Maybe it is hard to imagine unless you are living it, but being in a marina yard on “the hard” isn’t much fun. It is very dirty, loud, not very private and you have to climb up and down a ladder with babies and the dog every time you leave. We actually had a really good spot on the hard because we were very close to the water as opposed to tucked away behind a bunch of other boats.
The ground at the marine center is covered with huge rock gravel to help absorb whatever liquids may come to fall on it. The large gravel are a thick layer and very difficult to walk on. There is a constant sound of electric tools and diesel machines accompanied by the aroma of paint and fiberglass in the air. And there is a black dust that covers the boat despite daily attempts to wipe it off of tables and such. After two months on the hard, and driving with the crew 2.5 hours back and forth, we were ready to splash this vessel!
The last thing we were waiting on at the marina was the new genset. These diesel marine generators typically weigh 500 lbs or more. We had the marina use their forklift to lift out the old large Onan 9kW rust box out of the compartment and then lift in our new smaller Kohler 6kW unit. We read A LOT about gensets while deciding which one to go with. And hands down the Northern Lights brand was rated the best and also was the most costly. We looked for the best quality (with RPM’s at 1800 for decreased sound) for the least amount of money and came up with the Kohler. We ordered from CitiMarine Store and they had free shipping.
Tomas did all the disconnections and also reinstallation of the new system. He never ceases to amaze me with his diverse skill sets! The old unit had to be taken apart in pieces because it was larger than the engine compartment hole to remove it, and was most likely installed during the initial build of the vessel. The new unit had the sound shield on and that had to be removed prior to lifting her in, in order to fit in the compartment. The weather seal around the compartment needed to be re sealed and all the rust debris cleaned from the compartment. Tomas spent the better part of two full days working on the gensets and getting all the wiring, cooling and exhaust connected properly.
We worked on several small jobs like the anchor light not working (at the top of the mast), one bilge pump not working, several electrical issues, and replacing various lines that were chafing. We inspected all our anchor rode and measured the colored markers on the chain. And we had the marina lift up our washer/dryer while using the forklift so Tomas could hook-up all the plumbing and vents for it while we were on the hard. We also discovered that besides our compass having a very large bubble, that the compass card was no longer attached and was non-functional.
In our various repairs on the boat we made several trips to a great store t
hat we highly recommend for boats called Marine Supply and Oil Co. It is a family owned business, since the forties, with a HUGE inventory of all types of repair parts and their prices are very competitive.
After getting everything connected we tried to schedule the splash of the vessel with the marina. That basically happened by them saying the same day, ok I have today at 2:30pm? And with that being our only option for that week we went with it. They allowed us to tie up overnight at the ramp slip where they put us in but we had to be gone by 7:30am for another boat coming to get hauled out.
My lovely parents helped us out by driving up to St. Augustine from a few hours south to pick up Milan and our car. We were doing a shakedown on the boat and wanted to have as few distractions as possible while initially getting acquainted and checking out all her inner workings.
As soon as we put her in the water we had to change the port side impeller. It is recommended when you take over maintenance on a vessel to go ahead and replace them preemptively but we hadn’t gotten around to it. Also, the engine kill switch is bad and won’t cut off the engine. We had to find the manual shut off button on the back of the Yanmar (not super convenient to go down below, under the bed, for access to the back of the motor to shut it down EVERY-TIME). So we need to replace the switch ASAP.
The next morning was all a bit of a rush and we were concentrating on getting off the dock, with Taleia and Oliver in tow, (without hitting any Mega Yachts) with howling winds and strong currents in a tight channel. Tomas was at the helm and did a great job getting us safely underway.
We opted to stay in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to do the shakedown. Our mast height of 60′ permits us to do that with a max fixed bridge clearance of 65′. Some sailboats are forced out into the Atlantic due to mast height. We broke up the trip into 3 days covering 152 nm. The first day was 46nm down to Daytona.
We had several minor electrical issues (from old wires) and both our handheld and the vessels VHF were having issues while requesting bridge openings. We had a belt bust on the port side and both motors and sail drives needed to be topped off with oil. We went to shore in Daytona to tend to those issues.
The following day we headed south after a late start working on the various issues. We were able to motor sail a bit in the ICW in 12-15 knot winds and discovered our navigation lights were not working around dusk so anchored in Titusville instead of another 2 hours like we had planned in Cocoa.
And the last day we got up early to a gorgeous day. Took Oliver to shore on a small island and then pulled up anchor before 7:30a.m. We were able to motor sail a bit and after a beautiful day pulled into our familiar waters in Vero Beach around 5pm (68nm that day). We dropped anchor, made sure she set, and headed ashore to go see Milan!
And … we are officially in GO time! We need to get fully moved aboard, sell and ship our belongings from our house, get the house sale ready, finish up fixing various things aboard and get sailing!