Tag Archives: St. Augustine

TLC for Tango in a Very Cool Place

18 Feb

I’m writing this on a rather chilly Presidents’ Day from the comfort of Tango’s heated interior regions. I thought we had beaten winter by crossing below 30 degrees latitude but I guess there are more factors to consider than just how far south one is. Regardless, the sun is shining and, with Tango almost ready to go back into the water, we really can’t complain.

I should back up a bit by saying that we are currently “on the hard” at a boatyard in Saint Augustine, Florida. We have been landlocked for about a week now and are eager to get underway again. (Hopefully tomorrow at high tide.) Tango needed some sprucing up as well as a few, more critical, repairs.

The most urgent of the repairs was the need to replace the seals on our sail drives. What is a sail drive you might be asking? Well on many boats with inboard engines the propeller shaft runs in a  straight line from the transmission and through the hull. To keep water from rushing in and sinking the boat there is usually a series of nuts and packing material that is used to allow just enough water in to lubricate the prop shaft. On our boat we have a little different setup. The engines are inboard but at least part of the transmission is outside of the boat in a sealed chamber that is filled with transmission oil to keep the gears all happy. Over time the seals that keep the sea water out will fail and the nice slippery clear oil turns milky white with saltwater contamination. This was the state of our transmission oil for the last 600 miles or so.

Unfortunately the only way to replace the seals is to have the boat hauled out of the water. This is an expensive but needed periodic maintenance event. Fortunately it would appear that there was very little scoring on the prop shaft and all that was needed was the seals to be replaced and some good, clean oil. Done and done!

Another “majorish” issue was that the raw water pump, used to cool the engine, was leaking and needed to be replaced. Fortunately we had a spare onboard and, with a little modification and some swearing by Andy, the new pump was installed in short order.

Other than this we have just been sprucing up Tango a bit as well as touring. Robin scrubbed and waxed the hull to make Tango look prettier again. We are headed into mega yacht territory so we need to look our best! There were some scrapes and bubbles in our bottom paint (some of which came from my grounding in North Carolina) so we had some touch up done by a local painter. We wanted to do this ourselves but apparently the environmental regulations won’t allow this. Probably a good idea…I’m a messy painter.

If one is going to have to be stranded on land for a bit, Saint Augustine is the place to be. We have really enjoyed our time here. Touted as the oldest city in America, (founded in 1565) Saint Augustine has a wealth of history and culture packed into a very small footprint. Some touristy highlights include the Castillo de San Marcos, the Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” Museum, The Bridge of Lions, and multitudes of shops and restaurants. We even took a shot at experiencing a vegan & raw food restaurant. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

The homes down here are just gorgeous and we have been walking through some very pretty neighborhoods. Many parts of town, including the one I am in right now called “Lincolnville”, remind me of Portland’s older neighborhoods.

We had dinner on Saturday night with a very nice couple who have been stranded here since late November when they ran aground in the inlet and had to have some major repairs done on their keel, propeller, and transmission. I don’t wish bad experiences on anyone but it’s reassuring to know that we all go through the same issues anytime we put our keels in the water for any length of time. To me that is the coolest part of this whole experience. Meeting wonderful people and sharing stories of life on the water. Matt and Jessica, thank you for the great company and we wish you happier days ahead. I’m sure we will meet up with you guys again. (hopefully in a place with less gravel and travel lifts)

Making Progress

10 Feb


Everywhere we go the girls evaluate the water. Finally, we are getting to more tropical looking water where we can actually see the bottom!