Got up again around sunrise. I checked with the search and rescue group. They had plenty of manpower. They had brought in people, boats, dogs and aircraft from all over. Sounded like they were going to go all out today and then just stop looking.
The people on the Rosborough 246 were up and about by around 0700. The night before they said that they were going to head out early in the morning and head for Long Key. I had told them that the weather was looking good to me to just take a straight shot to Key West. The winds should be on my back. They had decided that they would just take the same route as me.
I topped off my fuel tanks and we got underway. I was making my usual 6-7 mph. They were going about 10-12. After a couple of hours they called on the radio and said that they were going to go faster and we would get together in Key West. The winds were a little stronger than forecast and more on the beam. A short time later they called and said they were going to divert back to plan A and go to Long Key. I said I was going to just chug along. After a short silence they replied that if I could do it they could do it. I picked up to 3600 rpm to come closer to their speed.
After another 30 min. they said they were diverting again to the closest Key. It was getting a little more bumpy by then and I said that I would do the same. Buy this point we had passed Marathon which is the last easy place to go. Beyond Marathon Keys and shoals extend out 10 miles or so in a patchwork pattern. Without going back to far Big Pine Key was where we headed. We turned South to navigate our way. This did put the seas on our stern. I came across a couple a large patches of floating seagrass. I was going alone fine the engine revved up. I stopped and raised the motor to inspect. It was fouled with the seagrass. I reversed my engine and it cleared. But I could not get on plane without the prop spinning. I concluded that the hub was spun. All was fine at slow speed but not at high rpm. I went back to my 1500 rpm 6 mph speed. I made it into Spanish Harbor by early after noon.
I have a spare prop and can just swap but I want to get this won fixed. With the help of Bob Austin (c-brat: thataway) I found two prop shops. One is back in Marathon and the other in Key West. The one in Marathon said if I got it in today they would have it back tomorrow. The Prop Dr. in Key West actually he is on Stock Island said if I brought it in he could fix it in about 20 minutes. I continued on to Stock Island. I got there after dark so pulled into a marina that was in walking distance of the Prop Dr. The next morning I removed the prop and took it to the shop. He tested it at 4000 psi and it did not slip. He said if it was spun it would do it at 400 to 500 psi. He said put it back on and go out in the channel and put a load on it. I did and it worked just fine. This is the fist time I have used this prop with a heavy following sea. The conclusion is that the prop is not spun but in those conditions it is cavitating( sucking air).
I headed out into the Atlantic and put out my trolling rods for the rest of the trip to Key West. By noon I landed at the Schooner Warf Bar at Key West Blight.