This is a carry over from "Knot too Shabby's gone, Now What". I didn't want to hijack Rob's thread so I said I'd post up a separate thread. Very long post.
So we get Blood Sport (BS) delivered and are just beaming with excitement. Getting it ready for it's first trip. I fill the heater tank with kerosene. Taking the advice of a forum member I ordered and paid for an 11 gallon tank so I could dump in 10 gallons without any back splash. To my surprise when I get to the 10 gallon mark it spews out all over the place of the outside fill. So the next day when I go inside the cabin it reeks of kerosene. I look in the cabinet and it is oozing out the top of the tank where the gauge is. The screws weren't tightened all the way. While I'm under there I notice on top of the tank it says 10 gallong, not 11. I paid for and was charged for an 11 gallon tank. When I notified Wooldridge about it they said they don't make them in house. No refund was offered. The first time we pulled BS to Whittier I notice that two of the hubs on the trailer have grease all over the wheels. One on each side of the trailer. It's maiden voyage was a short day trip to Manning Rocks and back.
First overnight trip. We go to Fox Farm. We get in there as it's just getting dark. We go to drop hook and the anchor hangs up. We investigate, the anchor rode is in one massive knot. Have no idea how it could get like that. We have to pull all 600' of rope and 50' of chain to the back of the boat. Takes over 3 1/2 hours to get it untangled. We finally drop hook. We wake up to a snow storm the next morning. Our first overnight trip in our New Boat! We're just thrilled. My wife goes to make her coffee and her coffee pot does not work. To make a long story short, we have to plug her coffee maker directly into the Honda 2000 on the back deck. So neither her coffee maker or the microwave work. I check the battery status and the batteries are at 11.2 volts. This is with the boat plugged into shore power full time at home. Batteries are at 14.6 when we depart Whittier, 3 hour run to Fox Farm. The motors are putting out 40 amps each while running and the next morning I'm at 11.2??!!
We head home later that day. I have Gary at Greatland Welding check out the hubs. He looks at them and says they were not machined correctly. We both contact Wooldridge and EZ Loader. It took almost 4 months to get two new hubs sent. I speak to Wooldridge regarding the battery issue. I'm told there is a "learning curve" on using the system. The only thing I know is that we plug something in and it doesn't work. Paid a lot of money (300K) to not have things work. This continues on for months. Every trip is a repeat. Batteries are fully charged and when we get to our destination they're at 11.2 which is essentially dead.
The Windlass. Good Windlass. Every time we drop hook, upon retrieving or attempting to retrieve the anchor, the windlass jams. Or I shoud say it cuts out. It stops several times. We're usually anchored up in 50-80 feet. So you have to let the line out a couple of feet and then bring it back in until it starts working. This process starts to eat the line. I use Good's line as they recommend. It is a 3 ply. The windlass is chewing thru 1 to 2 of the plys. When I/we talk to Good, they say it's not their windlass' fault. It was installed incorrectly, the wiring isn't right, etc etc etc. While they are partly correct in that Wooldridge did not install the spacers that were provided, there were other issues not related to the install. The windlass did not work for crap. I dreaded pulling anchor as it took a long time to get the anchor in. Over 30 minutes much of the time. It would cut out on every pull. Again, Good was not our problem, not our problem. Not our fault. It got worse as the season went on. The rope was down to 1 ply in more than a few places, so Good sent replacement rope. It did the same thing with the new rope. They said they've never had any problems with their units. Our last trip of last season was Valdez. We went to Valdez for the month of August. It was very warm last year. We got a slip for the boat.
Every time I went into the boat there was hydraulic fluid oozing out of the vented cap on the helm. There would be a puddle on the floor and the steering wheel housing was covered in fluid. When you turned the steering wheel fluid would gush out of the cap. This being our first ocean boat, I assumed there was a large reservoir somewhere. So on the last day, we were pulling the anchor and the usual cutting out. But, this time I start smelling an electrical burning smell. The rope is color coded and had about 20 feet to go. All of a sudden smoke comes billowing out of the rope locker. I check to make sure we don't have a fire and am so pizzed that that's it. Because of the windlass issues, I don't drop hook unless I have to as it is not reliable. So between a month of hydraulic fluid all over the place and the windlass issues, pretty frustrated. Wooldridge has no answer for the fluid or the voltage issue and Good's stance is the same. Not our problem. In constant contact with Wooldridge regarding the voltage issue. They don't know what the problem is. They get defensive. I tell them I'm not accusing them of installing anything incorrectly, I just know something isn't right. This goes on the whole season. Also during this whole time, the oven makes this very high pitched squeak while running the boat. It is constant and extremely irritating. Efforts to locate the exact location where it is coming from is not working. We can't seem to isolate it.
