Out and About
With the newly-rebuilt engine installed, we needed to get out on the water to break it in. Before getting underway, we had a diver clean the bottom, which hadn't been cleaned since before the engine had been pulled last fall. Then, since the diesel in the fuel tank was now a couple of years old, Dave plumbed in a temporary fuel pump to cycle the fuel in the tank through the Racor filters to polish it. After running this process for several hours, the entire tank been filtered multiple times. He then changed the fuel filter, which wasn't too dirty and there was no water in the bowl. So, the fuel was looking very good. We were ready to head out.
In one sense, it was a pretty boring trip out the Hampton River, west through Hampton Roads into the mouth of the James River and then back through the west entrance to the Hampton River. However, given the milestone we had reached with Orion, it couldn't be more exciting to see how smoothly she puttered along. Given how much time had passed since we had been at the helm, we stopped a couple of times on the return trip to practice backing up, since we hadn't done this in a couple of years. It must have worked, since we had little trouble backing her into her slip when we returned. Another good milestone passed.
Crack! Cathy cringed as she realized that she had just stepped on the 15watt solar panel we had borrowed from Steve to keep Orion's batteries topped off over the winter and whenever we were traveling. So, Dave started searching for a replacement. What he found was a small, light, thin, semi-flexible panel that actually had more wattage. The difference between the 2 was dramatic. Solar technology is advancing rapidly and costs are dropping. Hmmm. . . maybe we should re-think Orion Jr's solar panels.. .
We finally bit the bullet and decided to strip and re-finish the only wood that hadn't been converted to Cetol Natural Teak. That was the wood by the companionway and the cockpit table. After stripping and sanding, Cathy applied 4 coats of Cetol and now all the wood matches.
Did Someone Say Pirates?
We had another successful Blackbeard Pirate Festival, having been invaded by our own set of pirates when Adam's family and his friends Brian and Jessica joined us for the day. The day ended with our traditional cookout and then the fireworks. A day to remember. We've included some pictures to share the day with you. Click on them to see the show.
Steve and his daughter, Stephanie, have participated in the infamous Cock Island Race in the Elizabeth River, for more than a decade. So, when he was looking for crew to help him move the boat to Portsmouth and to crew for the race, we readily agreed to help. Dave joined him for an amazing downwind run from Hampton to Portsmouth. The morning of the race, we were not going to be nearly as lucky. The winds were light out of the northeast, but the current in the river was steadily flooding against us all day. We crossed the start line at 9:30, but by 1:30, we still had 7 miles to go on a 9-mile course. The wind just died as the day progressed. In the meantime, there was more commercial boat traffic than anyone could remember in the 26 year history of the race. We managed to stay out of the way, but the 5 long blasts told us that not everyone was keeping a comfortable distance.
At the awards ceremony that night, we learned that only 13 of the 77 boats crossed the finish line – none of them in our racing class. At least we didn't feel bad for bailing out.
We were just sitting down in the movie theater, when the phone rang. It was Meg Moore on Gelato. John and she were on the Hampton River and taking us up on our invitation to come visit. Where should they go? We directed them to the Public Piers and agreed to touch base as soon as the movie was over. As we walked out of the theater, we saw them walking by. We had never met the Moores in person, but had exchanged e-mails over the winter. They were put in touch with us through a mutual friend from our church in Reston. We enjoyed spending the afternoon and evening with them before they headed out the next day.
A few days later we made a surprise trip to Richmond to see our oldest grandson's ceremony for moving up from elementary school to middle school. He proudly showed off his recognition certificate to us as we celebrated this accomplishment with him. The first of many to come.