Dreaming of the Islands
by Lee Martin
We had launched our Tramp/Eagle at the Caribbean Club and stored the truck and trailer at Ricks' place in Key Largo. The Tramp was heavily loaded for a planned month long trip to the Bahamas. We had never put more than a weekends worth of supplies aboard, but the small trimaran seemed to handle the weight well- just below her lines. That night we anchored close to shore in a small lagoon just off the Caribbean club.
Me and Katie
At daybreak I woke and noticed the boat sitting low in the water. Checking further, she was swamped! It appeared as though the amas were the only thing keeping the boat afloat. Thank God for multihulls. We spent the morning getting everything we had loaded into , out of the boat. Our electrics were useless- battery, lights, radio, e.t.c.. Our clothes were soaked, food inedible, in short our plans were in shambles.
We had no idea where the leak was, but we had heard from several sources that the centerboard case of this design was suspect. This info convinced me that that was the problem. Katies' only question " What's the plan?" My dejected answer " Load this pile of glassfiber on the trailer and head for Texas!" Katie maintained that we should at least try and stop the leak, a project I held as hopeless- We had a month to kill so what the heck-I'd do what I could do, before heading for home. At least there was Cuban food readily available.
We were able to sail the tri, unloaded, to Pelican Bay Marina on Key Largo. No water aboard when we arrived. A clue I didn't relate until later. It was a classic situation as we hauled to dry land. No one was available, but after we were out , the manager ran up, very mad, complaining loudly about us using her ramp. I, thinking fast, pulled out my wallet, put on a smile and said in the mantra of the keys " I have money, how much do you want?" Her expression changed to one of joy and a deal was struck.
We rented a motel room for a three night period and prepared to go to work. The centerboard case was going to be a project, we'd have to put the boat up on some stands and try to find the leak. As I strolled around the main hull that evening, I suddenly noticed the scuppers. Hadn't thought of that. I pushed in on one and looked right into the bilge- between the hull and cockpit liner. Uncaulked and no mechanical bond at all. "Hey Katie, I found the leak!!!" Satisfaction edged my voice. There was no mistake-- an easy fix! The next morning it was. A trip to West for scuppers and 5200, an hour later we were ready to go. Our supplies and laundry are a story for another day, but it all got put together.
We left two days later with a few hours of trial time on the repair and not a drop of water in the bildge. It was risky, but I knew the problem was fixed. We wound up spending the next three weeks in the Berry Islands, mostly on the bayside in 3 to 20 feet of water, and having the time of our lives. Nothing else came up in the way of problems. Goes to show, if had been up to me we would have been sitting in Texas, dreaming of the islands.