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Log Entry

Tech Troubles 1

Whenever I see the word "troubles", it almost always makes me think of that iconic Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles. "Aye, they're into the machinery alright," is the line I'm thinking of that Scotty utters while carrying an armload of the furry, purring Tribbles. Whatever is in the CAYUGA machinery, it is certainly trouble. So let me tell you the story of this week and where we are with Mission Impossible: Water - Episode 1.

This past Monday, I arrived to the yard, we chatted about the plan for the day and headed out. CAYUGA looks amazing. Her white boot stripe is perfectly white, whatever that cleaner they used, it went from yellowed and stained of the Bay's waters to looking freshly painted. Such a minor thing when compared the transmissions and engines but hey, that's what people see as she motors by them. A sharp looking girl, with everything as it should be. I was so excited. It was the first day away from the dock.

Not only did her boot stripe look fabulous, but her transom, with the black finished around the chrome exhaust ports, just popped brilliantly. Her undergear was glowing from the Propspeed which looks gold-ish and if you ever have felt it after it's applied, it's rubbery! The paint "flexes" so nothing sticks. I had it on my sailboat's prop and decided it was more than worth it given the importance of props on a motor boat...

Monday was in the 50s with a light breeze, so it wasn't a glorious outing that we were about to commence upon with regards to the weather but it's March in Maryland. And that means, memes galore and one weather forecast that sums it all up (from 2023 but still applies), seriously, you have to check out that site - that guy is intense, especially when it comes to snow (yes, I love snow). Sidebar: we paid a few extra dollars on our boat insurance to put the boat in prior to April 1 because March in MD.

Look, if I don't laugh about this insanity, I'll be, yes, insane. Anyway, we were off to go fill the gas tank, and since the preference is ethanol free, the only station around with that is a Royal Farms out on the main highway, Route 404. We're going for a ride, on pavement, first. It was interesting to drive behind the boat on the highway, and Spencer, driving the trailer, probably never went above 45-50 mph. Fine with me. Since boating is not unfamiliar to folks in that area, it was kinda no big deal.

Pulling into the station was a little bit sureal though, I have never personally watched a large boat pull up to a gas pump, on land. But this is what it looked like:

After the fill stopped at some allowed amount, I went into the store and asked a very helpful woman behind the counter to put a hold on a few many more dollars so we could get this done without that limit again. Well, we never needed the amount I'd requested so that was a pleasant surprise. Which got us all thinking about how much had actually been put in back in early December during the engine break-in. Apparently, more than we thought. Oh, I know, you think we're goofs for not knowing these things but these old gas gauges aren't perfect and I don't know at what level the pick up is, so we don't really know how much gas is in that darn tank unless it's totally full.

Before we left, a fellow walked up to Spencer and engaged in conversation and asked about the boat. I knew the guy! How random! Brad knows him well, but I've met him before and he recognized me too. Of all the places to run into someone you know, with a big classic boat, on a trailer, at a highway gas station. I think the best part was when Spencer said, "the owner's right over there".

Back on the highway, we're headed to the boat landing to launch for the first time in 2024. A smooth slide into the water admist a bevy of folks fishing off the edges of the town landing, as well as a few Town officials monitoring whatever it was they were monitoring... and it was time to start the engines. But a little before that, one of the Town officials strolled over to say hi to Spencer and he pointed me out again and the fellow came over and said he thought I had a very fine boat. CAYUGA says thank you again! So now, it's go time.

The engine guru, Bryon, is aboard as is the electrical wizard, who is a diesel engine guy but he certainaly knows all the other important wiring aspects besides the engines. Good to have so much knowledged aboard. And so I turn to Bryon as he looks at me, and we, as I think it happened, were thinking, who is starting this baby up? I defer to Bryon to make sure it starts the way he wants it to and he turns the ignitions. Both engines, one by one, fire up and find their idle after the usual warm up. This is a BIG deal. But taking it in stride because it's as it should be, after a few minutes, with me now in the captain's seat, I turn and ask if we're ready to go. I get the nod and so it's time for me to remember how to drive a boat.

