The Sun Almost Set on my Boat

Published On August 17, 2015 | By Mark Baese | Boat Projects

I haven’t posted as much in 2015. Actually, nothing at all. There’s a good reason for that – my engine block was cracked. In fact, our boat has only been in the water for 4 weeks so far this year. We’re still getting used to having a boat again.

New marina on my lake at Manteo Resort - still being built out.

New marina on my lake at Manteo Resort – still being built out.

 

My motivation has pretty much been non-existent. We were devastated to find out our boat had a cracked engine block – once we knew what it really meant.

Over the past few years, we’ve put in a bit of money refurbishing things on the boat, including re-epoxying and painting the bottom, replacing things as they broke (raw water impeller), all the little things you’ve seen on this site, and we had plans to redo the canvas this year (which we’d put off for 2 years already). We were set to go in the water earlier than normal (April 15th) to tackle a few more of these things – and that’s when we got the bad news.

Once we found out we had a cracked engine block, and that no one was taking responsibility, deflated, we had to reconsider the whole boat ownership game.

So what happened?

The marina was the same one that winterized it. Would they not notice a cracked block in the fall when doing the winterizing if it was in fact cracked before winter? This seemed HIGHLY unlikely.

Our cracked engine block - about a 4 inch crack.

Our cracked engine block – about a 4 inch crack.

 

I’ll eventually go into this in great detail with the timelines, and my own investigative work, but here is the nitty-gritty:

  • Was informed of cracked block. Marina didn’t feel it was freeze damage/their fault – despite having a clean bill of health that they gave it in the fall – but would do some tests to see if oil was in the water, which they would then concede it was there fault and repair at their own cost.
  • They were very busy that week and said they’d test next week. It took 4 weeks for them to apply JB Weld and run the engine. That was the “test”.
  • No water was found in the oil. Mechanic set up meeting with myself and ops-manager to find a solution.
  • 5 weeks after the crack was found. We had a sit down. It took some doing, but marina agreed they’re likely at fault, as it was likely freeze damage, and will cover the cost of a new block and the associated costs of replacing it. This sounds like it was easy. It was not. I had to bring the photos to other mechanics and post in online forums to get as much information on cause as possible.
  • The timeline was supposed to take a few weeks. After a month passed of phone-tag and looking for updates on how the work was going, we posted a horrible review on the marina’s facebook page. We then received a call from the ops manager who informed us the parts had not been ordered yet.
  • After the meeting, I went to see my boat for the first time this year. What a disaster. The marina had left the canvas off for who-knows-how-long. During at least one rainstorm. The boat was a disaster.

I’m going to stop the bullet points there for a moment and just talk about our state of mind. We were just crushed at this point. It had been 2 months since the problem was discovered, and the work had NOT YET begun. We seriously considered just getting the boat working and selling it. We were just finished.

  • After talking with the ops manager, things started to happen. He wasn’t sure what the issue was but got to work himself ensuring things were moving along.
  • They cleaned our boat and put the canvas back up.
  • The block was ordered and an engine shop (not the marina) started work on it.
  • July 17th we finally got our boat back.
Julie giving the rebuilt engine a solid test.

Julie giving the rebuilt engine a solid test.

 

The first weekend we took it out was almost like the first day we owned it. Extremely cautious and not quite trusting the machine yet. After such a major repair we wanted to ease into it.

Once went out for our first overnight trip, we settled right back into things.

Enjoying the beautiful views while underway.

Enjoying the beautiful views while underway.

 

It’s very strange. Once you get out on the water doing the thing you love doing – all the bad feelings went away and we were back to being boaters.

A calm evening on a mooring buoy. Julie is sporting mid-season tan-lines on the first full weekend of boating.

A calm evening on a mooring buoy. Julie is sporting mid-season tan-lines on the first full weekend of boating.

 

We’re very glad to put this behind us. It was a long haul.

If there’s any silver lining in all this – our engine was 20 years old. The guy who rebuilt the engine said it was its last leg. Maybe had another year or two left in it. It’s hard to predict these things, but it likely would have needed a rebuild in the near future. It may have taken half a boating season to get settled, but it’s one more BIG project we can check off the list.

But mostly, it’s just nice to be boating again.

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3 Responses to The Sun Almost Set on my Boat

  1. Ryan Lalonde says:

    Glad you’re back to seafaring shape!

  2. Blair says:

    Good for you for persaveering! It’s a fun (though expensive) sport! I traded mine in on a ring for Helen!

    Bought a cottage. Need a boat!

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