Day 33 and Day 34, Year 1: Patiently Waiting

Days 33 and 34, Year 1: Patiently Waiting
Date: Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20, 2005
Weather: Sunny
Location: Oxford, Maryland, Tred-on-Avon, SailAway Marina

We had a bit of success today. Finally all systems were connected and I had the pleasure of turning the key and starting the new Yanmar for the first time. She started right up and sounded great, but it was late in the day, so the sea trial must wait until morning. If that goes well, we could be out of here by Wednesday morning. That is the glass half full projection and I’m really hoping for that scenario.

The weather here has certainly changed. That streak of sunny weather has ended and the rain has come. They tell us here that the system moving into the Eastern US is a Manitoba Clipper which means high winds and cold weather. Snow is not predicted here, but it is forecast in surrounding areas. Let’s hope it steers clear of the Chesapeake Bay. I just hope we will be headed south on Wednesday and can outrun the truly cold weather. Until the sea trial tomorrow, we just really don’t know what our plans will be. Hope with us that all goes well and that we will soon be on our way.

051119 Day 33 Boston to Norfolk, USA–Robert Morris Inn and Geese
051120 Day 34 Boston to Norfolk, USA–Visit to Tommy and Marilou's

Day 32, Year 1: Making Progress

Day 32, Year 1: Making Progress
Date: Friday, November 18, 2005
Weather: Stormy Overnight, Sunny Day
Location: Oxford, Maryland, Tred-on-Avon, SailAway Marina

“I can understand how you got me to stick my head in the water, but how did you arrange to get the tide this low?” These were David’s words this morning, after removing the old prop and putting on the new one while we sat here at the dock . . . high and dry due to the lowest tide we have seen yet. When David arrived this morning, the boat was back on it’s10 degree slant. The tide was so low that you could see the prop just under the surface of the water. And that gave David the idea that we could change the prop today instead of waiting to have the boat hauled out of the water to do that job. Mark asked me to get the dinghy ready by pumping out the considerable amount of water that had accumulated from a pouring rain during the night, and just as I finished, David flew into the dinghy saying, “It’s all about time and tide, time and tide.” And away he sped to the stern of the boat. It took awhile, but he was successful in removing the old and installing the new prop. For the second day in a row, however, he was soaking wet. Yesterday it was from a water hose and today it was from hanging upside down off the side of the dinghy to remove the prop. I’m sure the strong north winds during the night, as well as the full moon, were responsible for the low, low tide, but I’m not sure how we have managed to have a very wet engine doctor two days in row. Sorry, David.

Just as we got the new engine in the boat yesterday, the first drops of rain we have seen for quite a while began to fall. As the evening progressed, it rained harder and harder, and during the night we had quite a deluge. The wind and rain were part of a front that has brought us clear weather again, but has also brought the cold. Today was bright and sunny, but the temperature hovered around the 50 degree mark all day. We hear that we will be getting a frost, either tonight or tomorrow night, with low temperatures in the 20’s and highs for the day in the 40’s. We have a heater and can keep warm, but I will be very sad to see the roses wither. Flowers in Oxford still look like mid-summer. The roses are my favorites, especially the yellow ones, but I have a feeling I have seen the last rose of summer for this year.

Today we made steady progress toward engine installation which is a really good feeling. After the prop installation, the engine had to come back out of the engine room. The term engine “room” is most misleading. For those of you who have never been into the engine “room” on a sailboat, the space is rarely much larger than the engine itself. We have removed one of the walls and other cabinetry to make access easier, but it is still a tiny space in which to do work. Once the engine was sitting on the aft cabin floor, holes were drilled for the engine mounts. When we took out the old engine, we took out the old mounts and got new ones made to accommodate the size difference between the old and new motor. Mark and David worked on the exhaust system and in early afternoon we enlarged the hole on the stern of the boat to accommodate the three inch hose required by the new motor. This three inch diameter hose is going where previously only one and half inch diameter hose ran, so it is a tight fit. The new engine mounts were put in place and then the twelve and a half foot exhaust hose was brought into the boat and pushed and pulled into place. Three inch rubber hose is not easy to work with in small spaces, but inch by inch it got there. Of course, working on the exhaust system meant taking out the aft cabin bed once again, removing all of the batteries . . . once again, and this time moving the radio antenna tuner and finding a new home for it. Once all of this was done, the engine was moved back to its proper place and tomorrow we will make the final connections. It is looking to me like we might get an initial sea trial in tomorrow, but maybe that is just wishful thinking.

