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  • Capt. Eric

A Very No Good Day

As Eeyore would say...

Enfin at our assigned dock space where we got hit

It all started as we were slowly riling up and getting ready to get out of bed.

We heard loud maneuvering, not far from Enfin, but didn't much pay attention to it as we'd had a few large fishing boats come into the nearby processing plant, being loud and close during their docking maneuver. These guys know what they are doing, so no need to worry.

Our tranquility however was interrupted by a loud bang: A boat hit our stern, so Di and I rushed up to the cockpit and deck. We saw an old looking Californian 38 boat that clearly wasn't being maneuvered with any competence. This is what happens when anyone with a checkbook can purchase a boat without having to demonstrate any knowledge or skills.

After hitting us, the out of control boat went on to hit our neighbor on B dock, under the stunned eyes of the whole marina and RV campground. At least we're not short of witnesses.

Hopefully this is the only damage but we will inspect the boat thouroughly

I went to survey the results, and as far as I can tell we have sustained minor damages only, mostly some scratched gelcoat.

I will need a better survey done though, just to ensure there isn't any hidden damage anywhere. The boat is built incredibly well and strong, so I believe we're fine, but assuming anything is never a great answer in the marine world.

At the moment the plan is to ask the Nordhavn office in Anacortes to check the boat out.

Even if, as I hope, we only have gelcoat damage, Enfin is a special "ivory" color that will be difficult to match precisely in the long run. Getting an exact match now isn't that difficult, but then we run the risk of the patched repair becoming visible as it ages differently than the rest of the gelcoat around. So we will need good specialist to work under the advice of Nordhavn to get long lasting results.

We have involved our insurance. Since we were at dock, at a place assigned by the marina, there can be no doubt we have no responsibility. The blame for the allision is entirely the other boat's. Apportioning liabilities in marine insurance claims was a main part of my job when I used to work for a maritime law firm in London and later a large underwriter in the USA.

The boat that allided with Enfin. See his damaged stern platform

With insurance contacted there wasn't much else to do on a Sunday, so we decided to stick to our schedule and continue our cruise South.

Back to civilization. We didn't like the main house, but loved the small perched cabin

We transited Seymour Narrows at slack time, and even then it was clear from the turbulent waters how incredible this place must be with the full 15 knots force of the currents.

We had a line of boats behind us, all having reached the same conclusion as to when to time their transit.

As soon as we crossed the narrows it felt like a different world, a complete return to civilization. South of the narrows there are many houses ashore, industrial installations, and generally much more visible human presence.

Current helping we made way for a protected bay and anchored.

I wasn't happy with my choice of anchoring position: I ended up too close to a shallow rock, so decided to raise the anchor and move about 200 feet. In 4 months of cruising it is the first time I actually did that. I normally get it right the first time, but I just didn't like our position.

On lowering the anchor a second time our windlass decided to give up: We can hear the electric motor engaging but the capstan and chain are not turning. Clearly there is a mechanical problem.

At sea check of the top portion of the windlass

I opened up the top of the windlass right there as we were heading towards Campbell River, to check if there were any obvious signs of failure. Maybe a broken key or something like that. Alas, nothing visibly wrong, so the problem is more likely in the bottom part, hopefully something sacrificial like a key and not something more expensive and serious like the gear box. Time will tell.

The bottom part of the windlass where the problem likely resides

Luckily our return to more civilized parts helps, and very fortunately the windlass didn't fail in the middle of nowhere.

For me a windlass is a critical equipment on board, so we need it repaired soonest. It is a matter of safety to know you can anchor and leave when needed. While the windlass has a manual option, it is not a realistic one when you start adding up the 50 kg of the anchor to the heavy chain.

Smoky sunset arrival in Campbell River

We reached Campbell River Discovery Marina just before sunset. It is a major marine center with a boat yard so we are hopeful we will find a good mechanic to help repair our windlass. I can do some of it, and on paper all of it, but the unit is very heavy and needs some boat yoga to access, so I'll be happy to get qualified help. Local shops also have their own network to get parts, so that could also help in getting faster repairs.

To add to the misery of this very no good day, we had fire smoke envelop us. There is a large fire on Vancouver Island. When it pours it smokes?!

Our cruising plans are on hold until we understand the windlass problem. At least we are in a good marina and good place to get it sorted. We will provision, wash the boat and do all the other things we normally do when we get back to a "big" city.

"Cruising is doing expensive repairs in exotic destinations" says a friend. Not sure Campbell River qualifies as exotic, but it doesn't take much from the accuracy of the quip!

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