How she made it home….

Said colleague (see Home) lived in Michigan, on the East shore of the Great Lake by the same name. Two doors down in the front yard of his father in law’s house, on a trailer sat a Starcraft CR 221V with the OMC marinized GM V6 and outdrive. The latter referred to as the WLOD (White leg of death, doom or despair). The soil was loose and sandy, and she was quite a few inches into it. For many years tarps had kept the water out, but that effort had run out of energy and there was water in it. (A lot as it would later turn out). Lastly there was a red squirrel that had turned her into his personal Whole Foods.

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Some well placed lumber under the trailer frame had slowed down the sinking. The tires on port side were beyond shot. The ones on starboard actually held some air. There was a bald spare which I put on port and after getting the van stuck only once I was able to get her on the paved driveway.


I was not going to try and take the trailer on the road for 750 miles. It would require tires, lighting and a temporary registration. There was also the risk of the hydraulic surge brake on the rear axle activating, and locking. I wanted to take my time and do it at home. So, the plan was to load it on the flatbed that I brought.

For this I had brought jacks and a lot of lumber. Turned out the 4×6 beam to go under and span the 102″ of the flatbed was not enough, and snapped, fortunately only a few inches into the process. She was heavy. (remember that water I talked about?) So we borrowed a nice piece of truck frame channel from a local junk yard and got started. Inch by inch, building cribbing and screwing the layers into somewhat structural pieces. Eventually she was high enough to get the flatbed under. At this point she would only crash a few inches and we were relatively safe.

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The fenders were not going to fit in between the fenders of the flatbed, nor were the axles. So, the only way forward from there was up and over. A lot up. Too much up. So I took the axles off. Miraculously all the hardware was undamaged and relatively corrosion free so it came apart with regular tools…..phew! At this point she only had to go up a few more inches and we were “over the hump” I placed blocks in the right places and strapped her and the axles down.


Then I hooked her up, put all the tools back on board and after a sad goodbye by the owner I hit the road. She was heavy, and seriously tongue heavy to boot….As I’m riding along I’m doing the math in my head. The brochure says the boat is 1600#, give the trailer 700# that’s 2300#. The flatbed should be about 1800″ so that was 4100#. Well, I’m good for quite a bit more, and it felt like like more…. Then the lightbulb went off…. THE WATER! I had noticed a little water under the engine, but with the tongue jack well into the sand she had been bow down at that point so there was undoubtedly more up front. So I pulled into a rest area  and fashioned a bailer out of a gallon water jug and started filling a five gallon bucket. And again…… and again….. and again…. 13 times! Thats 65 gallons of water which is over 500 pounds! Then I discovered a pine cone in the stern drain (remember Mr Squirrel?) and after removing that she dribbled at least another 10 gallons….. She drove MUCH better after that. So, 720 miles at 60-65…… many long hours later I made it home, in one piece.


Home under roof and guard…. dripping and drying…..

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Next: Demo, assessment and planning…..