Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The latest in a string of hardships

So, backing up about one week....

We originally hoped to leave West Palm Beach last Wednesday, but when we went out to pull the anchor, Danny decided that one piece on the windlass (the equipment that pulls up the anchor) needed to be fixed. No big deal, just a one day delay in a long weather window to cross to the Bahamas.  The fix took until about noon, so we decided to spend one more day in Palm Beach and run one last errand that afternoon.

So we set off to run that one-last-errand (can you hear the ominous, foreshadowing music yet?), and to knock it off our list more quickly Danny decided to use one of the kid's scooters. In the (literally) last 5 feet of his ride, he hit a hole in the sidewalk and pitched over. Lots of road rash, but that seemed to be the worst of it (no head injury, thank god). Until the next morning, that is, when Danny woke and was so dizzy he was unable to sit up or even walk to the bathroom without the room spinning and feeling like he would vomit. We decided to head to a marina ASAP both because we needed water (we hadn't turned on the water maker yet because we were in the intercoastal) and so that we could get to a hospital, if needed. Danny took some seasickness meds and by noon he was able to walk up to the cockpit and sit down (which is all that's needed to run the engines as long as Susan's doing all the rest).  So we headed south to the Riviera Beach Marina (right at the Lake Worth inlet).

Danny was feeling a lot better by that afternoon when we got to the marina, although he did end up vomiting. We spent a reasonably pleasant night at the marina (Susan made Coq au Vin in the pressure cooker) and the next morning Danny felt MUCH better. So we decided to head out off shore (see previous post).  We headed out the cut and were having a great morning.  Conditions were dreamy.

Then suddenly all noise from the starboard engine dropped. Uh, that is not a good sign. We shut the engine down and speculated that we blew the sail drive seal, which we knew was leaking but could have held for a long time. So we continued under sail and with the port engine running and called our beyond wonderful broker, Phil Berman of the Multihull Company, who referred us to Just Catamarans at Lauderdale Marine Center.  We scheduled an appointment first thing Monday with Johan at Just Catamarans and were hoping to pull the boat (yes, out of the water) then.  We spent New Years weekend at the Las Olas Marina, a block from the beach, which was fun.

The first opening to pull the boat was today at 11 a.m. Although we were hoping for a quick fix, as soon as the boat was out of the water we were stunned to see that the sail drive was cracked - which is a MUCH bigger deal than replacing a seal. It looks like maybe a gear broke loose on the inside of the drive and caused additional damage, so we think we have to replace the entire drive (not just the lower unit).  So we are up on the hard at Lauderdale Marine Center waiting to see how quickly we can get a replacement sail drive. 

We're keeping our chins up -- this is, of course, the kind of set back you expect living on a boat -- we just didn't expect such a costly set back so quickly into the trip. So it's a little easier to list the hardships right now.  If you'll indulge me for just a moment....

1. A killer cold front came through yesterday and the low tonight is expected to be 39.
2. Lauderdale Marine Center is lovely (it's the largest marine center in the US), but not exactly kid friendly.
3. We are bleeding money.
4. The kids can't leave the inside of the boat now because the deck, instead of being just 6' off the water, is now about 15' off the cement.

But, in true Geiger fashion, here's the silver lining list:

1. There are few marinas with Travelifts big enough for our beam (26'). So we're lucky we were headed this way when the sail drive broke.
2. In the yard, we are sandwiched between Johnny Depp's boat and a 60' Gun Boat catamaran named Elvis (this is ultimate Danny's dream boat - I think even the toilet paper is made of carbon fiber).  But unfortunately, the lift operator told us that Johnny doesn't usually come visit his boat while it's in the yard, but I'm keeping a sharp eye out just in case.
3. There are showers, wifi and laundry here.  In fact, the kids and I are currently sitting in the "Captain's Lounge."
4. We will have a new starboard sail drive. And that will help us sell the boat after our trip. 
5. We're healthy and have a great boat that's well stocked and ready to head to the islands (well, just as soon as that sail drive is replaced).

Depending on how long it will take to get the new drive, we may rent a car tomorrow and head to the keys.  But we don't expect to go anywhere for a few days.  There is a window to cross to the Bahamas at the end of the week, so maybe we'll catch that.  If we're lucky. 
I took some great shots of the boat on the list which I'll post as soon as I download the pics from the camera.

But there is one really good piece of news today - Danny got word that he's officially a Captain licensed by the Coast Guard.  (And if you saw him bring the boat to the Lauderdale Marine Center with only one working engine, you would not be surprised in the least!)
Happy New Year all!


  1. So glad that we can follow your adventure on your blog. Hope things get fixed quickly and that you can be off on your adventure. We just returned from Africa a few days ago and we're trying to get back on this time zone (11 hour time difference!). Love, Chris

  2. You've got me chewing my fingernails here in Seattle...

    Much love,


  3. Oh dear. Sounds like the waning days of your 2011 were a good bit bleak like mine (Indonesian hospitals are likewise mighty handy here in Sumatra).

    Soooooo glad that Danny's all right. g-knows 'tis our health that can crush our adventures in a single moment. (then again, illness/accidents can happen - why even on the way to the local Home Depot!) ;)

    Stay safe, and wishing you all bountiful adventures in 2012!