Just Call Me Handyman

September 6, 2011


I went to the marina for the first time since making sure Irene didn’t smash Ilya to bits.  Everything was fine, and I also made sure to add another spring line on the port side, so we’ll really be ready for another bad storm.  My intent was to head out on the river, but listening to the weather report from NOAA kept giving me pause.  Eventually, I decided that if I was pausing at all because of the potential for high and variable winds (I clocked the maximum gust at 13 miles per hour) with higher than average seas, that should be my signal for not going out until I can reef the mainsail more effectively.


Instead, it occurred to me that I hadn’t yet repaired Hercules, our Mercury 9.9 bigfoot outboard.  I had to replace a semi-circular plate on which a lever slides left and right.  This lever controls how tightly the outboard is set at any location, from left to right.  Essentially, when I want to turn the outboard to get more turning power, or want to lock the outboard in the forward position, this is the lever I would slide.  The semi-circular plate was severely bent and one of the screws holding it in (right side) was gone.  After my adventure of trying to order the part, I finally did so, and it arrived just before the hurricane.


Taking off the old plate, I could see how bent it actually was, and that I had ordered the proper part(s).



Getting this bad part out wasn’t so difficult.  But getting the new part on was tough, because when I ordered two screws to attach the plate to the engine, I thought each order was for two screws, so I actually had four when I needed two.  Well, each part was a singleton, so I only had two screws.  I was very afraid of dropping either a screw or the plate into the water, so I threaded a very small wire into the hole on the right side of the plate and once I got the threads of the left screw into the hole sufficiently, I removed the wire and put the screw into the hole on the right.  One of the challenges in doing all of these twists and turns in a very small area was the size of my hands and fingers as compared to the size of the areas I was working in.  After all putting in two screws shouldn’t take almost 15 minutes, but it did on this day.


After the plate was screwed in, I tightened the screw securing the lever to the engine (I had to loosen it to insert the plate under it first) and I was finally good to go!





And now since I had accomplished one more handyman task successfully, I decided to spend the rest of my time at the boat reading Small Craft Advisor while sipping my coffee.  Not a bad ending to a day I couldn’t go out on the water.


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