Sweating bullets!

We had some excitement after we got the YO back in the water after her bow repair and new bottom paint. She needed some fuel before we flew back to Seattle that afternoon, so off to Marina Vallarta – carefully timing the tide window for a mild current exit and return.

After taking on diesel we got about 20 feet from the fuel dock we had a steering failure. We could turn mostly left, but not at all right. We immediately backed up to the fuel dock to assess. A couple teeth on the rack & pinion sheared off. 50 ft away would have been impossible.

In 23 years we never used our emergency tiller. We wanted to get back to our slip – the tide window was tight, and we wanted the boat back in her slip while we were back in Seattle. Only six miles. We didn’t get any pics because we were freaking and fighting the never-practiced emergency steering system. Mary ran the throttle and the eyeballs as I could only work the tiller blindly from the swim platform at the stern of the boat.

After an hour crossing Banderas Bay we made it into our marina where a panga escort and extra dock hands were waiting. Thank you Paradise Village team and Mary – successful safe landing! Now trying to figure out how to replace the pinion shaft on a 23 y/o boat steering system that has not been in production for years….

Oh and we did see one whale. That was exciting, too.


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