I'm Matt, a software engineer and boating enthusiast based in Washington State (but on the move). I started Hermit Cove Boats, offering cool skin and frame boat plans and kits. Check it out!
We started bright and early for the longish trip to Port McNeill. But the starter motor was having none of it. Rather than crank-crank-crank we got wheeze. And then wheeze. And then click. Break out the Nigel Calder books. I established that the solenoid was not the problem. And when the starter motor was hooked directly to power, very little current flowed. Damn. Well, there are very few places nicer in this world to be stuck, but its not like the AAA guy will come running. Echo Bay was just 6 or so miles away, so I could use the Klepper to bring the starter motor there, and then catch a float place to Port McNeill. Leave Kristin and Haskell in a snug anchorage for a few days? It could be done.
But first lets try taking the damn thing apart to see if something looks wrong. Calder suggests sanding down the copper contacts and checking the brushes. Easier said than done. The 40 year old starter motor had some screws way bigger than any screw driver I have on board, so I couldn’t get easy access to the brushes. I found a few gross and pitted traces on the motor. After sanding them clean the challenge was to get the brushes which are spring loaded to hold back and allow the shaft to seat back between them. I used string, and Kristin’s help to wedge each of the four brushes in turn, till it finally slid home. I put all the screws back in the same place and re-mounted the motor on the engine. Crank-crank-crank. Crank-crank-chugga chugga chugga. Holy crap Kristin, it worked!
Of course that meant we had to go. No way we’d turn the engine off again till we were near roads. So it was time to go to Port McNeill. We got in at 7pm, not as late as we’d thought. We plan to go 5 knots, but usually seem to catch tides and go 6 or better.
Cars! Roads! The last car we’d seen was in Lund. You don’t miss them much really. Driving on roads is so limiting. Keep on the right. Go where they’ve paved. When you walk, boat, or fly, you can always choose your own path.