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Shortest Canoe Hunt In Alaska History

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  • Shortest Canoe Hunt In Alaska History

    Well that sucked. So, long story short, got to the river, put the boat in the water, engine craps out. Back to Anchorage.

    Long version: Driving up to the river and one of the guys here calls me on the phone and, during the discussion, strongly advises me that it is very necessary to have a motor lift on my Sport Boat and not use the factory transom on this river. I need about inches of lift. OK. There was a town up ahead with a small hardware store. I bought a 2x10 scrap 16" long and two of the biggest c clamps in the store. Now, I am deliberately not naming said forum member becuase I don't want anyone here, most of all him, to think I'm laying blame for what happens next. I'm not. And he has taken time to give me tons of great advice and input on a whole range of outdoor topics. This advice was well intentioned.

    BUT, when I got to the river and hung the outboard on my makeshift lift, I noticed the pick up ports for the water pump were completely out of the water...with the boat loaded. I lowered the "lift." Still out of the water. Sit my fat but in the boat and that pushes them down int he water. Great. So I start off on the river checking things out to see if I can go upstream before I head off downstream to hunt, which was always my plan anyway. I had to hit max throttle to make headway. That got me 6.6 mph on the GPS. Slow but it works. HOWEVER, with the throttle wide open, the water coming off the stern is going way around the lower unit, and the water pump pick ups are dry again. Crap. SO I back off the throttle and the water pump starts pumping water again. But now I can't make head way against the current. I'm 50 yards away from the ramp and floating away, so I bite the bullet and gun it and head straight for the bank, knowing I'm running the water pump dry.

    Back to shore, I pull the "lift" (i.e. the plank and clamps) completely off the boat and put the engine back o the factory transom. Start it up and it idles good and pumps water. (Which surprised me.) Back into the current and head up river again. Agai, it takes wide open throttle to make about 6 mph, but the lower unit is fully submerged and the water pump is pumping. (Not as much as I would like, but pumping.) Then the engine starts misfiring and thumping the hull of the boat about every half second. Back off the throttle and it goes away, but I start drifting down stream again. Back to wide open throttle and it starts missing and thumping again. It still makes power and I can still make headway at WOT, but at 6 mph, I know I'm going to need continuous WOT for about 5 hours to get back to the ramp. I'll have to make two runs if I get a moose. I also promised the girlfriend I wouldn't take any risks out there on my own. Soooooo....back to the ramp and on the trailer for the drive home. (By the way, while I was loading it on the trailer, and entire spruce tree, roots and all, floated down, crossways the river, and just missed my boat by a foot or two.)

    So, I know I'm buying a new water pump for certain. The other issues...I don't know if they are connected to running it with no water in the water pump or not. It's a 40 year-old outboard; this could just be some other maintenance issue rearing its head. At the moment, I don't know. (It ran good all summer. Until the water pump puked and the lower unit oil seal puked.)

    Lastly, just to reiterate, I don't want said forum member who said "put a lift on," or anyone else, to think I'm laying blame or like I wished I hadn't listened. It's my boat, my engine. I'm the operator. I'm responsible for making sure the lower unit is deep enough in the water to feed the pump. I didn't do that.

  • #2
    On a side note, I actually enjoyed the trip. The drive up was nice (I almost nevr go north of Trapper Creek anymore.), but more importantly, I learned a few things (besides the motor issue) and I saw several areas where I need to make improvements and some areas where my ideas worked.

    I need to be more on top of my gear. I had a lot of last minute gear issues that were largely avoidable. I didn't manage my time over the summer very well, and, while I've long had this trip planned, I waited until the last minute to start the actual preparing.

    I need to pare down my equipment. My gear weighed about 375 lbs, but it took up the entire boat, stem to stern, to pack it in. It's almost all lightweight backpacking gear, too.

    I learned the rivers in AK are a lot faster than down south. I need to spend more time on the water, even if it's just running up and down.

    So, while I'm disappointed that I aborted the trip, I'm not....angry about it. It was a good experience. I like the area and I'll probably go back, though may not make it this year.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think you took the best of a not so good situation and used it as a learning tool. For that, the time was well worth it. I think time managment is a difficult one for a lot of us. I know hunting season snuck up on me and I was in a frantic rush to get everything together. I was also overloaded since I didn't put enough proper planning into my trip. But that is how we learn and next year will be better. I figure by the time I am too old to hunt that I will finally have it all figured out..
      Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

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      • #4
        the wooden board, will work just make it so the cavation plate is about 1/2 to 1 inch below the botton of your boat, make sure there is no way for the block wood can splinter an break off , [ motor in water ] .some bolts an a plate will take care of the problem then go to 20 mile an try it out, do you have a till extenuation that will help a lot going up streams with thin water , an long trips , SID roud:
        PS you will have to put the block on the out side of the transom [ we all have had trips like yours ] or similar

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sid View Post
          the wooden board, will work just make it so the cavation plate is about 1/2 to 1 inch below the botton of your boat, make sure there is no way for the block wood can splinter an break off , [ motor in water ] .some bolts an a plate will take care of the problem then go to 20 mile an try it out, do you have a till extenuation that will help a lot going up streams with thin water , an long trips , SID roud:
          PS you will have to put the block on the out side of the transom [ we all have had trips like yours ] or similar
          I did put the block ont he outside. The clamps held surprisingly well, in fact. If the cavitation plate is supposed to be 1" BELOW the bottom of the boat, I don't see the point. My plate was already at the bottom of the boat. (in fact, most owner's manuals and the Seloc manuals will tell you to install the engine that way.) If you meant 1" ABOVE, I still kind of don't see the point, because 1" isn't much.