Tonight, Kathy Young and her teenage son Jesse came to visit. I taught kindergarten in Seaford, Delaware, with Kathy, and her husband Jim used to work for David building boats in the 1980’s. It was great to visit with an old friend and another reminder of those connections that make us realize that it really is a small world after all.

A special note to a special friend, Claire McKellar-Congratulations!!!
Claire McKellar and Kevin Russell are a wonderful young couple that live aboard their sailboat, Merganser, at Shipyard Quarters back in Boston. Claire has been a graduate student at Harvard Medical for the past few years and today she passed her oral defense for her PhD in Neuroscience with flying colors. Claire, we are so very proud of you and so glad to have you and Kevin as good friends. Claire and Kevin are out to dinner at the Bistro in Charlestown tonight with both Kevin’s and Claire’s parents. We so wish we could have been there with you, but we’re hoping you and Kevin can come meet us in some exotic place in the South Pacific next summer so we can celebrate then. One last “small world” note . . . Claire’s parents and our engine doctor and his wife, David and Donna Laux, all sail in the Georgian Bay in Canada each summer. We’ll have to arrange a meeting to complete the circle.

051118 Day 32a Boston to Norfolk, USA–Prop and Exhaust System Installed
051118 Day 32b Boston to Norfolk, USA–Friends and Family Visit

Day 30, Year 1: Engine Arrival

Day 30, Year 1: Engine Arrival
Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Weather: Looks Like Rain is Coming
Location: Oxford, Maryland, Tred-on-Avon, SailAway Marina

This morning was one of the longest mornings I can ever remember. I had hoped the new engine would arrive early, but 9:00 o’clock, 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock, and finally 12:00 noon came, and still no engine. David called mid-morning to say that he had been delayed by more engine preparation tasks, but he and the new Yanmar did arrive just after noon. I don’t know if “beautiful” is a word that is normally used to describe diesel engines, but I have to tell you that this Yanmar looked beautiful to me. We were anxious to get the engine inside the boat, but there were other tasks that came first.

While waiting for the engine to arrive, Mark decided to make sure the packing glad was secure. He found that he did need to add to the packing gland but found difficulty getting the packing material into the stuffing box. When David arrived, he asked a few strategic questions that revealed that we were going about the task the wrong way. He wanted us to remove all packing material and start over. Of course, we are in the water, and I could only imagine a flood that might sink us. He assured both Mark and I that he actually prefers replacing packing material while in the water. His father was an engineer at DuPont with a specialty in packing glands, bearings, etc. David learned from him and while in the Navy, he maintained engines on an aircraft carrier and learned even more. We did have a flood of water, but David was successful in replacing the packing gland. Then it was time for lunch, and then we got to the business of bringing the engine onboard.

The process was exactly the reverse of taking out the Perkins 4-108. The new engine is actually a little larger and posed a few interesting situations fitting through the companionway way and then around the corner into the aft cabin, but by 4:00 this afternoon, the Yanmar was sitting in her new home. I documented the “engine out” and “engine in” with many photographs that I hope to get posted over the weekend. The placement is temporary as the engine will have to come out into the aft cabin while the new placement fittings are permanently mounted and the exhaust system is installed. We are disappointed that the sea trials will probably be delayed Monday and our departure is delayed. We will have to figure out the next steps and see where we go from here.

051116 Day 30 Boston to Norfolk, USA–New Yanmar Engine In

Days 26 through 29, Year 1: Engine in Hardscrabble

Day 26 through Day 29, Year 1: Engine in Hardscrabble
Date: Saturday, November 12 through Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Weather: Still Warm . . . Wonderful Full Moon
Location: Oxford, Maryland, Tred-on-Avon, SailAway Marina

As the sun was going down, I was walking back from the shed where I had just taken a shower. There is a door on the shower, but it is essentially outside, and I’m having a hard time believing that I am warm in mid-November after taking a basically outdoor shower. And then I looked up and saw the incredible full moon. What a treat!

