Sunday, 26 April 2009

Any Port in a Storm

This week one of Bristol Roses engine mount brackets broke. Crossing from the big island of Puerto Rico to Vieques, I discovered the damage and quickly shut down her engine and sailed the remainder of our passage.

Our friends on Slow Mocean were already in the island of Vieques. I hailed Blake on the VHF radio to ask if there looked to be any facilities in Vieques that could get our engine back in operation.

Good news there is a local machine shop and a couple of local welders that could help.

Blake helped me remove the broken engine mount. The damage was worse then we had originally thought. We really need a replacement part. Finding the part proved to be more difficult as this is an aftermarket part, used to mount our Seafrost refrigerator compressor and is not made by the engine manufacture, Yanmar.

I called Bill from Shannon, the builder of Bristol Rose. Bill told me were the original part came from and offered some ideas to get us operational. After a number of calls I made contact with the RV Power, the Puerto Rico Yanmar Distributor. Their customer service is disappointing; after numerous phone calls and emails, I am still waiting for RV Power to get back to me with price and delivery, but that another story.

Time for plan B, Patch the broken bracket so that we can get to a port that can assist us with getting a new part.

As the sailors of old say “any port in a storm”. Blake and I go to town to find a welder. We had a name to work with, a young lady working a tourist stand in the main street knew of the welder we were looking for and suggested that the guys in the bar across the street could help.

We asked around the bar, and sure enough one of the patrons is a friend of the welder. He is getting ready to go to Utah today. On close inspection of the damaged part the patrons of the bar told us that the guy we are looking for does not have the equipment to make the repair. They suggested either walking 3 miles to AA Machine Shop or sit in the bar and hail down a guy in a white truck who carries welding equipment that could make the repair.

We ordered a beer and watched the passing traffic from the bar, looking for a white truck. There he is but we were too slow to wave him down. Not to worry he will be back. After waving down the wrong truck and finishing our beer making the 3 mile trip to AA machine shop looked the better option.

The AA Machine Shop was surprisingly well equipped. 3 men were busy working. On our arrival one of the men approached us. Without a word I handed him the broken bracket he walked away ground and tacked it together. Offered it to us for inspection, still without speaking. We indicated that it looked good and then proceeded to complete the repair.

Shortly after the bracket repair is complete. We ask the man “do you speak English?” "Of cause!" The damage $10 for the repair, $6 for a taxi and $4 for beer.

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