Believe me when I say, it's been TWO LONG + years of no touch or feel of CAYUGA and I was really starting to dial into her right when the season ended back in 2021..... oh geez that was soo long ago! I was so incredibly nervous all day. The morning work meeting was a breeze compared to sitting there thinking about how I didn't want to get it wrong the first moment off the dock. All way over from Annapolis I was freaking out in the car, my right foot felt like it was going numb so I kept fidgeting to make sure my body wasn't going paraylzed. Back surgery in 2009 led to some weird stuff I deal with so it was a combo of nerves, sitting, anxiety, etc. and anyway I arrived just fine. I've come to enjoy my weekly ventures to Denton, although I am looking much more foward to my, hopefully, daily ventures to CAYUGA at the dock where I can relax on her, fuss about something to clean or fix, take her out for spin, maybe dinner at the club by water, or raft ups with friends, anchoring.... dreaming.

Are you still with me?

Pulling out of the lauch ramp, there are, as I mentioned a bunch of folks fishing. I don't know how they thought this would go but I can only avoid so many fishing lines if you'd seen it. Luckily, we snagged no lines and everyone was cool. Pretty much I felt like I got the girl pass, maybe that's horrible to say, but really, how many girls drive boats like this? I can't imagine they've seen that often. I want to recall current flowing upriver with wind coming downriver. The current can be pretty significant, more than half a knot, so maneuvering at slow speeds is always fun. In the end, I tried to stay calm and just went with the flow so to speak and up, past the oyster bed shallows to starboard, in the middle of the channel we went. Bryon cautioned that he didn't know the waters super well but I recall when CAYUGA was first delivered to Denton, and Pete Mathews hopped aboard, with Spencer, to take a quick ride, what he mentioned about the water and I remembered to where to stay in the lane. Let's not run aground first time off the dock.

We go slowly, the idle is not the same as I remember, the gears are finding themselves, the engines are sounding OK. And now we are headed down the river, a few fusses here and there but under the bridge and with the caution to mind the few residential docks on the east side of the river not to go fast as we pass, we push forward at 6 knots.

As you can see, it was clouding up a bit, but it was the most beautiful day I will remember for a long time since it was THE day. You can see the gauges here, with the RPMs at about 1100 each, however, the engines are not in harmony if they are reading exactly the same, and they aren't if you notice - the starboard gauge is slightly higher and that's about where you hear the engines sync. It's all how you hear it. It's not electronically handled, it's you just have to know. I grew up with that. It's such a cool feeling to hear it and feel it and know it. Maybe a lost art, and I have to wonder how many girl boaters are out there like me who are doing this?

I wish I had a screen shot of my Garmin chartplotter, which thankfully when it turned on for the first time since... the track up the river was still in memory and that was awesome - just stay on that or around it so we won't find the bottom. Maybe this OpenCPN screenshot helps. Right above the "clr 24.9" (bridge clearance for any boat going under at mean lower low tide) is a tiny blue indent in the dark brown of the Town of Denton, and that's the boat landing. The Upper Choptank River Buoy 2 is where we went and turned around before heading south. It's narrow looking, but at low tide it's really narrow when you see where all the marshes and oysters bars and such appear.

Our adventures this day took us as far south as Daybeacons 78 and 77 with the depth 9 indicator being the approximate ground zero for our fate. I can share that the waters in the river run deep at the outside of the curves and you can find well over 10' of depth and if you stray into dark blue (not shown on this screeshot) you better turn.

Once past the residential docks with no boats in sight, it was time to ramp it up! The moment had arrived to open it up and go for the ride we'd all been waiting for. I took the throttles and began pushing forward, past 1200 RPMs, 1500, 1800, 2000, 21---- nope! The port engine stops. When an engine is off but the ignition is on, there is a LOUD bell. So the bell goes off and above it I call out, "Bryon!" - and throttle back on starboard immediately and into neutral. Now we are floating about in a river, with a current, a narrow channel, a stronger breeze, and one engine not working. I love yachting.

But it was really good while it lasted.

Episode 2 coming soon.

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1 Comment

Mar 11

Soon come Mon! Soon come! (Jamaican accent)

Baby steps into the the 2024 boating season. Baby steps into the restored CAYUGA (Bob Wildly "What About Bob")

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