So we have dead batteries (we have a massive battery bank, 4 6 volts and 2 12 volts), a squeaking oven, leaking helm, a windlass that doesn't work for crap, a port side window that you can't open, bad hubs on the trailer, a wash down pump spewing water all over, a microwave we can't use, a coffee maker we can't use, so things are pretty frustrating. So we're fishing one day and I have the wash down pump on and we're sitting there and I notice the bilge kicked on. I'm like why would the bilge kick on? I open the transom door and water is spewing all over the place. (see video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiikb_dRJg0
In June, a close friend's daughter and her friend come up to visit from Arizona. We go out for a 4 day trip. So you have 4 adults using the head. We go to dump the tank and the pump comes on for about 2 seconds and quits. Great, a full crapper tank and dead. But on this trip we had the breakers on for the microwave and 110 outlets. My wife plugged in her coffee maker and all of a sudden the microwave worked. She tells me this and I tell her that's not possible, one has nothing to do with the other. Well she informs me that she is right. So I stop the boat and sure enough, she plugs her coffee maker in and the microwave works. She unplugs it and the microwave doesn't work. What would happen is the lights on the mircowave panel would pulse very dimly. When she plugged in the coffee maker the lights lit up bright and it worked. I'm scratching my head on this one. So as usual, upon returning I took the boat to Gary at Greatland. That's pretty much where the boat lived. Go out for a trip, something or several things break and take to Gary. So we pull the access panel behind the toilet, Gary looks at it for about 1 second and makes a comment, he says they (Wooldridge) didn't put a relay in. I asked what he meant. He said the switch to turn on the macerator is just a simple ignition switch, designed to only take a couple of amps. It's on a 50amp circuit. He said he couldn't believe it ever worked. When I called Wooldridge about the electrical issue they said that's not possible. I assured them that was in fact the case and would send a video. After consulting with other electrical people they came to the conclusion that some of the wiring in the shore power panel might be in the wrong place. So Gary moves a couple of wires around and that seemed to resolve the problem. However, I believe the constant draining of the batteries damaged them. This took about 5 weeks, I missed 5 planned trips in July due to these issues.
There is a shore power panel with all the breakers on it. I have things turned off unless we're going to use them, microwave, 110 outlets etc. After the Valdez debacle I put the boat away (heated indoor storage and plugged into power). A friend who is very experienced with boats takes a look at the windlass motor and sees where it almost caught on fire. We pull the motor off and the positive stud is bent at about a 40 degree angle. We contact Wooldridge and Good. Good sends a new motor for the windlass. Very easy install, new connections on the wires and we're good to go. NOT! Forward to December 2015. Myself and 2 buddies decide to go out deer hunting for 2 days. We launch out of Whittier, only boat there launching. We back around the dock and head out the straight towards the fuel dock. As soon as I turn the corner I lose steering. Not good. The steering wheel is turning complete 360s with no input to the motors. We hear something running, we mange to get to the fuel dock and tie off. We open the rear helm cabinet and the auto-pilot pump is running. Now let me back up for a minute. Wooldridge told me in the beginning that I should always have the auto-pilot on as it is networked into all the electronics. Not engaged mind you, just turned on. Another thing that happened is when ever power would hit the boat, both auto-pilots would automatically boot on. No one could explain why that was. Nothing else on the boat turned on automatically, just the auto-pilots. One at main helm and one at rear helm. So we turn the auto-pilot off and we have steering. Off we go but I'm very nervous about it. No deer, come home, put the boat away. Overall the first season for Blood Sport is a disaster. Don't get me wrong, had great times but all of these issues were happening at the same time.
February 2016, I send Wooldridge an email requesting that Don (Rigger of BS) come up and go over the boat with all the issues we had. Their reply was that they were too busy. I then send them a scathing email stating how this isn't some used tub I got on Craig's List but that it was a Custom Wooldridge, the biggest, nicest pilot house they've ever built. They decide to come up. My biggest concern over everything else was the steering issue. Don purged the system several times with a power purger and addressed some other issues as well. He departs.
