Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Whats That Smell??

If you have spent any time on a boat this is something you will have to deal with.  You will just be sitting there and next thing you know your nostrils will be accosted by one of the most foul and hateful odors your nose has ever experienced.  Then just as quickly that it crept up on you and beat your nose to a bloody pulp its gone.  It leaves no trail where it came from or where it went.  All you know is that you want to take care of it, but deep down in the pit of your stomach you can feel the gut wrenching bile inducing knowledge that it will be back to haunt your nose again.
Now, when you take a boat offshore you will no doubt stir up things and smells from the deepest and darkest areas of the bilge that cannot be reached or more appropriately cannot be cleaned.  Hmmmmm, maybe the Princess could stir up one of her 5 inch fairies and command it to do the task instead of sending them to call on the weather gods to torment me while I am at sea.  But that is for another day.
So, I am about 30 miles offshore after leaving Destin.  My great weather Guru James Dobbins has once again divined what I will be expecting when I am out there.  He has nailed it on the head.  He called the rollers in the pass and the flat seas further out.  His wind predictions are right on the money.  Weather is a huge thing for the offshore sailor and getting reliable weather is a godsend. (Remember NOAA brags about getting right 57% percent of the time.  Wish I could have a job like that)  Chris Parker be damned  want me some James Dobbins weather routing.
So anyway back to the story.  I am 30 miles offshore and enjoying the crystal clear blue water water.  Flying fish are skittering across the top of the water and overall it is just a pure joy.  Did I mention that a pod of Dolphins had also opted to use JusCrewZen as a play toy for a few minutes.  Things were going great.  This should be a simple two day run to Tampa.
Ok, here is where you cue the ominous music.  My nose gets throughly accosted by this horrific odor.  This is when I look up and see that the Princess has left a pair of her shoes right by the companionway hatch.  Now you guys don’t understand, the only place that the Princess produces odor is through her feet.  And we are not talking about some little dainty odor either.  We are talking full fledge swing a bat and Hank Aaron a ball over the outfield odor.  I have actually considered hanging her shoes over the side and seeing if they would be like dynamite and all of the fish would float to the surface, but then the odor contamination may infect the fish.  Plus, I am pretty sure Florida Parks and Wildlife would have major issues with the shoes being the cause of red tide and massive fish kills.  Not real sure what I can or will do about the shoes.
I move over near the shoes and thn I realize that is not were the smell is coming from.  If is coming from down below.  With further inspection I notice that it is coming from the engine room.  I pop the hatch open and thats when I realize I am in a world of hurt.  I have a fire.
What to do!  What to do!
As of right now there are no flames, but there are these nostril searing tendrils of smoke billowing out of the engine compartment.  I look around and notice that there is no power to the panel.  As I look I notice that a ground wire has become one with my main house bank supply line.  Now kids, don’t do this at home.  I reach over and pull the two wires apart and shut down all of the power supply switches.  I am now sitting offshore with no power and no way to start the engine.  Let me mention that while this is going on I have the main, the jib and the mizzen completely out.  There is not enough wind to make them luff.  All I have is my own ingenuity.  (Thats a scary thought huh)
Well I spend close to an hour pulling the main battery wire out of the bundle.  It has melted itself to several of the other wires.  I get it pulled from the system.  I need this wire to get the engine started and to run all of the boats systems.  No I do not have a replacement for it.  What to do?
I broke out the roll of blue painters tape and began wrapping the wire.  My idea is to insulate it from being able to touch anything else just long enough to get me to the nearest port.
Look out Panama City here I come.
This happened to this wire almost instaneously


  1. That happened to me once in my 1972 Volkswagon camper van. Was able to separate the white-hot. burning wires quickly with my hand (bad burn on my fingers. Had to fix it on the spot w/ tape and some kind of spacers. Was able to get the vehicle started safely, but on the drive home, whenever I hit the brakes, the head and tail lights came came on as well. I miss that van. :)

  2. Dear Princess; i'm curious about the 'Stunt' of missing the step and that photo. is there not a story about that, behind that?