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 33 and Day 34, Year 1: Patiently Waiting
Day 31, Year 1: No Log Written