SV Osprey

Saint John VI



Our first attempt failed and we came back to the Pennsylvania and went back to work to support leaving Osprey behind. Bonnie and I both drove an 18 wheeler cross country. This fall I found a position in Information Technology on the Island of Saint Thomas. Not a good job, but one that would allow us to try living aboard again. We were in daily contact with the Marina at Virgin Gorda where Osprey was on the hard. We were assured she would be in the water waiting for our arrival. Two of my friends and I were going to go over the BVI and bring her back to Sapphire Beach Marina where we found a slip for her. Bonnie and Tiger(our Master-at-arms) stayed on Night Train, Roberts sailboat. Tiger could not enter the British Virgin Islands as he needed some medical clearance. When we got there she was not in the water, she was on the hard. After lunch they put her in the slings and promptly buried the travel lift up to the tops of the tires in soft mud. They brought a crane over and lifted the travel lift and laid down some boards to get it out onto dry ground. The commissioning that I had asked for and paid for was suspect. Since amongst other things they were to change all the filters and charge the batteries. I asked was it done and was told yes and it started up right away. They always test run the engine to make sure the fuel filters are not air locked. OK I’m a believer. We splashed Osprey and found the ignition key was missing. I did not have a spare with me so I replaced the ignition switch now we have a key. The batteries were deader than door nails. So I replaced the starter battery. I checked the fluids and topped off the oil and refrigerant. I checked the rest of the boat out and noticed that the microwave from the galley mutinied, it moved from the galley to the cockpit. The tools and meters had long jumped ship along with the Biminis cover and the new dock lines. SO much for a secure location, but we were underway on our boat and starting a new adventure. We fired her up and it was now 3:30 PM and we cleared out of there for customs and got underway at 4:45. Luckily Robert was familiar with the waters and we were able to motor to Sapphire Beach. By now the master plan called for sundowners at the dock. We were still in British waters. We cracked open the Cruzan anyhow. It was dark when we got there but we got her into the slip and tied her fast.

Now the work begins. Osprey is crying out for some TLC to restore her to her former self. Bonnie is sanding and varnishing (8 coats) while I go to work at the Pueblo Market. I am doing the "GUY" things like changing her hailling port lettering on the side of the boat. We never got around to putting the new letters on her last time. We documented her with the Coast Guard and used St. John as her home port. I stripped off the old port with the heat gun but chickened out and asked Bonnie to put t lettering on the side. Bonnie has a duanting task ahead of her. The last owner had a boat detailing business of sorts, however, he did not take care of Osprey. He placed green canvas covers over her bright work.

After a few days on shore power we had AJ Marine Service look at our batteries and found one to the banks of 2 six volt golf cart batteries was in need of replacement. So we put a set in things were working well but the lights still dimmed when the water pump ran. Not a good sign. Next thing the water stopped running. Battery was at 12.6 volts. So we replaced the pump. We had fresh water again. I am hoping that Osprey will not drain us of our cash. Boat = Bring On Another Thousand!

Bonnie said the head has an odor. Well she looked around and found the vented loop was pumping out of the vent hole. Jim was assigned the task of putting a new loop in. It was Saturday afternoon. Budget Marine was open so I hopped a Safari and made my way there. (Safaris are open air pick-up trucks that have a roof and bench seats 1.00 per person to ride with the islanders) I got the part and got back. It took forever to get the old one out but the new one was installed just in time for our first guests at the new location. I then attempted to fix the Rube Goldberg shower sump the previous owner made. I ordered one from Budget Marine. I got it all hooked up. How hard can this be two sinks and the shower feed into 3 input ports and one discharges. It did not work. Investigation turned up the through hull was packed with mud. Once cleared up it worked fine, but I had spent far too much time getting it going. The galley sink discharges below the water line. So it is run into a 15 gallon holding tank that has a macerator pump to pump overboard the gray water and any bits of food that manage to get into the tank. Well it would not work. So I replaced the pump it still would not pump out the tank. AJ came by and we found the problem was the ground bus in the breaker panel. We added a new 8 gauge wire from the ground bus to the battery and it now pumped. As a side benefit the lights no longer dimmed as the water pump ran. Things are looking up.

Don't count your chickens before they hatch!

The documentation with the boat calls this space the engine room. Even for someone Hobbit Sized like me it is a challenge. But I got in here and can get out. Tiger our Master at Arms would like to crawl down here and inspect but he is not allowed, anyhow he is busy sleeping in the Nav Station.

