Of course, the main reason we hauled the boat was to have the bottom painted, but there was only a limited amount of work on this that could be done now. Having already scraped the bottom to remove the barnacles and greased the thru-hulls, the one thing that we could do was to purchase the bottom paint. Dave used a price match at West Marine to save quite a bit on the 2 gallons that the boatyard will require. The remaining bottom prep and painting will be done by the boatyard. Since the hard paint we use requires a limited (< 30 days) exposure to the air to maintain its effectiveness as an anti-fouling barrier, we need to have the work done in late September, just before our return to the Chesapeake with Marianna. Having the boatyard do this while we are traveling will ensure she is ready to launch soon after we return.
Cathy also spent several days applying fresh coats of Cetol to the remaining teak that had not been done this year – the cockpit seats and handrails, the swim platform and the hatch boards. The more we stay on top of it, the less work it is and the better it looks.
After discussions with John, the engine mechanic here at Deltaville, Dave decided to install a temperature gauge. To keep costs down, he ran the wiring from the engine room to the instrument panel. Then John returned with Nick to install the temperature gauge and sender. Taking care to keep air out of the line, Nick replaced the original sender (which triggered an alarm) with the new one, which will provide the data for the gauge as well as an alarm. This was wired into the newly-mounted gauge on the instrument panel. It was installed so that it will light up at night with our other fuel and rpm gauges, which should make it easily visible from the helm. The system will need to be bled once we are back in the water, when we can test it as well. Assuming it works as expected, it should make it easier to know if the engine is running fine or at risk of overheating. This way we can take some action to avoid damaging the engine before it gets too hot.
Since we had attempted to have this repaired once before, only to see it split again, we were reluctant to attack all of the problem cleats at once. Instead, we decided to address the worst one and see if the repair held. If so (and if we could afford it), we could have the others repaired or maybe do it ourselves.
To give access to the underside of the cleat so that it could be removed, we removed part of the port cabinet in the main saloon. Dallas, a boatyard worker and one of our neighbors here on the hard, removed the cleat, with quite a bit of effort. Once it was removed, he discovered that the aluminum sleeve was effectively welded onto the cleat and couldn’t be removed. Therefore, he had to fabricate a fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) bushing to surround the cleat as it passed through the teak. This would absorb any expansion and keep the wood intact.
Upon finding ourselves on the hard for several weeks, we made a list of the things we should try to get done while we were out of the water. One of these things was to have a survey done, which for you landlubbers out there is like a home inspection for the boat. In the process of looking for insurance that will allow us to travel further into the Bahamas, some companies would require a survey before writing a policy. Since most surveys require a haul-out to be done, being on the hard already would significantly reduce this expense.
Talking to the Boatyard and the Annapolis Yacht Sales representative here in Deltaville, we quickly settled on Don McCann from Tranquil Waters Marine Survey. In preparation, we tidied up the boat, but generally did little other prep work. For almost 3 hours, he reviewed the inside and outside, top and bottom of Orion. When we received his report the next week, we were delighted to find no “recommendations” for fixes that would need to be done to ensure her safety. This should make it easier to get insurance based on the resulting survey.
He did identify some considerations for improving certain systems on Orion that we are looking into -- such as a higher capacity emergency bilge pump and a high water alarm.
When we invited our grandson for a visit, we expected to be in the water in Hampton, where we could take some day sails and explore the Hampton Roads area from a 6 year-old’s perspective. When it became clear we were instead going to be on the hard 10 feet up in the air, we ran it by his dad to see if there were any concerns. No. He should love it.
We arrived back at the boat late on a Saturday, and Droz was up the ladder in no time. So much for any concerns about fear of heights. Within minutes we were off to the pool, which became the hit attraction for the week. Droz even claimed that when he woke up in the morning, he could swear we were on the water.
Maybe for a 6-year-old, imagination is everything.
Given what the Chesapeake usually dishes out in late summer, it’s been an amazingly cool August, with temperatures more in the 80’s than 90’s during the day and generally in the 60’s at night. We couldn’t ask for much better.
That being said, with the late August heat and humidity causing the cabin temperature to soar in the afternoons, fixing dinner on board was very unappealing. So, to avoid a mutiny, we moved our dining to the breezy screened porch at the end of the covered boat dock, complete with grill, tables, chairs and – most important -- company from other cruisers in the boatyard. This nightly ritual became the time to catch up on each other’s projects, solicit advice, learn each other’s stories and just laugh and relax as we caught a cool breeze from the water. By the time we returned to the boat, the evening air was usually cool and the boat quickly cooled to a fine sleeping temperature.
Much better than sweating it out back on Orion.
With our sudden departure from Joy’s Marina in Hampton, we missed saying goodbye to Steve and Christa on Bay Dreamer and we were days away from welcoming Tom and Cathie on Interlude, who took up residence just after we left. So, we made a day trip back to Hampton to pick up the car and, luckily, met up with Tom and Cathie and Steve on the dock. We said our goodbyes for now, with hopes to see them again this fall. (We thought we had one more opportunity to see Steve over Labor Day when his Fleet 30 group was planning a trip to Deltaville. Although Steve couldn’t make it, we did meet many of the group, who had several events, including guitar music by the pool and a big potluck on Sunday night that we were invited to share.)
Appeasing the God of the Sea
We were honored to participate in such a ceremony for some neighbors of ours – Chris and Leigh. They wanted to replace the previous appellation, Gigolo, with the new one, Namiste (referring to a Yoga position of peace and tranquility, I think). After carefully removing any reference to the former name (per the proscribed ritual) and before loading any reference to the new name, the ceremony was held at sunset on the Friday of Labor Day weekend. Neptune was given his due with words and, of course, libations, and Gigolo was a thing of the past.
Surely good luck will now follow as newly re-named Namistad prepares for her splash down and journeys south.
As Labor Day comes and goes, we prepare to leave Deltaville and head north to New Hampshire, where we’ll spend time visiting and then heading south as crew on Marianna. By the time we return, maybe the days will have cooled off some, and the boat projects will be largely behind us, ready for our return to the water – and some more of those sailing stories we’ve been so long in telling.