With a high pressure system hovering over us all this last week we had temperatures in the 80’s and beautiful weather. We planned on getting the boat out to shakedown the motor and test the new chart plotter setup. I had helped a friend take his boat into a haulout facility due to a leaking stuffing box. That was Monday. I figured it would be good for me to go on the 5 mile run to the haulout facility to get my my mindset back out on the water. It felt great to be out on the ICW.
Each day we were preparing our boat to go out on the shakedown and finding that there was just too much to get ready for us to shove off each and every morning. It ended up that we finally got the boat together enough to get her out on Friday. With everything stowed and the shore power lines, Cable tv line and dock lines ready, I walked down the dock and got Brian from the marina office to give us a hand leaving the slip. The trick to backing out is to get the bow around while in reverse so that we could then pull out forward. Without a bow thruster, we have to really get it right the first time or we will flounder and spin in the narrow fairway nerve wrackingly close to the other boats. The Allied Mistress clocks in at about 22,000lbs dry weight, so I am sure with it loaded down it adds a couple thousand pounds. Pretty heavy for the size of the boat she is.
Well, we made a perfect getaway with Brian’s help and off we went. Like last time we waved goodbye to the marina clan and went south about an hour. We went under a few fixed bridges and then stopped in the middle of the channel and practiced some maneuvers… backwards, forwards, and tight radius turns to see what she was capable of. Reverse is more or less a joke. The boat goes where she wants and the prop walk only adds to the challenge. Reverse is really just a brake and for setting an anchor the way I see it! After maneuvers we turned her around and went back North to the marina.
It turns out the engine ran great without a single hiccup and both Shawna and I got some more much needed experience behind the wheel. Cadence was great and did everything that we asked. Running the boat can be a bit stressful and having a child aboard does not make things any easier.
As we approached the marina Shawna called the office over the VHF and requested docking assistance. I then took the VHF and called the Barefoot swing bridge to inform the bridge operator that we would not be requesting a bridge opening. Our slip is very close to the bridge and I have to take the boat right up to the bridge itself and then do a u-turn then enter the fairway to our slip. I figured it would be courteous to hail the bridge operator and let him know our intent. It’s all about communication isn’t it?!
It felt great to get back after a successful run. I checked the coolant levels and all seemed good. The earlier circulating pump replacement seemed to be working out great. All I can do is hope that she makes it to Florida. Obviously anything can and will happen. It’s all just a matter of when. Thinking about it too much gets you nowhere. All you can do is be prepared and of course we have Tow Boat US Ultimate Gold towing insurance if anything were to happen. The good thing is that wherever we are is where we are. Our home is with us.