A Month on the Run

After our unscheduled (but successful!) haul-out & repairs, it was finally time to shove off & have some fun!  While we knew we’d be constantly running away from Covid-19, little did we know that there would be more!

Our first reward after our hard work hauled-out (we saved one for the photo)!
This is the path to the only grocery market on quaint Cuttyhunk Island, one of the Elizabeth Islands south of Cape Cod. With only 20 year-round & 200 summer residents it seemed like a safe stop, however, 2 days after we left testing found 20 Covid-19 cases – the highest per-capita in Massachusetts!
Running away to the north – thru the foggy Cape Cod Canal
The rugged coast of Rockport, Massachusetts (along with lobster boats & lots of pots) lets you know you’re getting close to Maine. Near this spot we noticed a seal popping his head up, followed by a shark fin! Further offshore we saw a few whales, but unlike the whale watching boats, didn’t want to nearly run down the whales for a closeup photo.
With Covid-19 travel restrictions in Maine, we decided to only go as far north as Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Hey – we can’t help it if they have 2 great donuts shops plus a bakery right near the waterfront! These are brioche donuts from Angry Donuts.
Donuts weren’t the only reason – Benj was able to drive out from Vermont to visit for a long weekend!
This is beautiful Hadley Harbor (at the other end of the Elizabeth Islands from Cuttyhunk). Owned by the Forbes Family who provide great scenery & free moorings for visiting boats (just don’t try to go ashore).
Sunset off our mooring in Hadley Harbor

As you may have guessed, our next running-away decision was Tropical Storm Isaias on it’s way north.  We almost kept to our plan for a marina stay in New Bedford, Massachusetts as they have a hurricane barrier they close to protect their harbor from large storms.  However, with possible 40 – 50 knot winds, we decided not to take the chance as the harbor is fairly wide so waves can still build-up within the harbor.

Since we had planned on returning to our slip in Deep River, CT in a week anyway, we just headed right back.  Did we make the right decision?

 

Well …. no.  Tropical Storm Isiasis veered west, missing New Bedford by 100 miles, but passing just west of Deep River giving us the higher winds.  With gusts to only 55 knots & well secured in our slip, it wasn’t that bad at all … until we listened to the news & walked out from the marina.  Trees down everywhere with the 2nd largest loss of power in recent CT history!

We were originally going to wait it out at the marina, but it gets hot without A/C & we don’t want to run our generator constantly.  Plus, the docks were without water & we couldn’t exactly use our watermaker to make our own, as further north on the Connecticut River there was a massive raw sewage discharge (thanks Holyoke, MA).   So off to Greenport, NY for water, groceries & laundry.  Be back in a few days when the power is restored??

2 Months in Deep River

It wasn’t all projects, donuts & oysters in Deep River, but lots of projects & donuts!

Many beautiful sunsets
A few storms blew through
In case the question ever comes up: How many police & rescue boats does it take to rein-in an underway runaway skiff caught on a mooring going around in circles: answer: 5
A visitor from the north! Covid regs finally allowed Benj to visit us from Vermont! We enjoyed spending a long weekend with him including a tranquil cruise north up the Connecticut River to East Haddam.
After 2 months in Deep River, it was time to enjoy & explore! Here’s the newly painted Old Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse all dressed up

Oh wait – we took a wrong turn & somehow ended up hauled out!  Yes, the dreaded haul-out, living “on-the-hard”, 14 hour days of hard labor & discomfort without A/C, etc., etc.  We tortured ourselves in May 2019 & our bottom paint was holding up well, however, we’ve had ongoing issues with our “running gear”.  This consists of our propeller, the shaft thru the hull with a cutlass bearing and a shaft seal finally connecting to the engine transmission.  In our case, one of the shaft seals (the red thingy in the photo way below) was leaking due to a

Re-installing the shaft – the brass colored collar is the new bronze cutlass bearing

common PDQ boat issue of shaft “whipping” at high speeds.  Some other PDQs have had an additional mid-bearing expoxyed in to help with this problem at a specialized boatyard in Florida for several thousands of dollars.  I figured, “how hard could it be?”  While it worked out o.k., every step had “issues”.

First, I was planning on having the boatyard in Mystic pull the propellers, as it takes specialized tools.  However, after an hour they gave up.  A specialist with special specialized equipment was required, but he was booked up for a week.  The yard called in a favor for him to show up at 5 AM the next morning (before his

The red arrow points to the additional mid-bearing expoxyed in. The red hose-like thing is the shaft seal which keeps the seawater out while allowing the shaft to spin

first already scheduled job).  Gulp … well … we were desperate.  In the end, he was able to squeeze us in at 8 PM that night before.  Gulp … there goes the budget!

It was time for me to get to work.  Remove the shafts & “tap out the cutlass bearings” – in theory.  In reality I had to blindly cut thru a bronze sleeve with a bare hacksaw blade & then very carefully pound them out!  2 1/2 hours later…!  The work continued late into the night.  Install the new cutlass bearings, epoxy in the new mid-bearings, install the new shaft seals, re-attach the shaft couplings to the shafts & transmissions. Ahhhh … the end was in sight! (Lori was starting to believe it too!)

Realizing that we never want to haul-out again, we thought … let’s just throw on a coat of bottom paint while we’re already hauled out rather than doing it a year or two.  Problems included that we have no time to order any paint & no car to pick it up.  Oh … but there is an Enterprise Car rental office 1/2 mile away.  Oh … it’s closed due to Covid!  Oh … we can Lyft further to Groton.  Oh … the Lyft driver wasn’t even wearing a mask!  On and on and on, but eventual success, back in the water with the running gear upgraded & a fresh coat of bottom paint, in only 2 1/2 days!

The final product!  Doesn’t look much different, but no leaks!

Now we are going to spend a few weeks out enjoying ourselves around New England.  We’ve cancelled our trip to Maine this year due to Covid, as technically if we stopped in Massachusetts on the way to Maine, we would have to undergo Covid testing or endure a 14-day quarantine.  So we will likely only go as far north as Newburyport, Massachusetts, which isn’t so bad as we really enjoyed our stay 2 years ago during the PDQ Lobsta Crawl flotilla.

We enjoyed a few clean-up & recovery days while anchored off the Mystic Seaport. This baby is the newly restored Mayflower II ready for her sail back to Plymouth, MA.