Last weekend, along with her new owner and additional crew, I delivered a 47′ CPMY up the Chesapeake to Solomons, MD. After spending 6 or 7 hours at a constant 80% power on the Cummins powerplants, we throttled back as we turned the corner around the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. As is my habit, which I explained to my client, I throttled all the way back to idle in order to take each engine out of gear in turn and check to see we still had control over the transmissions. The place to find that you don’t have reverse is not as your are backing into a tight slip with wind and current running. Both drivetrains worked fine, so we ambled our way up the river at headway speed to approach the Calvert Marina.
As we made the turn into the fairway by our assigned shed, suddenly the starboard engine would not come out of forward gear. With a quick check around that confirmed no other vessels about and good maneuvering room, I put the port engine in reverse to let the boat spin a 360 while we conducted a quick check from both the flybridge and pilothouse helm stations. No luck. I shut down the stbd engine, looked around, and found a nice t-head dock with no boats tied up and so limped over with the port engine and stern thruster to an uneventful docking.
Safely tied up and shut down, I moved to the saloon and pulled the hatches over the stbd engine, got down on my belly and peered down at the transmission with my flashlight. Sure enough, one end of the shifter linkage had corroded through and failed. Relieved that my client wouldn’t be facing a large repair bill before he even had the boat in her home slip, we closed her up.
Even when you do the right things, you just never know what will happen.