April 2016. Shrimp season opener, we go for our 4 day opening year trip. The new windlass motor is in and we're ready to go. Nope, have the same issues. We return. Next trip BKmail and I take the Greatland Welding crew out for a day of fishing. Had a great day. Honestly don't remember if we dropped hook, I don't think we did. Next we have an 8 day trip planned with BKmail. First night we go do Deep Water Bay. Awesome. That evening my wife is boiling water for corn on the cobb. She turns the cook top off and we eat dinner. Later she tries to light the cooktop and it won't work. Never had a problem with it before this. I get the manual out and it has a 3 step process for unlocking it. First thing is to kill power to it. I can't find a breaker so I turn off the batteries switch and inverter switch. I did this several times with no luck. The cook top and oven are hard wired to the boat so as to not interrupt the cooling off process. Remember what I said about the auto-pilots coming on when power hits the boat. Can't get it to unlock, I tell her I will trouble shoot tomorrow.
Day 2. We're heading to 7 Fathom Hole. We come around the corner and go between Crafton and the mainland. Been thru there many times. But I need to get over to port side. I turn the wheel and I get nothing. I'm like this isn't good. We moved the vented cap to the rear helm so as to not have fluid in the cabin. I tell my wife to go back and tell me if there is fluid coming out. She says no. We're going about 20mph, this all happened very fast. I'm trying to get over and the steering is gone. I turn the auto-pilot off and still nothing. I have to stop the boat at this point as I need to get over to avoid the rocks. I run to the rear helm and I hear the auto-pilot pump running. I can't figure out why it is running as I turned the main helm off. I keep the covers on the auto-pilot and big Garmin unless I'm using them. As I take the cover of the rear auto-pilot and sure enough it's on. I turn if off and slam, we're on the rocks. These are very sharp rocks. The current was ripping and we're at the mercy of the current. We're getting slammed into the rocks. We're in about 3 feet of water, I get the motors up but not much else I can do. My wife is freaking out and I'm not too thrilled myself. I'm going thru a mental checklist of having to ditch and get into the raft if things get worse. The current takes us into a little deeper water and I get the motors down and my wife tells me we're clear out front so I get us out of there using the rear helm. So in 5 trips I've completely lost steering twice. Not real good. So as usual, without knowing the status of my hull and further possible loss of steering we anchor up for the night and head home in the morning.
Notify Wooldridge what happened and Don comes back to Alaska. He's here for a week. He replaces both helms and hydraulic lines and fittings as well as the auto-pilot pump. He purges the system every day while he's here. It is hot while he's here and every time he finishes purging the system and then turns the steering wheel, fluid gushes out the vented cap. Not talking drips here, talking 1/4 to half a cup. He's frustrated and can't explain other than to say there is air in the system. I ask what do people in Florida do. You can't tell me that everyone's boats are puking hydraulic fluid just because it's hot. So myself, Don and a Buddy go out for a day trip to Smith Island. Don caught his first 2 halibut. We drop hook in about 140 feet. Upon pulling, the motor gets real hot and starts to smell and then dies. We had to pull by hand the last 70 feet or so. As usual, back to Greatland and we contact Good. We pull the motor, they send a new motor. Install new motor number 3.
Valdez 2016. Friend from Dallas and friend from Utah come up. We decide to go out for a couple of days. We head to Long Bay. Try to catch some halibut. We drop hook on a hump in a 138 feet. We fish for a while, time to pull anchor on the brand new never used motor. Anchor is up over half way and motor just craps out. Dead. We pull by hand. Not going to let this spoil the trip so we pull by hand over the next 2 days. Decide to leave Valdez early, couldn't get a slip this year because the commercial guys weren't going out. It rained 23 days straight, the fishing sucked and I can't anchor. So take the boat back to Greatland Welding where it currently sits. Good said they think they know what the problem might be. It has something to do with the brushes inside the motor housing. So they're sending another motor. Actually it's motor number 2 that they have refurbished. I don't see it ever ending. We can't use our boat when we want because it's always in a constant state of repair.
So yhea, we're pretty disappointed overall. This boat was our dream and it has been nothing but a nightmare. There are several other things regarding Wooldridge that I won't get into other than to say there are more than a few things I paid for and did not get. They were awesome to work with, everyone was excited about the build but with these serious issues and the steering still not resolved. At least I won't know if it's resolved until it gets hot again. Will have to wait until next year to find out. But in their mind they've done all their going to do. So if it still pukes fluid next year, don't know what we'll do. The biggest thing is we have missed so many planned trips. We missed all of July of 2015, we missed all of July 2016 and many other trips. Again, this is a New, Custom Boat. Paid out the butt for it and quite frankly am tired of "Hey Man, we're going out for 3 days, wanna go?" Oh I can't because my boat doesn't work. This has happened so many times I can't tell you. So no we're not happy campers.