Updated: Aug 7, 2018
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#Boatlife Woes - Our Current Challenge
Ok. Here it goes.
I never thought I would be writing this, especially not after purchasing Gemini just over 4 months ago. Gemini's engine needs to be replaced. If you know anything about boating, you understand what an undertaking this is.
Let me start from the beginning. We bought Gemini in October of 2017 - she was half the price of the other Passport 42 we were hoping to buy, mainly because the was not maintained as well cosmetically.
"Considering we own our own boat detailing business, we were not intimidated with a little waxing and get this - she had a brand new engine."
The previous owners had installed a brand spankin' new Kubota engine in 2013. Wow! A Diesel engine, when properly cared for and maintained, should run for at least tens of thousands of hours, so when you buy a boat with only 210 hours on the engine, you jump for joy thinking, "Phew! One less thing I have to worry about replacing!"
But, as we all know, life doesn't always go as expected especially when it comes to #boatlife. I wish I could tell you some nail-biting story about our engine blowing up on us out on the ocean - a story where we heroically sail our 25,000 pound boat all the way back to our slip in the calmest of winter days.
Of course, our story is much more boring - we were gearing up for our routine bi-weekly pump-out trip. For any of you not familiar with boat-life, to"pump out" means motoring your floating home over to the nearest Waste Pump Out station (you can find a list of SF Bay pump outs here) and connect a long suction hose to the deck fitting of your boat, and suck out all the waste from your tank. This is what we do on a regular basis, to properly deal with our human waste (our toilets feed into a large holding tank which built in to our boat) - part of the lifestyle that not many like to talk about.
Anyways, back to the engine. As we started up our engine and let it warm up, we suddenly heard a noticeable rattling squeaking noise, as if something was flying around somewhere inside our engine. "Oh shit, that doesn't sound good" I said to Jack.
Jack began to pull up floorboards and disassemble the cabinets that hide the engine under our sink in the galley. It's moments like these that I am ever-so-grateful to have a mechanic boyfriend - as a novice when it comes to mechanics, my job is to absorb as much knowledge as I can while assisting with any projects that involve squeezing into tiny spaces..
Even with the engine turned off and a better look at all the suspected issues, we did not see anything wrong with it. Unsure of what was making such a terrible racket in our engine, Jack began to go through each possible issue and examine each component of our marine diesel. Jack spent a good 2 days with his head stuck in the hole over our engine, just staring at it, as if maybe he could develop X-Ray vision if he stared at it long enough.
We checked all the normal things: oil, transmission fluid, water pump bearings, alternator (had it rebuilt), but ultimately we could not pin-point the culprit of the clanking. We decided it was time to call in the big dogs - Marty Chin from Bay Marine Diesel was the mechanic who installed the engine when the previous owner completed the re-power. Unfortunately, after doing a general run-down of all the engine components and about 30 seconds of hearing it run, Marty Chin told us what we never thought we would hear.
"The engine needs to come out, something must've rattled loose inside the main block of your engine."
Instantly, we had a million thoughts rushing through our heads. So what's next? What do you do when your mechanic tells you that the engine in the boat you bought about 4 months ago has failed and will need to be replaced?
We were in shock, sad, pissed off and worried but we were also a bit excited. We've never thought about what goes into replacing an inboard engine, which in our case means disassembling our galley sink cabinet, pulling up 1/3 of our floorboards & pulling the heart of our home out.
On the other hand, if we are about to undergo an entire engine re-power while living aboard, we are going to do it right. Doing it right means re-wiring bilge pumps, painting bilges, & replacing any old hoses we find along the way. All this is bittersweet - obviously we never expected to be dealing with serious engine issues with such a new motor, but given that we've been dealt this hand, we are trying to be optimistic. A wise neighbor & fellow captain told us: "if your glass is half empty, pour it into a smaller glass and you will have a full glass once again."
So, given the circumstances, we are excited for the crazy challenge that lies ahead.
Our next big question is: "How in hell will we afford to install a new engine?
We are speaking with our insurance company and they will be bringing a marine surveyor to assess the damage of the engine. We will keep you guys updated with any new developments.
No matter what happens, what we will need more than ever is your support. It doesn't have to be purely financial (though that surely helps!), it could be as simple as supporting our videos with comments & subscriptions on our Youtube channel. It could be following along as we tackle this beast of a project through our blog posts. We want to give details & tips of we learn throughout this "Engine Endeavor".
We have also created a Two the Horizon Gear campaign, where you can stock up on our newest Two the Horizon tees, long sleeves & hoodies! This is a great way of supporting us in exchange for some sweet swag!
Check it out here
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Remember, stay salty!
Two the Horizon Crew- Jack & Sonya