Thursday, May 16, 2024


Except for one leak in the Air Con inlet screen lid First Light hit the water without a hitch. The crew pulled us out of the lift pit and tied us up to the pier, giving us all the time we wanted to poke around and make sure everything was as it should be. After looking all around for leaks I held my breath and hit the start switch for the port side engine. Less than 2 seconds of cranking later is was rumbling along at idle, all gauges in the green. That seemed like a good sign so I hit the start button on the starboard side. Same result. How about them apples? 

After letting the engines run for a while I checked that they shifted as they should. That done, we tossed the lines holding us against the lift pit pier, I started playing with the shifters, and we eased forward with a slight wind off the starboard side. It has been months since I moved the boat so the first few seconds were a little tense. I didn't touch the throttles until we were out of the marina. Even then it was just off of idle to move us out to anchor in the middle of the river. We set the anchor. Actually we set it twice having misjudged the wind. With the hook securely buried in the bottom, I climbed down from the flybridge sure something was missing. Oh yeah, anchor snubber. Snubber installed and lines secured, we just sat for a while, the boat swinging gently in the breeze. But we couldn't sit there long as there were still things to check and do.

First on the list was dropping the Dink in the water to see if there was any chance its engine would run. We were in a bit of hurry last fall and I don't think we did any of the things one is supposed to do before parking an outboard for the season. Given that our experience with outboards hasn't been all that encouraging, I was expecting the worst. The routine for dropping the Dink into the water was carefully reviewed because getting it wrong could easily lead to fingers getting squished in places fingers shouldn't be. The Dink plopped into the water without a wince. Then came remembering the routine for dropping the outboard into the water with even more consideration to not mashing fingers. Again success. All that was left was to see if the thing would start.

If I had been forced to bet on the thing starting within the next hour or so, maybe more, my bet would have been, “no chance”. On about the fourth pull the little bugger  sputtered, coughed, and then settled into an easy idle. How ABOUT them apples? The Yamaha 9.9 HP 4-stroke may be my favorite engine at this particular moment, even if it is a bit bigger and heaver than I think necessary for a Dink pusher. I gathered up my life vest, slipped the kill switch lanyard over my wrist, took the rig for a short run around the boat, and almost tossed myself into the river. I had forgotten that the twisty throttle on an outboard works backwards from the one on a motorcycle. I have about ¼ of a million miles on motorcycles. I have maybe 100 miles in a Dink. But I managed to get back on First Light without getting wet.

All that was left to get going was the genset. What were the chances that thing would run? We were batting 1000 up to that point. My experience is that batting 1000 on a boat is even rarer that batting 1000 with, well, a bat. (Actually, I have no idea where “Batting 1000” came from. I assume it is a baseball thing.) With the electrical panel set for GEN rather than “SHORE” I took a deep breath and toggled the gen switch to “Start”. Two seconds of crank, a “chuff” and another second or two of crank and the generator settled into a quiet idle, water flowing easily out of the exhaust. A look at the gauge showed a solid 120 volts AC being available. HOW ABOUT THEM APPLES!

We will be sitting here for a few days, waiting out some weather and getting our living on a boat in the water habits polished up. We are now "off the grid". Electrical power use considerations, water on board, and a constant weather watch are part of the life. We even remembered to hang our "anchor ball". (Well, Deb did.)

Mostly we are simply basking in the fact that we are back on the boat in the water. The next big step will be motoring down the river and turning left. As soon as we do we will be in new territory as this is as far north as we had ever been in Kintala. The first time we left here we turned south to start our cruising adventure. This time we will turn north on the Great Loop route. A new adventure and the first leg toward home.

Just a small change in our view. What a difference a couple hundred yards makes...

Hanging in the slings while we paint the bottom under the jack stand pads.

I realized too late that I had left my coffee cup on the boat.

1 comment:

s/v Sionna said...

Now THAT is an auspicious start! May such good fortune follow you for the next 6000 miles.