Thursday, July 17, 2014

Branford - engine repair

So you always wondered what a dampener looked like....
Normally we would have stayed at Branford for only one day to take advantage of Lenny's nearby but since we needed to replace the dampener on the engine drivetrain we stayed an extra day so Brian from McDonnell Marine could reach us easily on Thursday. So what is a "dampener" and why does it need to be replaced? It's part of the drivetrain between the engine and the transmission. There is no clutch on a sailboat, it's all or nothing. There's no first, second or third gear, just one gear forward and one gear for backing up. There is a lot of heavy iron being driven by the engine and so a shock absorber was designed in between the driveshaft of the engine and the gearbox (which is only there to switch from forward and aft). That shock absorber is called the "dampener". Ours had seen 3200 hours of operation, a lot even for a diesel. If our sailboat engine was in a car, it would have gone 160,000 miles so far (assuming 50 miles/hour). Ours had seen its best days, the rubber cushioning was shot.

Nice restaurant at the marina, but it's not at the level of Lenny's
So now we are all set for our trip south in September down the ICW once again. The marina here is in good shape as far as upkeep but they are woefully underutilized. I'm sure they would get more business if they only met market demand by lowering prices but I never expect that to ever happen!

Lots of Osprey nests everywhere
From here we'll probably go to North Cove in the Connecticut River for a free mooring before continuing onward to Stonington on Saturday. The winds continue to be light but the storms have all abated for now, no rain is predicted for the next several days! If all goes well, we'll mosey out to Block Island for a few days before heading back west.