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Things that go bump | American Schooner Association

Things that go bump

A little over a month ago we were sailing into Sydney Harbour, on what had started out a grey and overcast day with a smattering of rain, that had turned into the glorious day we had hoped for. We felt that sailing in through Sydney Heads was a major milestone and were so happy to be rewarded with sunshine and even some smiley, familiar faces (thanks to Mark and Jenny en-route to Albany on that very same day)!

We enjoyed balmy days of swimming and kayaking near the Zoo at Athol Bay and Serius Cove, Christmas Day at Balls Head Bay where I had my epic fall, and New Years Eve of course right out amongst all the action back at Athol Bay. To top it all off we had the most fun time ever on Australia Day surrounded by water craft of all types out in the harbour with the Boat Parade, Tall Ships race and ferry races, yacht ballet and concerts – even got to celebrity spot as we cruised around  - spotting several well-known entertainers appearing at different concerts - being ferried there in boats!

It has been a wonderful time. Really awesome. We have practiced anchoring and are even quite proficient at anchoring in close quarters – can determine easily our swing circle and how close to others we can anchor – and these days Liam and Peter do most of this themselves. We have explored the city, North Sydney, Chatswood, Darling Harbour, Glebe and Rozelle to our hearts content, found great café’s and good shops. And we were quite ready to leave. We made a plan to begin checking the weather and preparing to restock in preparation for leaving and were days away from sailing back out the heads when wham! Something went significantly wrong.

We were heading from Blackwattle Bay near the fish markets (a yummy place to be anchored) to Balls Head Bay where the children could swim, when there was a sudden jolt in the engine. Peter immediately shut down the propulsion and put the engine in neutral. The shudder stopped. We were almost there so we drifted into the bay and set the anchor and then Peter went below to have a look. Nothing obvious but after lots of looking and thinking he was sure that the prop shaft had bent, presumably hit something as we sailed across.

We did some preliminary thinking about what to do, checked what a new shaft would cost, places we could get hauled out etc, and then remembered that we have insurance! That was a lovely moment! We are waiting now, the insurance people have to get back to us about assessing the boat, though we have been able to get two marine engineers on board who both agree that the shaft is damaged AND one of the engine mounts snapped. We have had two quotes for the repairs, both of which came in at over $10,000! Phew! Not an insignificant event by any means.

We are sitting comfortably, in this bay where the children can and have been swimming, where access to shops is pretty easy and we can get to water and dispose of rubbish. Our only real concern is with the prop shaft out of whack we are getting a bit of water into the hull, so it’s pumping all the time! All in all it couldn’t have happened in an easier way. Just being in Sydney harbour has made the event so much more manageable – getting people to look at it, finding places to take the boat out of the water, getting things done easily and maybe even quickly – all of this has been so much easier because we are here and not on the seas, not needing assistance to get in to port, not having to be towed to the next town where a suitable haul-out is available. We feel very fortunate that this has all happened in a place where things can be taken care of easily. We have even been offered somewhere to stay while the boat is out of the water – how amazing is that?!

They say it is never a dull moment when your life involves boats and it is so true!

We will update with more news as it becomes clearer what our next steps will be.