I had hoped to be writing this log yesterday (Monday) reporting that the new engine had arrived, but alas, we had one more snag. Mack-Boring shipped the engine on Friday for a Monday arrival, but the shipping company, Estes, sent it to Harrisburg, PA, instead of Salisbury, MD. The engine did arrive in Salisbury last night and was then delivered to the engine doctor’s shop in Hardscrabble, Delaware, at noon today. Tomorrow morning we should finally get to see this new baby here in Oxford. The hope is to get it into the boat tomorrow and have everything ready for the first sea trial on Thursday. If all goes well, we will have the boat pulled out on Friday, put on a new prop, and go out for a second sea trial with the new prop. If all of that works, I’ll decree it a miracle and we could actually be ready to go on Saturday. We’ll see.

Today was the 16th straight day of beautiful weather. Last Friday and Saturday were chilly, but the temperatures have climbed back into the 60’s during the day and only dip into the 50’s at night. Roses are still in bloom here in Oxford but the leaves are falling quickly. Rain is forecast for tomorrow so this incredible streak of weather might be coming to an end. We can’t complain, but we do hope that we will get a decent weather window next week when we hope to head out of the Chesapeake.

Last night, Ron and Suzie Williams came over to visit from across the Chesapeake Bay. Ron went to high school with Mark and a few years ago they discovered each other on the internet as fellow sailors. Ron and Suzie have a Gemini catamaran that they sail to the Bahamas most winters. This winter they are not sailing, but are doing a South American land tour and might meet us in Panama to do the canal transit. We are thinking that when we leave here, we will head to their place in the Patuxent River, and go from there to the Hampton area to wait until the weather is right for the crossing to Bermuda. Or we might just wait in the Patuxent and head out from there. The weather will be the determiner, so again, we’ll see.

Sunday evening we also had a visit from old friends. Sally and Bob Moneymaker, whom I mentioned in a previous log, came over to visit. Sally and I taught together in Seaford, Delaware, before Mark and I moved to New Hampshire. In addition to being friends, Sally and Bob are part-owners of this private marina where we are staying while doing the engine work. One of the other owners, Jeffrey Banks and his wife, Barbara, came on Monday, so we have now met the wonderful people who so graciously are letting us stay here while getting the engine work done.

It is 8:00 o’clock and the moon is officially full. I’ll sign off for now and hope to report good news of engine installation tomorrow night.

051113 Day 27 Boston to Norfolk, USA–Sally and Bob Moneymaker Visit
051114 Day 28 Boston to Norfolk, USA–Ron and Suzie Williams Visit
051115 Day 29 Boston to Norfolk, USA–Enjoying Oxford While Working

Day 25, Year 1: Baby Steps

Day 25, Year 1: Baby Steps
Date: Friday, November 11, 2005
Weather: Continued Warm Fall Weather
Location: Oxford, Maryland, Tred-on-Avon, SailAway Marina

Retraction. The new Yanmar did not arrive today. Mack-Boring decided to put a cooler on the transmission which delayed shipping by one day. So Monday should be the new arrival date. Mark and I spent the first part of the morning across the way in the Hinkley Boat Yard laundromat and then Mark spent the rest if the day down in the engine compartment removing old hoses and wiring and rearranging the “furniture.” I think we could use a little advice from Martha Stewart here. He took out shelving and disconnected most everything. Right now he is in the process of repositioning all of the various bilge and sump pumps, and is reinstalling enough of the plumbing for us to take a shower. Tonight we are going out to dinner with a friend, Julie Reed, who lives close by. And if we want to keep her as a friend, showers are definitely in order. Julie used to work at New Hampshire Public Radio before moving back to the Eastern Shore. We visited with her once before when we were sailing in the Chesapeake. She has kindly offered to loan us a car for tomorrow so I can do some more shopping for provisions. I thought I had most everything, but as the week went on, I discovered a few missing items.

We didn’t make huge progress today, but Mark feels good about what he accomplished and I’ll have to be satisfied with baby steps for now. I will write again when the new engine arrives . . . hopefully on Monday.

051111 Day 25 Boston to Norfolk, USA–Removing Engine Room Shelf