It finally happened – we got two days of non-rainy, non-windy weather and, making the best of them, we got the Awen up on the grid and put the prop back on. Yee haw!
The whole event was something of an adventure – we used our new little MacGregor sailboat to tow the Awen to the Port Neville dock at high tide, tied her up to the pilings, and waited for the tide to go out. It was our first chance to see the damage, and thankfully, the shaft was in good shape, the nuts that I’d pre-ordered were in fact the correct diameter, and all the pieces fit together like they should. We happily returned home the next morning, using the Awen to tow the MacGregor, just the reverse of what we’d done the previous day. It feels great to have our main boat back in action! Many kudus go to the new MacGregor. She’s been transportation and tug boat for all of this work, and has provided us much useful service this winter when she was only intended to be a “summer” sailboat. We will be much more mobile now, which is a great relief should we need it.
On the Ides of March, we made our first trip back to “civilization” since the end of last October. We were a little concerned about the state of the truck, which we leave parked at the harbour in Kelsey Bay, since it had been left unattended for over four months. Surprisingly, it wasn’t in too bad shape. I have a small solar panel that I place on the dash which trickle charges the battery, so the battery (which is also relatively new) was in good shape. Amazingly, the truck started on the first try and ran OK. My biggest concern had been the brakes, as they tend to corrode and seize up in the salty ocean air. The brakes were working – I gave them a couple of good kicks to free up the corrosion. However, there is a small leak in the brake line – an old repair problem where a piece of the line had to be replaced. I think it’s just the clamps leaking slightly, which will need to be tightened whenever I can get the truck up on a hoist. I bought some extra brake fluid to keep the level topped up, but at the moment it looks like the leak is small and not aggravated by driving into Sayward Junction and back, where we picked up a few groceries – our first since December. And I managed to get the insurance decals on the truck before the end of March, when the insurance would have expired and the truck could have been towed away, though it was certainly getting to be a race down to the wire.
The winter has been long and dark, and being pinned down by bad weather, COVID, and a boat without a propeller was definitely a bit depressing. Finally having the truck and both boats in working order is a relief. I’m really looking forward to some warm spring weather!
On March 23rd, we took the MacGregor across the Strait for the first time. The weather was neither rainy nor windy (wow again!), and this was a good test run for the lighter, but much faster, boat on that crossing. She did terrific! Ken figures that the trip there and back took a little over 20 L of gas, which is amazing when compared to the Draiocht, which used 80 L of gas for the same trip. The crossing time for the trip was about half that for the Awen, or about 1.5 hours each way.
Asides from testing out the MacGregor, there was another purpose to our trip – we got our first COVID vaccinations (more on this in another blog). Another thing to be very happy about!