OK!it is time to get the boat out and about. I want to put her back into the slip bow first. I have her in stern first and the change in postion will increas the air flow through the boat. And our view for cocktails in the cockpit will be of Saint John and Cruz Bay. Along with Craig Newman and Kimmi, we went out on a round Island sail. Things were going splendid. We were on a nice reach when BANG one of the pulleys on the boom traveler broke. No Problem! It was still connected and working so we sailed onward. Bonnie took the helm and Craig and I went forward to enjoy the sail. The air had lightend up considerably. When once again we heard the ominous BANG this time the boom bail snapped. So we doused the main and started the iron genny up. We motored back to the slip. The bilge pump was coming on rather frequently so once in the slip we opened the deck up and saw salt water running. SO NOT GOOD. We trace it to the dripless seal. It seems the lip seal is in need of replacement. Tightend things as best as we could. Not in peril yet as we are on shore power and bilge pumps can keep up with the trickle. I took the bail to the Sub Base Dry Dock and they made me a new one. It was a nice sail while it was happening. Ok so we did have a little fun before we had to put her back into the slip. More good sailing to come. NOT SO FAST! Everything will conspire against us. It is all good we are in the Caribbean and at Sapphire Beach Marina and Resort. Yeah Life is Good. While waiting for the new bail we decided spend some time practicing our dock approaches. There is a strong east wind on our port side making the approach through the coral and the channel tricky along with having to execute a fast 90 degree turn into the slip as soon as we clear the channel. I need a lot of speed to get Osprey’s helm to respond but all is good as soon as we get in and Bonnie puts the spring line on. The practice sessions were going well we had it down pat! No raised voices or Laurel and Hardy Boating here. On the last approach of the day Bonnie had the spring line secured and I put her in reverse but the throttle cable had enough it mutinied along with the other equipment. No Worry we were tucked in the slip hanging on the spring line: so we ran our other dock lines and I ordered a throttle cable from Budget Marine. I put the cable in and checked the batteries and the fluids. I started her up and she purred. Push forward on the lever and the engine revved up. I let her run for a while to charge the starter battery. After a bit I shut her down. Bonnie's daughter Carmel is coming for a visit. So we have lots of plans for sailing about. Kimmi is joining us and we are going to snorkel and Kimmi will take underwater pictures. Too Kewl. We are alll assembled, the lines have been singled up, shore power and water disconnected. As is my procedure we are going to start the engine an let it run for a bit incase it shuts down. better at the slip than in the coral lined channel out to Pillsbury Sound. I turn the key and clunk. The battery will not turn the engine over. No worry, I open the floor to the engine room and descend into it with my Jumpper cables at the ready. I ask Admirall Bonnie to hit the key and then I hear it. The sickening noise of an engine that has died. I first thought we through a rod. I called AJ and he dinghyed over from his shop. I looked at the oil that and there it was a horror show..... white and milky like a Wendy's Frosty. NOT NOT GOOD. I am figuring that we are about to give up the dream again and drive the big old truck to pay for a new engine. AJ called Alva Bryan one of the Island Guys and a most respected Diesel Mechanic. He came over and shook his head. I am about to cry when he smiles and says "no worry mon, we can save her." We worked all day getting the oil water out of the engine then after we found what we thought was the place the water came in we started pouring new oil in. Westarted her up and ordered a mixer elbow. A week later we got it and placed it on the engine. I started her up and ran her up to temperature. Then did an oil and filter change. I was doing this daily.
Now that Osprey is all good again we invite Kathy and Gene to join us for a cruise to Jost Van Dyke. We pull from the slip and the wind is taking me or is it. I am turning the wheel and the helm is not responding. Just 24 hours ago I checked all fluids. This is so Not Good. I am up agains the pilings but OK. I did not think to check the steering staion in the pilot house, Instead Augie of Soul Fish pushes us off the pilings and back into the slip, Nothing damaged but my ego. Called AJ and we found a small leak in the hydraulic cylinder. Called Capilano in Canada and they passed my info to their representitive in Florida. Parts are on the way. In the mean time Bonnie is noticing Tiger is leaving oily foot prints all over the boat. She actually takes him into the shower room and washes him clean of the oil. The leak is at the rudder cylinder and he can't get there. She discovers the leak is in the steering station in the pilot house. Right where Tigers bowl is. It is missing the bowl but he is stepping in it to eat.I order another seal kit for the steering station. I am still changing the oil in the engine. The engine is getting harder to start. Usually she start instantly now I crank for a few seconds and she blasts water from her overboard discharge. We are getting ready to go out when once again she has drowned. So AJ, Craig, and I looked at her and started the ritual over again flush the engine, oil her up and change oil and filters until she becomes clean again. In the meantime the lady at Budget said they had the same problem with their boat. Took them several drownedings util they located the problem a stuck one way valve. We found and put a new brass one in Osprey. She drowned again. So we tracecd the water lines and found an anti siphon loop with a copper tube led to a through hull under the rub rail. We found it plugged with dirt and stuff. We replaced it with plastic tubing and lo and behold the drownding stopped.

It has been a hassel with all the problems of an older boat. But life in itself is a hassle.I am fortunate to have a wife that not only lets me live my dream but lives it with me.. I was happy when we were married but even with all that has gone awry I cant think of a time I have been happier. I have always dreamed of living on a sail boat, Now that she is fixed we start out again with AJ as crew. It is the weekend of the Rolex here in Saint Thomas..



Questions or Comments Email or