Mike Wolfe Chapter Two "The River Queen Refit" 2005


RQ Found!

This boat I spotted (1969 River Queen 50') had all thick gauge steel. Everything is steel. Bulk heads, floor supports, superstructure, siding, all steel. We walked through it 2 or 3 times. Took pictures and video to show family and friends. This also is a good tool for reviewing the layout. This boat had once had two separate heads, one private with access from the back master stateroom and one next to it with access from the companionway. The previous owner, a live-aboard, had ripped the guts and dividing walls out in both heads and and installed one large bathroom complete with a full tub-shower and pedestal sink. With this roomy configuration a man my size ( 6'4" 250lbs.) can easily move around and not bump into things. Most people say "Wow" when they see it. I dare say it has more square feet then either of my two bathrooms at home. We bought the boat "As Is" over at West Marine "O" Dock (Stockton Ca.) late in June '98, and for the next two weeks we removed old bedding and stuff that can collect on a live-aboard over the course of many years. Before you can make a boat your own you got to get all the "other people's stuff" off. We gave her a scrub down and she looked even better with white paint showing through the peat dust. Now was the time to do a safety check and try to get the engines to fire.

Getting ready.

We had about two weeks 'til the end of the month to get the engines to fire and get her ready to move to haul-out. First of all... The old batteries (2) had to go! They looked very sad indeed. Actually they looked dangerous. The kind that you wonder if the suckers will break into pieces while trying to extract them... The old wet exhaust hoses were old, over-heated looking and duct-taped in spots. Nothing that 20 feet of new 4" wet exhaust can't fix. But low and behold...My first "Oh, f__k!" of many oh-f__ks to come. One of the exhaust elbows was way gone, and the rest not too good looking. A major cost hit early in the budget and my first opportunity to absolutely ruin my manicure. But in relatively short order and with the help of some good buds and some cold Buds we got them wrestled into place.

I still had never heard the engines turn over yet and before we could even try we needed to chase out the mess of wires and starter cables, some of which had melted spots! Without replacing anything and with the use of some electrical tape Daryl and I straightened out most of the mess to the point of making an attempt at turning them over. With my heart pounding in anticipation of anything that may happen, Darryl said "Number one, Hit it!" and we were rewarded with a happy "rrr rrr rrr" "OK" says Del "Number two, Hit it!" "Click" That's all we got. Just the "Click" from the solenoid. With hammer in hand Darryl sent me down in to tap the starter to free it up. I looked and looked, this side and that, and back again, and...where is the starter? No starter! Just a hole where one should be. As sad as it was we shared in a good laugh at our folly and finished off the last of the beer. We would be making the trip to haul-out without the help of number two engine.

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