So the trip started off well enough, and it should have a been a straight forward delivery to the Chesapeake from Maine. Rita and I had set aside just over a week centered around the Memorial Day weekend, so I opined that eight days would be more than sufficient. Just before the off however it was discovered that the header tank on the Ford Lehmann engine was leaking and the neck on the filler would need to be repaired by a radiator shop. Yankee Marina and Boatyard in Yarmouth, Maine went above and beyond would be expected to get us on our way. Curt, the yard manager, drove the header tank to the radiator shop, waited while they repaired it then turned up on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and personally refitted it. I can't say enough good things about this yard; perfect service.
After the drama with the header tank, I thought our problems would be over, and it would be plain sailing from then on, but oh no. We were literally about to leave the dock, and I thought I'd double check the engine oil in my familiar fashion, pull the dipstick wipe off the oil with a paper towel, replace dipstick then pull out one more time for an accurate reading. A simple task that takes a few moments at best. On pulling the dipstick for the second reading, I was horrified to see that the bottom half of the dipstick was missing! I was in a panic, how could this have happened? Where was the missing bit of dipstick? Thinking that it had fallen off into the oil pan, I knew that we would not be going anywhere if that was the case. An errant piece of metal in the oil pan could lead to catastrophic engine failure. The engine could not be run until the piece was retrieved. I was thinking that I would have to pull the engine and drop the oil pan, a very expensive job which would scupper our plans of heading south anytime soon for sure.
I rushed to True Value and bought the strongest magnet on a stick that I could find. I thought that I could poke this down the dipstick hole and by some luck catch the wayward piece of the dipstick, but even if I did the chances of actually pulling it back through the dipstick tube were slim to none. I was doomed, and I knew it. Just as I was about to break out the whisky and slump on the salon cushion I had the thought that maybe the piece had snapped off and fell into the bilge. I have white clean oil pads under the engine, and if the piece of dipstick were there, I would have seen it. I fished about for a couple of minutes and then if by some divine miracle I heard a click and up from the depths came the magnetic stick with the piece on the end. What luck! How it broke off and fell into the bilge I will never know but I was thankful that I found it and doubly glad that I did not spend days pulling then engine apart only to find it afterward, that really would have pissed me off.
Due to our late start, we only made it as far as Kennebunkport, I wanted to fill up with diesel anyhow so we put in for the night thankful that at least we were on our way and heading south. I went for a walk in the rain and stopped by this nifty looking boatyard across from Seaglass, our boat. I wanted to take other pictures, but all I got was this shot before my camera battery decided to die.
The forecast for the morning was not promising with rough seas and fog. In fact, we had lots of fog, this shot is on one of the better days! Instead of continuing our journey on the second day as planned we left Kennebunkport and turned back after half an hour when we realized that the visibility was about a hundred yards with five-foot seas from the south. This was very frustrating, but I always think it better to be safe than sorry. An added concern was that I had recently refinished the mast on the boat and although I had a shiny new 4G radome fitted this was not hooked up to the chartplotter. I never thought I would need it, how wrong I was!
A couple of days later we made it as far as Gloucester, Massachusetts where we had a fine night in the marina and met our friends Tom and Alice who invited us to dinner. A splendid run, the next day, across Massachusetts Bay saw us in Sandwich, a perfect jumping off point for the following day's run through the Cape Cod canal and out into Buzzards Bay. The current is swift, and this helped us along nicely, Seaglass making 12 knots over the ground at one point. Our good fortune did not last long, however, as the day wore on the weather deteriorated, the wind and rain came back with a vengeance.
The seas were right on our nose, and we were taking green water over the bow which slammed the windscreen making it hard to see, the wipers did their best but were not up to the task. In fact, it was so rough at one point that the fridge went walkabout and the cutlery drawer had to be taped up with masking tape to keep it in place. This is not my kind of boating at all! I had planned to make it to Westbrook in Connecticut but was worried about navigating the harbor entrance in the rough conditions so put into the Connecticut river instead where the entrance is wide, and it's safe and easy to enter. We secured a berth then went for showers and beers, that first one tasted so good, we'd earned it!
The drawer taped shut and the fridge after we wedged it temporarily back into place.