Monday, August 8, 2016

Like having a new boat

"Well, how are those new engines?" they all ask.  I can only answer, "Fantastic!  It's like having a new boat."  We now refer to the era of the Chrysler Crown gasoline engines as the "Old" Compadre.

It's hard to overstate what a difference the new engines have made.  Gone are the days of wondering if we'll get underway as planned.  Many a time we had arrived at the boat with plans to cruise for the day or longer, sometimes accompanied by friends and relatives, only to discover that one engine wouldn't run.  Sometimes it was a fuel pump, sometimes a carburetor, sometimes a bad spark coil.  Sometimes one or both of the old engines would refuse to start after running several hours -- like when attempting to leave the fuel dock at Pender Harbour, B.C.  No more.  We just push the button and the engines start.

I had lost track of the number of times we'd been cruising along and suddenly lost one of the old engines.  We didn't actually lose them, of course -- they simply stopped running.  Once in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, once in Elliot Bay on the way to the Bell Street Classic Yacht Rendezvous , once in Agate Pass on the way home from Port Townsend, once in the Strait of Georgia on our way to Desolation Sound, once only a mile from our berth in Bremerton.  Or how about under the railroad bridge waiting for the Ballard Locks to open?  Twice!  Compadre's log book reads like a tow-truck driver's memoir.  Fortunately we had twin engines, and we were always able to continue to our destination on one.  Or we just stopped where we were and fixed whatever was wrong.  Sometimes it was a fuel pump, sometimes a bad spark coil, sometimes faulty electronic ignition.  No more (I hope!).  With the new engines we cruised to Princess Luisa Inlet in B.C. in May, to the San Juan Islands in July, and to South Sound last week.  No problems.  You push the button and they run -- until you shut them down.  Wonderful.

It may sound odd, but Cindy and I didn't realize what a burden those old engines had been until they were gone.  It was as if a little black cloud had followed us on all our outings, just waiting to darken our day.  Now we can be more confident and spontaneous, exploring places we would have hesitated to go in the past for fear an engine would stall or die.  What a difference.

Have I mentioned faster and cheaper?  Yes, it's true.  We now cruise at over 9 knots, compared with 8 knots with the old engines.  And we do it using less fuel.  Top speed is an astounding 13.5 knots, but at that speed the only thing larger than our fuel consumption is our wake.  We won't be doing that very much, but it's nice to know we have some power in reserve when we need it.

By way of introduction to the "New" Compadre, I thought it would be nice to show some photos of our recent travels.  We've had a great summer so far, and look forward to more cruising before things slow down in the fall.

"New" Compadre in Jervis Inlet, B.C., on the way to Princess Louisa Inlet

Docked at Princess Louisa.  Chatterbox falls in background
Chatterbox falls from the dinghy.  Boat dock is right of the falls.  Feeling insignificant?
Headed back toward Malibu Rapids, inside Princess Louisa Inlet
On a buoy at McDonald Island, Princess Louisa Inlet

Early morning at anchor.

Stern-tied at Wallace Island, Gulf Islands, B.C.

Late afternoon, anchored at Clam Bay, Gulf Islands, B.C.

Sunset at anchor, Clam Bay.

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