Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I'd read about boat deliveries on other blogs, and a few of my marina friends will regale us with the tales of their weeks at sea and emergencies they overcame while delivering boats various places.

Well, I finally got to make a delivery -- sort of.

We had to move Gimme Shelter across Clear Lake from Seabrook to her new slip at Marina Del Sol.

This seemed like a very simple, straight-forward task. I took Friday afternoon off work thinking we might even take a little sail out on the bay before bringing her in.  Wow that was incredibly hopeful.  

We had only brought one car for the weekend, so we were either going to have to leave the car at Seabrook and beg a ride back or we could catch a ride over in a dinghy. Either way, Mary wanted to go to the new boat first to start getting her ready.  I was excited to get the boat cleaned up and aired out.  Unfortunately I had forgotten all of my cleaning supplies at home, expecting to make a quick run to the store for the essentials on arrival.  

As we arrived at Seabrook, our insurance agent started calling saying he'd never gotten the engine serial number for the insurance policy. I said, no problem, let me read it off to you.

It was at that point I realized the reason he didn't have the serial number was because it had most likely been unreadable for the better part of a decade.

This set off several calls to the broker who began placing calls to the seller who began searching documents to track down this elusive number while I headed to Marina Del Sol to take a dinghy ride back.  He ended up finding the number on a previous survey, and not on the registration papers like you would think.  

The first hitch in our plan came into play when I arrived at Marina Del Sol to find the lowest tide I'd seen since January.

There was no water.

Our neighbor said there hadn't been any water all week, but that MAYBE the tide was coming back tonight.

With Mary busy cleaning the boat, there was nothing to be done except to sit down and have a beer with my friends on the Tina Marie.

Perhaps that was a bad decision since I soon got an angry phone call asking why I hadn't come back to pick Mary up. Oops.  By soon Freddie means well over two hours later.  I was expecting him to come right back to get me, and having no cleaning supplies at all I was quickly lonely and bored on the new boat.  Feeling rather jealous and abandoned I might have been a little overly grouchy.  

I drove back around the lake and retrieved her, the broker retrieved the engine serial number, and soon Mary was on the phone with the insurance company again experiencing first hand why people say "boat" stands for break out another thousand.  I am thoroughly convinced I will never have money again.

I did a little more cleaning on the Seahorse and a little more drinking on the Tina Marie, all the while keeping a close eye on the tide.

Around 7:30 p.m. I said, "I think it's deep enough."

I really wasn't sure that it was deep enough, but the tide was coming in. I figured by the time we got across the lake and back, it would be deeper.

We hopped into our friend's dinghy and set off across the lake.  I just want to say thank you to Ray for taking us across the lake, but that Ray's dinghy is much too fast for me. We will not be putting a 20hp outboard on any dinghy we buy. 

Just as we were pulling up to the boat in Seabrook Marina, the dinghy suddenly died. Our friend Ray attempted to restart it, but it was locked up.

I grabbed a paddle and sculled over to the dock. A quick inspection showed that the painter had gone under the dinghy and gotten tangled in the prop. This seems familiar.  Unfortunately, it was wrapped too tight to untie and none of us were carrying a knife. Nor did we have a knife on Gimme Shelter.

No problem, I said. We'll just fire up Gimme Shelter and tow the dinghy back.

Everyone came aboard, and I began cranking the motor on Gimme Shelter. It cranked and cranked and cranked and cranked, but it never coughed to life.  Your new boat not starting seems like it would be your greatest fear, but after so long on boats you learn to expect problems.  It's the only way to keep your sanity.  
Call number two to the broker then occurred as I had to ask him the correct starting procedure. Embarrassing.

Once I'd heated the glow plugs with the electricity actually turned on to them, she started right up.

The guys helped me with the dock lines, and we were off -- making our delivery across Clear Lake just as the sun began to set.

Pulling into the marina on my new boat, standing on the bow, with all of our friends yelling and waving from the dock, was definitely a high point in my boating career. Nothing is as fun without friends to share it with.  

Even with the dinghy delay and the extended diesel starting procedure, the tide had not come in as high as I'd hoped it would, but we were able to plow through the muddy entrance to Marina Del Sol and get situated in our new slip with no issues.

We (I) finally had (my) our new boat. Just kidding, Freddie!

(And Ray's dinghy was fine. We cut the painter loose, pulled up the motor and had it running again -- no problem.)