Adrian, the cheery 6’ 2” Canadian, was low on cash but full of spirit. He had been borrowing my bike for the prior week to ride to town for parts and pieces to fix up his newly acquired steel sloop. He dropped by just as Mike’s overtime charges were about to begin accumulating, so I thanked Mike profusely for getting things started, then turned the challenge over to Adrian. He needed cash; I needed help. He accepted the challenge for a reasonable fee, but after a few more hours of struggling in our sleep-deprived haze, we decided to reconvene the following morning…
I added oil to the jack and we were back in business. We carefully set up Mike’s puzzle of wooden blocks and metal plates that made a safe pushing platform for the jack. Next, it was time to pull out the heavy artillery…My buddy, Kyber, on ‘Natty M’ had run me through a quick certification in the use of his pyromaniac’s delight—a hefty, flame-spitting, butane torch. The idea was to repeatedly heat and cool the bronze tube from outside (without setting Swell on fire…) in hopes of breaking the tube’s bonds with the surrounding fiberglass. Adrian stood by with a bucket o’ water in the event I lost control of the torch. The tube turned rainbow colors under the heat and boiled the water that was soaked in the surrounding fiberglass. Fantastic! When we both agreed that any more heating might cause Swell to spontaneously combust, Adrian threw on some water to induce quick contraction of the metal.
Next came the final showdown. Back inside the cabin, a few pumps of the jack’s lever placed 20-tons of pressure against that stubborn ol’ shaft tube. At first it didn’t budge at all…
I couldn’t bear to watch. If this failed I would have to concede to ‘open-fiberglass surgical tube removal’. Being rather nervous around pressurized jacks after my accident last year, I decided it was better for me to go down and survey what was happening on the other end.
“Hit it with the sledgehammer!!” Adrian called from above.
“Okay!!” I hollered back, slinging the beastly tool over my shoulder and unloading on the exposed part of the tube.
“It moved!!” He yelled.
“It MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVEEED!” I shrieked back in delight. The tube had officially broken from the fiberglass and moved 1mm in the right direction!
We carried on like this for the better part of the day: Adrian loading up pressure with the jack from the top, while I occasionally hammered from below. When the jack reached its maximum length, we’d pull it out and shove some other piece of steel inside, re-assemble the support, and continue to push. Millimeter by sweeeeeeet millimeter, we pushed it out of the hull! That afternoon, the final 6 inches of the tube slid out to expose a series of corroded holes, meaning it was certain that the corroded tube WAS in fact the culprit of all this leaky madness!!
Hallelujah!! It was OUT!!