          Still, there MUST be something I did wrong because engine lifts are pretty common up here, and no one else seems to have this issue. I wonder if the water going wide around my lower unit, causing the water pump to run dry, is an effect of the way my stern is built wider. The Sport Boat stern is significantly wider than the Freighter stern. Perhaps Mainer and swmn will chime in. Mainer has run a lift for years, and Swmn has the exact same boat I have...with a lift. There is something stupid and simple I'm not doing right.

          Comment


          • #6
            In OTHER news, I stopped by J. Kimberly Service today and told them the story. They said bring it and will throw it in the test tank and check it out. Went back an hour later with the engine, and sure enough, it did the exact same thing in the tank. It's an ignition issue on number one cylinder. You can see it with a timing light. They we're not sure if it was a coil pack or a condenser, and couldn't just jump on fixing it today. (Other guys in line ahead of me.) But those are easy parts to change, so I bought the parts from them and will change both tonight or tomorrow. I'll try to get it to a lake and test run it again. In fact, all my gear s still in y truck, I may test run it with it loaded and try the lift again. At any rate, if this is an easy fix, I think I will try to get another hunt trip in during the last week of the season.

            Comment


            • #7
              Some lifts move the motor back and allow water to rise up after the transom meaning you can run higher and still keep water in the pump.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hey, I'm wondering about the water going wide around the lower unit. Is the boat loaded with most of the weight in the back, causing the stern to ride deeper? In theory, if the cavitation plate is essentially level with the keel, the boat should ride fairly level, but if it's in a significant bow-up attitude, that could possibly displace enough water at the stern to cause water pump problems. Just a thought.

                Comment


                • #9
                  PM sent SID roud:

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Frostbitten View Post
                    Hey, I'm wondering about the water going wide around the lower unit. Is the boat loaded with most of the weight in the back, causing the stern to ride deeper? In theory, if the cavitation plate is essentially level with the keel, the boat should ride fairly level, but if it's in a significant bow-up attitude, that could possibly displace enough water at the stern to cause water pump problems. Just a thought.
                    My thoughts, exactly. The boat should sit flat and level loaded and static, that means you in the boat also. Put more weight forward then get in and notice the attitude at which it sits, then make adjustments as necessary.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the responses, everyone. It's going to be next to impossible to get the boat to sit level loaded with me in the stern. I weigh 240 lbs, and the engine weighs 115. That is almost 40% of the rated load capacity in the last 2 feet of the boat. In this particular case, yesterday, I put about 170 lbs in the bow, as far forward as it would go, (18 gallons of fuel, 5 gallons of water, anchor and 50' of rope, and a come-a-long), and that took up pretty much the entire bow area of the boat-my main, 6-gallon remote fuel tank was actually on the bow seat and everything else forward. I might get a couple water bottles up there, but not much else. In the middle, between the bow and middle seat, I packed two dry bags (about 50lbs each, one food and one clothes) My ham radio gear (another about 20 lbs) and my hunt pack (another 30 lbs) I put on the middle seat. So figure about 150 lbs or so in the mid section of the boat. Under, or immediately behind the middle seat (so, essentially in front of my feet) I put a chainsaw (10 lbs?), another gallon of water, a battery for the ham radio (25 lbs?) and a tool box with spare prop, parts and basic tools (20 lbs?), so figure another about 65 lbs there. Then, you have my fat...well you know...plus the engine. Oh and my rile at the middle seat as well.

                      That got the boat mostly level without me in it, but it was hella hard to beach and even worse to push off the shore. (All the weight in the bow.) It id float with the splash rails still an inch or two above waterline. I noticed, briefly, while running full power upstream, that there was a lot of wave coming off the bow, almost like the bow was throwing its own, small "rooster tail." But that may have been from the bungee corse connected to the spray rails or the inch or two of tar hanging over the gunwales.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sid View Post
                        PM sent SID roud:
                        PM replied to.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
                          On a side note, I actually enjoyed the trip. The drive up was nice (I almost nevr go north of Trapper Creek anymore.), but more importantly, I learned a few things (besides the motor issue) and I saw several areas where I need to make improvements and some areas where my ideas worked.

                          I need to be more on top of my gear. I had a lot of last minute gear issues that were largely avoidable. I didn't manage my time over the summer very well, and, while I've long had this trip planned, I waited until the last minute to start the actual preparing.

                          I need to pare down my equipment. My gear weighed about 375 lbs, but it took up the entire boat, stem to stern, to pack it in. It's almost all lightweight backpacking gear, too.

                          I learned the rivers in AK are a lot faster than down south. I need to spend more time on the water, even if it's just running up and down.

                          So, while I'm disappointed that I aborted the trip, I'm not....angry about it. It was a good experience. I like the area and I'll probably go back, though may not make it this year.
                          Your trip was longer than mine though

                          I'm glad you are safe. You learned. That is all we can ask. I decided to not even try to go our yet in my canoe. I am taking it out this next week to a lake to store at a friend's cabin on the lake. Easier to learn in still waters.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Yukon Cornelius View Post
                            Easier to learn in still waters.
                            Definitely. Especially if you don't have any canoeing experience at all. I once tried to teach Canoeing Merit Badge on a flowing river (a slow, Florida river where the kids were snorkeling, etc etc)-BIG mistake lol.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              in the lake it is not hard , but in A stream you need to see what is in front of your boat in the thin water streams so you can do what you nee to do so you don;t hit a ROCK / LOG / gravel / mud ? an comt to a sudden stop [ unplaned ] SID roud:

                              Comment

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