Instructables

Free Yacht Chapter 5: It's sinking and it's on fire.

Continues the saga begun at How to Get a Free Yacht

The phone call: "Are you the owner of a boat with a beer keg on the deck labeled "diesel"?
Me: "Yep. Isn't she a beauty?"
He: "There's a problem with your boat."
Me: "Oh-oh. What happened?"
He: "It's sinking. And it's on fire."
Me: "Oh no. Wow. At the same time?"
He: "How soon can you get here?"
Me: "Ten minutes?"
He: "See you there. ."

Click on the mp3 file below to hear the similar message left on Captain Pat's answering machine.
He was climbing in Yosemite at the time.

Here's the table of contents of the whole saga:
Chapter 1: How to Get a Free Yacht
Chapter 2: Maiden Voyage of the Free Yacht
Chapter 3: Fix Broken Stix and other Trix
Chapter 4: Outboard Motor Mutilates Foot
Chapter 5: It's sinking and it's on Fire.
Chapter 6: How To Give Away a Free Yacht
Chapter 7: Get an Even Better One and Fabulize it.
Chapter 8: Celebrate Freedom
Chapter 9: Technicolor Dreamboat
Chapter 10: Privateer Knot
Chapter 11: Dismasted!
Chapter 12: Kiteboat!
Chapter 13: Mast Raising


Step 1: How to sink and burn your boat without doing anything

Captain Victor and Captain Kenny were already at the boat.
We got out the pumps and started working.
Here's the boat with most of the water pumped out. The water was shin deep above the floorboards when we got there. It took us about half an hour to pump it out with the two hand pumps. The "gusher" lever/diaphragm pump was a lot faster than the pvc piston pump.

How did it happen? The boat has a slow leak through the rusted stern tube. When the water gets high enough to lift the flap on a float switch it turns on an electric bilge pump which runs for about ten seconds and pumps out the water. Those little pumps are the size of half a beer can and work really well. Until they stop working. One of them died and we didn't notice, because the other pump kept working and the boat stayed dry. Each pump is wired to a separate battery. Eventually the other battery died a natural death.

We went sailing on a sunday. Everything was fine. Some time after that the remaining pump quit doing its thing. The boat slowly sank at the dock. When the water got high enough it reached the end of an extension cord that was hanging off the side of the counter.
The 120volt AC started arcing and fizzing, making clouds of steam and smoke. The neighbors noticed the burning smell and came to investigate. It's actually a really lucky thing, because without the fire, no one would have noticed the boat sinking until much later. We don't know how low the boat could have gotten, would it have sunk to the bottom and flipped sideways hanging from the dock lines? Fortunately we didn't have to find out.
 
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 funny, and i don't mind finding it in an insrtuctable blog because it makes it less boring and makes the blog more lively.

from my view its an intructable on how to make your boat seem like its on fire. lol
rbbiggs4 years ago
A marine shore power cord and an electric bilge pump would work for next time.
Smeeon5 years ago
now I'm not a boat owner or anything, but wouldn't it be wise to put something like a water level detector circuit which can probably be found somewhere on here and wire it to an annoyingly loud siren to get neighbors etc to complain enough to get you out to your boat? just a thought.. probably a <$20 project.
dagenius Smeeon5 years ago
Ah, but the real problem was the battery stopped working. So Even if there was a siren, it wouldn't work for lack of power.
And yet there was electricity for arcing and burning? I see a bit of a discrepancy here. By the by, those type of cords have only one use: taking up space in a trash can. Even in a house.
TikiTime5 years ago
Are you kidding? why are you not using a marine grade cord ? this kind of cord has NO place on a boat. I know this is done on the cheap, but Please.. PLEASE read Nigel Calder's fine text on boat electrical systems. P.S. Kudos on being resourceful & putting a boat together for cheap. Use your savings on safety first though, K thx
Del TikiTime5 years ago
"I know this is done on the cheap, but Please.. PLEASE read Nigel Calder's fine text on boat electrical systems." Heh. Two things: 1) if Tim hadn't had that cord, he might have lost the boat (which he mentions) 2) It's cool to see a web-reference to someone you know; Nigel's an interesting chap. Sounds what Tim really needed was a marine version of the Leak Frog, often seen over at www.woot.com during their wootoffs.
theburn7 Del4 years ago
lulz, woot.com
superhornt5 years ago
"Are you the owner of a boat with a beer keg on the deck labeled "diesel"? "Yep. Isn't she a beauty?" "There's a problem with your boat." "Oh-oh. What happened?" "It's sinking. And it's on fire." lol!
This is funny, last summer a boat in our local boat slips caught on fire and sunk. The guy was telling us about most of the things you covered, and to fully close the gas tank before starting the engine. teh
hydrnium.h25 years ago
He: "It's sinking. And it's on fire." Me: "Oh no. Wow. At the same time?"
RgrMedic7 years ago
Farley Mowat would be proud! Is it flagged in Basque? Excellent post.
cyrusshaoul8 years ago
I RUB IT, Tim!
intoon8 years ago
Wow, good thing it didn't sink! That thing is a gem...except more like a raw gem straight out of the earth than a cut and polished gem...
jess8 years ago
And everyone said I was silly for fearing for my life while out on that thing! (Just kidding. The boat kicks ass.)
andresterco8 years ago
I don't care if this qualify as an Instructable. it's just great. TimAnderson, you are my hero. BTW I love proas too.
Yes!!!
prank8 years ago
I love you captain tim and captain pat
trebuchet038 years ago
Tim's back!
HOOORAY! Now all we need is Tetranitrite to go back to making Instructables and I'll be happy again!
mrbob10008 years ago
wow... thats funny
but in a tragic way
I really like your reaction to hearing the news
gigman8 years ago
Best one liner ever Person: Your boats on fire and sinking...
keng8 years ago
Dude, I have so been following this story since "how to get a free yacht" please keep up with the posts!
Liganic8 years ago
Really an interesting and funny (at least for me) story but in no way an instructable. The place you are looking for is a blog or forum.