After many months of planning and with great anticipation we were prepared on October 31st to enter the 24th annual Ha Ha with approximately 140 other sail boats. What a flotilla!
The gathering area was at the north end of Shelter end and referred to as the America’s Cup area. Slowly more and more vessels arrived and jockeyed for position. We had been nearer the beginning but start time was still a half hour or so away so we swung around to about the outside middle of the group, which put us in the middle of the main channel.
Now I must interject a question here. Is it us or the proverbial spin of the wheel as to the events that happened next.
As the sail past began in front of a boat filled with dignitaries from Mexico and San Diego, as horns were blasting, police boats shooting water from hoses and as we were sailing along enjoying all of this; we began to lose more and more power! Bloody Kelp!
The radio began to call out to everyone that there was a military war ship making its way out of the harbour and all boats had to move more to the right. This was completely unexpected and from what I could understand did not usually happen with the grand exit of the Ha Ha each year. You don’t ask the military to change course, so no problem, we began to move right.
Now here is the bizarre part, great clouds of steam suddenly started to come out the exhaust! The engine was not being cooled! It is now getting to be a bit of a nail bitter and more problematic when we now receive word that an aircraft carrier is on its way INTO port. We cannot stay where we are and if we motor across the channel chances are we may burn out the engine. With zero options, Captain put the motor into low and we motored, barely, back to the Police dock. We had to report to Ha Ha that we would be starting late. From starting at the beginning to possibly a no start.
Once we were docked (back at our spot like one of the Zoolanders) Captain went over the side, freed the prop of all the kelp and then restarted the engine. Absolutely no steam came from the exhaust, how can that be? Kelp around the prop has nothing to do with obstructing the water intake to cool the engine. Two totally separate situations happened at the same time.
Really?? Yes really.
What could only be determined was something blocked the strainer which allows sea water in to cool the engine and the only immediate culprit was that tenacious kelp. Once the engine stopped the kelp dropped off the strainer (which is on the underside). This is the best guest.
Off we go! We are back with the Ha Ha. We were behind the one hour, not so bad after all!
On the count of three, all together now……..HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!