A Minor Breakdown


These handles both shift and throttle both engines. Today only the left one worked. The right one beeped.

Did I just say something about how wonderful all these boat electronic gadgets are? Yesterday we left Walberg Creek and felt a lurch crossing St Catherine’s Sound, essentially on the open ocean. The engine controls had misbehaved, kicking the engines into idle while they beeped and flashed a red light. I messed with them and got everything working again. I found the manual for the controls learned how to turn off the beep and we continued on, arriving at Savannah before 1 PM for one night.

It was a good thing the controls were working because two boats had problems and could not leave our destination marina. We did have a reservation, so they moved boats and made space along a face dock. They know our boat’s length because they worked on it last August and left us just barely enough space. I looked once we got in. My bow was two feet from the bow of the boat in front and my swim platform rails were 4 feet from the dinghy hanging off the rear of the one behind.

We just had the afternoon, so we took a cab to the old town, walked from square to square and down along river street. We ate at the Kayak, a small sandwich and soup place which is a favorite of ours.


Many shops and restaurants are on one side of River street and on the other side…

This morning I got us away from the dock and into the channel so Sue could take over. I was nearly finished straightening out the lines and fenders when I heard the beeping again. This time I couldn’t stop the alarm or get things working. The starboard control handle controlled nothing. The engine just idled in neutral. We continued on with one engine

Arriving at the City Marina in Beaufort SC we got to practice our line tossing so the marina staff could pull us in.

I then called the company that sells the controls in the US. He had an engineer from Italy, where they make them, call me. I had to hunt down the recording unit that was behind a ceiling panel in hallway outside the engine room. The engineer used a history from this to trace things down to a bad cable connecting two of the actuators. Actuators actually push and pull the throttles and shift levers in the engine room. I went down and wiggled that cable and sure enough, I could cause the problem to come and go.


Actuators on the engine room ceiling actually control things. Control cables are blue.

We’ll replace the cable, a standard type, in Charleston. In the meantime I took it off, cleaned it up (it looked OK to me but I did it anyway) and reconnected it. A dry run showed everything working with no error beeping. But will they work Monday when we leave for Charleston? You end up learning all kinds of things on a boat.


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