Spring Commissioning


Marina snow triggers a memoryWalking past a dirty snow pile at Zahniser’s Marina brought back the memory of our first spring commissioning in March 1970–forty years ago.   The memory of painting our first sailboat bottom  in early March cold with freezing fingers, rain threatening and leaving as soon as I’d finished the last paint stroke came back.  So did the unexpected work surprise a few days later when we discovered cheap masking tape  didn’t want to come off.  Reflecting over the years it seems like every spring commissioning has it’s unexpected events–this on at Zahniser’s sure did.

Ruth waxing the hull

Odyssey had spent the winter at Zahniser’s for a major hull repair; details about what and why will be in a future blog. We knew we had a huge inside and outside cleaning effort.

Odyssey heading for the water

Odyssey passes the Trek heading for the water

The good news was that when we arrived Marina Manager Jim Sharkey had found a great place for us to park the Trek two stored boats away from Odyssey and next to the water and a power supply.  As a bonus we had front row seats as the Travelift launched boats.

The bad news showed one painful event at a time.

  • One bilge was completely filled with water and the shower sump pump was underwater.  The bilge had been bone dry when when I’d finished winterizing the engines while on the hard.  Might been because of the snow.  We’ll wait and see what happens when it rains. The shower sump pump still worked was a bit of good news.
  • The 10 year old house batteries, connected to solar panels over the winter were dead.  We had Zahniser’s do all the heavy lifting work and replace them.  Another boat unit got added to the yard bill.
  • Jim Franklin working on exhaust fitting

    After launch started the engines and poked around the bay.  Loved being on the boat and were anxious to be on the move again.  Back at the dock we discovered we has a serious leak and just managed to catch the Zahniser’s staff at quitting time and get hauled.  The next morning Jim Franklin found sealant failure at the underwater exhaust transom fitting caused the leak.  We liked his suggestion and had both exhaust fittings rebedded.

  • Filled the hot water heater and found it was leaking.  Jim Franklin installed a new hot water heater.
  • Had the AC system checked.  Suspected a bad starting capacitor but the boost capacitor failed to fix the problem and now a new AC unit is on order to be installed in late April.
  • Figured since we were into a major refit we’d replace the dinghy also.  It was 10 years old, had a slow leak and looked like hell.  Ordered a new dingy from the the Solomons West Marine.  Stayed an extra day so we could have it.  At noon a phone call from West Marine informed us our dinghy didn’t arrive.  Worked out a plan to have the dinghy delivered at our next stop.

With all that going on we also squeezed in two major road trips.  First we rented a car and drove it and the Trek back to NY.  Did fast hello with family and drove the rental car back.  Learning that FL would not allow Ruth to renew her drivers license online we rented a car again drove to FL on Sunday, got the renewal on Monday and drove back.   Tuesday we paid the yard bill and headed for the Potomac River.  Bake sales to help refill the cruising kitty will be held at various ports.

We returned as planned in late April and had the new AC unit installed.  What a difference.  It’s much quieter than the old unit and a bit more compact.  The output seems to be higher and the amp draw at start up is way down.

While we were at Zahniser’s we stopped at West Marine and picked up new speakers for the cockpit.  While I was at it I replaced the rusted cockpit RS-232 connector with one of the spare I carry for just that purpose.  I’ve set the system up the cable can be changed easily.  The new one will last about 5 years or until the navigation system is totally upgraded.


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