Sunday, May 14, 2017

Back in the water...

Late in the day on May 9, the old girl was eased back into the water. It's been cold and somewhat rainy so we haven't gotten a chance to do much to get her ready for the cruise to Norwich.

However, this weekend, we did get a chance to start the engines. Just a tiny squirt of gas into the carbs and off they went, with lots of cooling water out the exhausts. Always good to hear that merry tinkle.

We run two banks of batteries: two Group 27 Sears Marine Diehards for the starboard engine and two Group 24 no-name batteries for the starboard engine. The then-new no-name batteries were given to us by the previous owner when we bought the boat and we installed the Diehards at the same time. That was in 2009.

This year, it was pretty obvious that the no-names had reached the end of their useful life. There was just enough juice to get the starboard engine running. Since we're careful about stuff like this, bought two new group 24 marine batteries (brand named Duracell) from Batteries + Bulbs in Manchester, Conn. The price was right and since our favorites - Sears Diehard - aren't around any more, we settled on these. After 8 years of service, it will be interesting to see how long the old Diehards last.

Fresh water pump

When we tried the fresh water pump this year, it blew a fuse. That's odd since it worked fine last fall when we used it to distribute potable antifreeze throughout the boat's plumbing. It's also odd because we rebuilt this pump two years ago and since then, it has worked perfectly. Needless to say, we're not fans of Shurflo Aqua King II pumps. But, to make things easy, we bought yet another pump at Defender Marine and by the time you read this, will have installed it.

We rarely use this pump. It's nice to be able to run fresh water from our tank while underway but other than that, its main use in in winterizing the boat in the fall. Too bad it's not what the manufacturer claims it to be.

A step up for Frances
We have some plastic kitchen steps that Frances has used to get on and off the boat when we are visiting a marina with floating docks other than out own. Our boat has high side decks and with her short legs, getting on and off can be an issue but the little plastic steps have worked, provided we tied a line around them so they didn't blow off into the water.

This year, Frances isn't as strong as she used to be and we thought it would be a good idea to reinforce those plastic steps in a way that would give her an extra step up. Enter the Frances Steps V2:

Now she has an extra 7-inch step, which we hope will make it easier for her to get on and off during our summer travels. Note those big eyelets for securing a line. Hey, it's what we had in stock.

Security Zone
Our intention was to drop a car off in Norwich on Tuesday, May 16 and then take the boat to Norwich the next day. Turns out that isn't a good idea. A call to SeaTow confirmed that President Trump will be making a speech at the Coast Guard Academy graduation on May 17 and the Thames River in New London will be closed. Best guess? 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

No problem. We'll go up the river the next day. Our hope this that the President will have something inspiring for those Coast Guard cadets to hear. Not, "look, I'm President" or "how I beat Hillary" but something that reflects the dedication shown by those young Ensigns.

We don't do politics here but sometimes we think that those young officers deserve some encouragement. God knows, they have worked for it.

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