Duct Tape Fails Us????

We sailed under the 7 Mile Bridge in Marathon despite some challenges. Anchored at Little Shark River, our throttle refused to cooperate again. It’s terribly disconcerting when the diesel fades to nothing just when you need it to power past a critical marker! David fixed it before we lifted anchor before sunrise and as we were motoring out the channel, it let go again … so David’s down in the “hole” with the engine heating to 500 degrees hand holding the throttle connection together. Aaarrggg.

After we hoisted the sails, he was able to duct tape the throttle connection back together. That lasted a few hours … after the wind died, we had to motorsail…. we had to stop the diesel entirely to rig a jerry-fix … the duct tape melted and didn’t work out… who ever heard of duct tape NOT fixing something??? 🙂

So with diesel off and no wind, we’re floating in Florida Bay. David’s down in the hole trying to figure out another jerry-rig … and he tells me to keep the boat away from crab pots. Crab pots look JUST like a time bomb with their little lighting wick on top and are just waiting to snare the unwary sailor. In our case, with no way on and no steering, they were a bit more challenging. Every time a crab pot line would come up, David would hand hold the throttle together long enough for me to motor through the line and then we’d cut the diesel again and go back to figuring out a temporary fix. Aaarrrggg!!!

David is my hero! He engineered a “fix” with computer ties — you know those things that usually bundle wires and keep everything neat? David managed to get one around the throttle connection that held long enough for us to limp into Marathon Marina where Debbie — who is a SAINT, I might add — helped us coast into a wall slip where perhaps it wouldn’t matter that the throttle might or might not work when we needed it (especially throttle for reverse to keep from hitting a boat in front of us!!!).

Turns out our 1985 vintage Nanni Kubota diesel has a throttle connection that is no longer manufactured … why am I not surprised… SO we wandered all over Marathon today looking for ideas. West Marine provided a possible part option, but gave us the MOST important advice we received. “There’s a guy named Jimmy at Marine Power Systems … a place full of stuff on shelves and who knows what you might find”. So we visited Jimmy — turns out he’s right across from Marathon Marina … with a couple big wooden boats that are being restored under tarps out front and some really COOL old motorcycles … inside everything is dusty and overwhelming … until you show Jimmy the part you’re trying to replace and he starts providing advice and ideas. WOW! Thanks to Jimmy, David was able to replace the throttle connection with what so far looks to be a far more reliable arrangement … and all for a $12 part … if it works, it has to be the least expensive repair ever made on Winterlude!!!

Tomorrow we leave the unplanned marina stop and hope to resume our Keys exploration. Keep your fingers crossed the throttle connection holds … there are alot of VERY expensive boats around us in this marina! YIKES!!!

Lest you think that the challenges overcome the FUN, don’t even think about it! It’s 90 degrees and sunny, the sunsets are incredible, everyone in the marina is fun and sometimes even overcoming challenges can be very satisfying.

Off to more fun!!! Cheers! J&D

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