This morning the starboard engine slowed down dramatically. Mike first thought a poor fuel filter caused the loss in power. He pulled on his best greasy T-shirt and climbed into the engine room to change it. When the engine was turned over to check the new filter, it still lacked power. It refused to climb above 1800 RPMs.
Mike changed the second fuel filter and came up with the same result.
As Happy Times ran along on the port engine, Mike morphed back into Mr. Configurator from his IBM days and processed the morning’s events. He soon concluded that a thumping sound he’d heard below the engine meant something else and that turned out to be a net caught on the saildrive.
“It was a relief that the problem was now clearly defined and therefore going about fixing it was easily established,” he said.
Mike pulled on his snorkel gear, attached his favorite Swiss Army knife to his shorts and jumped in. The effort to free the net was exhausting. Mike took a couple of breaks but soon returned to the water with different strategies and knives to release the net from Happy Times. Fortunately, it wasn’t wrapped tightly around the saildrive. Some cutting helped, but unwinding the net did the most good.
Mikayla, the best and strongest swimmer aboard Happy Times, was getting ready to jump in the water when Mike came up with the mass.
“I felt tremendous relief and accomplishment,” he said, “because at 150 miles from land, there was nobody to call to come help. It was all up to me.”