August 11th, 2010 browsing by day


11 August Wuerzburg

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

After my last report from Stadtprozelten I had to get fuel from the nearby gas station. As is quite common in Europe they are often unattended and self serve with debit cards. But it would not take any of my cards.  Fortunately another kind German boater went with me back to the station and paid with his card and I gave him cash. So, I did not get underway till 2 p.m. and then made it to Wertheim/Bettingen marina, 24 k.m. The marina was part of a large camping complex. One section, the short stay, were all Dutch tourists on their way back from Austria and beyond. The river has become even more scenic, flowing through farmlands, meadows, wooded fringes and the steep hill sides with their vineyards are further away from the river. The narrower parts of the river have slowed me down even more with stronger currents. Monday I was able to put in a 14 hour day and made it to Wernfeld at K.M. 216 or better than half way of the 384 k.m. Main voyage. But it was getting dark by then and it turned out that the yacht club had no room for me, so, I had no other choice but to put the hook down, for the first time on this river trip. It worked out fine. The boat lay perfectly still along the bank, which was only about 20 feet away. There were two village clocks that almost simultaneously chimed off the hours, so that I was frequently reassured, while in my bunk, that the boat was still in the same location and not drifting down across the previously passed spill dam. In the early morning, when I tried to start the engine, there was not even a click. I had to hand start, which this time worked after just three hard pulls.  The trains tracks follow the river and the freight trains pull just one commodity, cement mixers, containers and the longest of all is the beer train. I arrived at Wuerzburg, one of the largest cities on this Main voyage, at near 2 p.m. I stopped at the fuel barge that was listed in my river guide, but they only sell to commercial barges. The book also suggested that the fuel barge had a marine store. And I needed to find a new starter button for the boat. They suggested that I go into the city commercial harbor and tie up to a barge called “Roetelsee”, who has been here in the harbor for some time repairing it”s engine. I could not have been at a better address. The young skipper, Martin, was able to help me better than an experienced marine mechanic. He isolated the starter problem right away and he also had the parts for it and at the same time fixed my kill switch problem, that I had attempted to fix in Amsterdam. And then he helped me get fuel. Next I went to a nearby Computer repair shop to fix my HP laptop problem. They suggested that I put the hard drive back in that the people in Florida put in and then was replaced in Hoorn, with a genuine HP hard drive. Martin turned out to be an expert on computers as well and he found that none of the two hard drives work any more and that I have a bad graphic card. So, I managed to get my motor problems solved and the lap top problem analyzed. Yesterday I made good time because the two locks I went through were open and ready when I showed up. So, instead of at least an hour”s delay it was more like 20 minutes per lock. Also I am getting a little less anxious about the deep slippery caverns.  Oh, I forgot to mention that Martin lets me use his internet connection. Say a prayer for this fine young man that he finds a cargo to get out of here. His ship was built in the town I stayed the second night on the Main, in 1925. But the cargoes are hard to find now and prices have dropped much because of  the economy and many shippers stay away from older vessels for insurance reasons. He runs the ship with just his mid seventies mother. His father passed away two years ago.