicators." With that I went topside by way of the short cut. Straight up and over the starboard side. Let me see, rpm-900, temp-165?, oil-0??? "Same, same here!" I called. On my way back down (the short route again) Patrick says "I tapped the glass on the temp and it shot to 240!" (oh f_ _ _!) Carl met me at the stern and had the hatch for number one open. She was hot all right, and Carl noted "Sounds like a helicopter don't ya think?" "God Dammit!" ok, back down inside and at the helm I told Pat to "feather (turn off) number one and stay on course to that wide spot where we'll come about and head back in."
It wasn't untill we made the attempt to turn around that we had noticed we had lost our power steering! You ever lose your power steering and have to force the wheel? Man, it was tough and exciting getting that big ass boat turned around in the wide spot. It was hard... Once on track for the short shot to home port. I forced my heart rate back down to an exceptable level and let Pat take the helm to releave me. I've got to tell you, it's tricky just driving a 15 foot beem boat with only one engine... But with engine with no powersteering... Geezzz! That's tricky! On our way back in we got to talking about manuevers and how the best way is to do this and that. Somehow we came up with the " two man helm" technique. Me and Pat and four hands on the wheel. Pat came up with a " manuever demonstration" I'm sure along with a rogue gust of wind at the wrong time on the stern and we were straight on course to the rocks! No biggie, we were going quite slowly and reverse worked quite well (Thank God) and a little more wheel spinning and we were back on course. Forcing my heart rate back down again we were approaching the "Paradise Point Marina" turn to the north. Traffic was kind of high. Long lines for in and out. Strong wind now at my port side I'm deep in concentration. Home slip nearly in sight. That's when a speedboat stops midchannel dead ahead of me and starts to drop a person in the water and start to rig for skiing?! Not 100 feet from the fuel dock! I got to use my horn Button. The boat driver looked around and must have relized his mistake and fled for lesser spectators. She came in nice and clean to our parking spot. Well, kinda nice and clean... I bumped the bow on the steel lined dock and gave me a nice 15" scratch. To be tied up and turned off I'll take it thank you very much! We did a restart on Number one at the dock and she fired ok but still no oil pressure." Well this one is done." I thought and sat down in my most comfortable chair and had a very cold beer, my mind racing.
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