Day 36, Year 1: 4JH4E Passed the Test!!!
Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Weather: Frightful—Totally Overcast, Cold and Windy
Location: Oxford, Maryland, Tred-on-Avon, SailAway Marina

Today was the day. The new Yanmar 4JH4E was completely installed and it was time for the sea trial. The weather was frightful, but we were determined to forge ahead and the mechanic at Hinkley was willing to brave the weather with us for the trial. It was rainy, cold, and windy as we started the new engine and used her power to help back Windbird out of the mud. Although we were not totally aground any longer, the tide was low enough that we had to plow our way out. The plan was to go out into the Tred Avon River for the sea trial and then bring the boat back into a slightly deeper dock at Hinkley for the night. I stayed on land to fend off as Windbird backed out of her slip at SailAway Marina and met the boat at Hinkley to help with the docking there. Our engine doctor, David Laux, the Hinkley mechanic, Andy, and Mark went out for the trial. They took a little longer than I anticipated and I was very anxious while awaiting their return. Finally, I saw Windbird’s mast in the distance and ran down the dock to meet her. What an unbelievable relief it was to hear that the prop size was correct and that everything was ship shape. Andy gave his full stamp of approval saying that the installation was very well done. Bravo, David Laux!

And a very special thanks to David Knight and the crew at Hinkley who really did everything they could to see that we got our sea trial done and could get out of here tomorrow. At one point we thought we might have to wait until next week for our sea trial but David Knight listened to our pleas and responded with exceptional service.

It has been a very long month. We limped into Lewes, Delaware, on Saturday, October 22, and will leave Oxford tomorrow morning, Wednesday, November 24. We will motor across the Chesapeake to Solomons on the Patuxent River, assess the new engine performance, and if all is well, we will probably head to Norfolk on Thanksgiving morning. It is more than a one day trip, so we will do this as an overnight and arrive there on Friday morning. We will spend Thanksgiving Day taking time to give thanks to all of our wonderful friends and family who have been there with us this past month.

It is difficult to describe the emotional roller coaster we have been on for more than thirty days now. On the one hand, we find it very difficult to believe that after more than three years of extremely careful preparation, we ended up with a faulty transmission when barely more than a day out of Boston. But on the other hand, the stop gave us a chance to connect with both new and old friends in a way that we have not been able to do for many years. The “on the other hand” comment reminds me of Tevia from Fiddler on the Roof. We have to make one more run into town tonight for last minute shopping and I hope to find a Fiddler on the Roof DVD to take with us.

Last note for tonight . . . we owe a huge debt of gratitude to David Laux for his work on acquiring and installing the new engine. He is brilliant and has taught us so much. David and Donna, we will never forget you. Thank you so very much.

Day 37, Year 1: On the Road Again
Day 35, Year 1: The Engine Runneth