Last weekend, we did a Lake Superior cruise from Houghton to Marquette
(75 miles). The plan was to meet our son's family in Marquette, do
some sight-seeing, cruise back to Houghton stopping at Big Bay and the
Huron Islands on the way back and then drive our son and his family
back to Marquette.
However, on the way into Marquette's Presque Isle Harbor on Friday, we
hit something in 200 feet of water (probably a submerged log or
deadhead) at 20 mph. BAM! ; then an over-revving engine. I throttled
back, pulled both engines to neutral, and then looked in the engine
room. Both shafts were still there and no sign of water rushing in.
Put the starboard engine forward and got thrust. Put the port engine
to forward and got nothing, but the shaft turned. I was hoping that
the prop key had sheared. We were only about a mile out of the
harbor, so we limped in on the starboard engine. At the dock, I went
in the water and felt for the prop with my feet. No luck, only a stub
sticking out about a half inch aft of the strut.
Fortunately, I was carrying spare props and a spare shaft. But, I was
disappointed to learn that there was no boat lift in Marquette and
that the closest one was in Houghton. Checked with some divers and
found out that no one was willing to try a shaft replacement with the
boat in the water. So, on Saturday, my son drove us back to Houghton
(100 miles by road) to get my gooseneck trailer. Then, on Sunday, we
floated the boat onto the trailer and got a front end loader to pull
it up the ramp. Two marine mechanics from Bingham Boat Works spent
most of the day removing the broken shaft and installing the spare
shaft and prop. Fortunately, the strut was not damaged, but the
deadhead had forced the prop upward to the point where it put a gash
about halfway through the hull. We were back in the water late Sunday
afternoon and returned to Houghton Sunday evening, albeit without my
son and his family who had to get back to Madison.
Apart from the screwed up plans, the biggest lost was the four bladed
Michigan Wheel 23x23 Nibral Dyna Quad propeller ($1614 replacement).
I filed an insurance claim and everything over the deductible will be
covered. The fellow boaters in Marquette were extremely helpful in
providing advice and miscellaneous tools to assist with repairs on a
Sunday. The attached photo shows the spare 23x25 three-bladed prop
installed on the port side.
In talking with other boaters in Marquette, I learned that collisions
with submerged debris are not uncommon there. Two years ago, a dam
broke on the Dead River discharging into Presque Isle Harbor and
caused several million dollars damage along with untold tons of debris
flushed into the harbor. One fellow told me that he ran into a picnic
table "floating" two feet under the surface earlier this summer. It
will be a while before we go back to Marquette Harbor.
We enjoyed attending the Drummond and South Haven meetings, but this
year we will have to miss the Michigan City meeting in order to
attend a friend's wedding. Best regards to all and best wishes for a
Bob and Jean Baillod
FDA 38 4034R