What Broke? Lessons From an Overnight Sail

Lesson #1 — always check EVERY line to make sure there’s no frayed spot anywhere!   I thought we were on top of this … we replaced our worn roller furling line, we double checked every line on the boat …. well, maybe we forgot one.    And of course, it was the one  …

Sailing along, life was grand, with Bo, the Monitor Windvane sailing, the only noise was the water sluicing by the hull.   Until *BANG*!!!   What was THAT?

At the same moment Bo decided to lose course.  And we knew, one of the steering lines had snapped.

No problem, we’ll just replace it …  and we did.  Except we didn’t remember that Bo requires NO STRETCH line … something we didn’t have aboard. Strike Two.

About that same time, the wind lightened up to where we were sailing below 4 knots … so we turned on the iron genny and rumbled our way south with the main autopilot, Boris Sr.   Luckily we waited on the parts to have Boris Sr.’s main linear drive seals replaced just before we left.  In fact, the linear drive was re-installed, air bled out and triple-checked to make sure it was working properly literally two hours before we left the dock.


Steering Lines on the Monitor — one of which snapped and we didn’t have no stretch line on board to replace it… hence, no functional windvane. 🙁

So we get a gold star for getting the below decks autopilot (Boris Sr) fixed before leaving the dock and negative stars for not checking every line on the boat.

We almost left without getting the autopilot linear drive seals replaced, thinking, no problem, we’ll get it fixed in the Keys and Bo, the Monitor, will drive us there.  Had we done that, we would have been hand steering for 16 hours overnight … ugh!

Leaky transmission seal requires more to drink more frequently than we knew!

Our leaky transmission seal requires more to drink more frequently than we knew!

We were lucky – we could have had another casualty – we know the lower seal in our transmission is leaking.  It’s on the haulout list for Spring 2015.  In the meantime, our mechanic told us to keep adding transmission fluid.  Guess what we forgot to do underway? Luckily, it’s not leaking badly enough that it ran dry during our motorsailing, but it certainly turned the 3M sheet under our transmission pink!

We added transmission fluid already.  Gotta take care of the boat, she takes care of us.

Other than that … nothing broke!  A new overnight sail record — only one real casualty?  Must have been a great sail!  🙂


  1. Keith Davie says:

    Just remember, guys: If it’s not breaking, you’re not using it enough! That’s the joy of boats.


  1. […] Above Decks:  Check all lines and halyards for any chafe. Remember ALL lines …. like us, the one you miss may be the one that fails underway…  see our recent post “What Broke?  Lessons from an Overnight” […]

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