The sun was shining and both sails were completely unfurled, pulling Orion north up the bay from Hampton. This trip was long overdue, Orion's 2012 trip having been sidelined by the engine rebuild. It was also the first long trip on the newly rebuilt engine. So, it felt a little like a shakedown cruise, since we had almost taken root in our slip in Joy's Marina in Hampton over the past 2 years. Dave had remounted the secondary anchor and rode on the bow, the generator in its box on the aft deck, 2 jerry cans full of diesel on the stern rail and extra fenders just in case. However, it was Steve's dinghy we were towing on his bridle, with his outboard and grill mounted on the stern rail, replacing some essential supplies of ours that were currently stowed on Orion Jr in LaBelle. With Orion fully provisioned for the week with food and water, we were ready to enjoy a week or two of exploring the Bay.
Our “shakedown” cruise revealed a few things that needed attention, but luckily not too many. The deck washdown hose had to be replaced. Although Cathy re-stitched the bimini before departing, she didn't anticipate that a bimini strap would break. She was able to repair it underway and the repair held. One of the main saloon portlights dripped, meaning it needs to be sealed again. (Of course it has to stop raining to do that.) In general, things looked good.
Also, before leaving Dave had installed a new automatic charging relay, which combines the 2 battery banks for charging purposes and separates them when no charging source is present. Since we were “off the grid” during our trip north, we got to try out this capability and it worked as planned.
And the sewing work for other people continued. Cathy made a rear enclosure for a friend's powerboat and a windshield cover for another boat. We tested out Steve's stackpack during a couple of sails on the bay, and with a few tweaks of the lazy jacks, it seems to be working well. It's all been a learning experience, but the results seem to look pretty good.
In addition to connecting with Dave's cousins, we made a road trip to visit Cathy's family in NC. One highlight of that trip was taking in a movie under the stars with Cathy's sister and brother-in-law at their church in Winston-Salem. It was a beautiful weekend for a visit with Cathy's mom and sisters, and, as always, good to spend time with them.
Back in Hampton and during our trip north, we enjoyed spending time with our friends on the dock and meeting new ones. There was another cruising couple, Doug and Lisa on Carefree, who spent the summer at Joy's, and have since headed south for the winter ahead of the fall rush. Dave spent an afternoon suggesting some routes and places to stay on the trip south to Florida. Another couple, Judy and Bob and Cringle, joined us in the rain in Solomons while we were both on Zahniser's mooring balls. They were equally anxious to get underway for points south. It won't be long before we will be moving further south as well.