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Olivia was happier than I think I have ever seen her. She didn't want to leave the boat. It was very gratifying. Here she is enjoying her first lunch aboard the next day (notice how pristine and bare the interior is in this shot... that will soon change as we start loading her up!)

By the way, can you believe this is the same boat?????

Now came the task of lowering that waterline!!! When we launched her we thought, "Wow, we really overcompensated when we raised the waterline! We'll never get her down that much!" Well, now that we're all loaded and cruising, I can say that it's just right. Maybe we even could have gone up another inch!!! Here's the first round of provisioning. Where was I going to put all that stuff? Amazingly, that and much, much more has been swallowed up by the new storage we added.

How fun it was to begin living on the boat, despite the fact that the docks at Portland Yacht Services are, well, not ideal for living at! (The wakes from the commercial harbor make it very, very, very rolly...) One night that first week we invited Tony from Sea Muffin over for dinner. It was so lovely to cook in the new galley! Check out that countertop lighting! $12 at the hardware store and it makes food preparation (and seeing into the deep refrigerator) so pleasant...

We spent a week reorganizing our work space and doing relatively small projects as we took a little time just to enjoy living on the boat. Then we realized that our mast stepping was scheduled for the next week so we began to work at our old frenzied pace again. Neil Awlgripped the mast and boom (that we'd stripped of hardware the previous year) and started putting back on the hardware we were reusing. We frantically procured the items we'd need for the inner forestay, running backstays, spinnaker pole track, tysail track, etc, that we were adding. Here's the inner forestay fitting we had made at Metalmast.

Several people chipped in to help, including Jeremy and Catherine, who helped us put the mast together the night before the step, and John Elie (sp?) who helped us run the mast wiring and did the splices for our running backstays. Running the mast wiring turned out to be a big problem. We'd ordered some new flexible conduit from Hall Spars to fit in the conduit track on the inside of the mast, but couldn't use it because the old plastic conduit was broken and stuck in the track. What looked like it would be a simple matter of sliding out the old conduit, putting the wires in and sliding it back in, turned into a nightmare as the conduit stuck fast about 2/3 of the way through and would NOT move. We finally called it good, somewhat worried about the wires slapping around in the lower 1/3, but happily it has not been a problem so far.

Here's Neil installing some masthead components:

Our sturdy Merriman bronze turnbuckles, all lubed up and ready to go:

Although all components were not yet installed (still have to install the trysail track!) we made our step appointment. But the yard almost didn't!! Due to a scheduling snafu, our step was pushed until last thing Friday afternoon. This particular day the yard guys were taking off to go to a hunting camp for the weekend, so we were VERY grateful when they all stayed late to get our stick in for us. Thanks guys!!!!! never before has it taken 11 people to step a mast at PYS! They were all chipping in so that they could get going....

It was nerve-wracking because the crane was not tall enough (combined with the very high tide) to hold the mast in the normal position and get it over the deck. They had to lower the mast and reposition the harness under the spreaders. Then Eric had to ride along on the mast end as ballast to keep it upright! Please do not forward these pictures to OSHA!

 

Once on the boat, it took an inordinately LOOOOONG time to get the mast down into the step, as it had to thread through the interior joinery and it was the busiest wake time at the marina.... the boat would roll through 20 degrees for 10 minutes, then give them a 3 minute window of RELATIVE calm to maneuver before starting to roll again. Those poor guys all waiting to go start their vacation!!!!

The next day we bent on the sails and WENT SAILING!!!!!!!!!!!

It took us another week to get our stuff all moved out of PYS and stored in the basement of our (rented) house, and then we were off...

We've been at Pemaquid Maine, where we have the use of moorings and dock space at Neil's family and friends houses, for a week or so. We have LOTS more projects to finish, but the pace is so much more pleasant. We take long breaks to go dinghy exploring or fishing. Today is rainy so we're doing this update. Not much pressure. In fact, none beyond the fact that we need to get to Nova Scotia by the end of the month for insurance reasons. It's hard sometimes to let go of the stress and frantic pace we've become accustomed to, but we're getting there. There have been many problems we did not foresee, although I personally see them as inevitable and part of the "shakedown": the LPG alarm kept tripping ( turns out we were turning off the wrong switch), problems with the water pressure (Whale fittings are MUCH more complicated than they market them to be!!!), a few leaks, all minor and fixable -hopefully!-, the radar did not work: turned out to be a bad connection in the radome -here's Neil fixing it (radome cover is in that sailbag)

Funny, he didn't want to put those mast steps on when he was redoing the spars: they are secondhand and not very pretty and he didn't want them on his shiny new mast. But now that he's had to use them several times, he's very glad to have them! they do catch our external halyards a lot, but we're getting used to them... We also figured out a confusing wiring issue in the NMEA signal wiring that was keeping the GPS from sending data to the laptop and VHF. We built and installed our lazy jacks, based on the EZ-Jax system. We put up the flag halyards and radar reflector, the Man Overboard Pole, and are finishing the SSB installation today.

Being in Pemaquid is a great "transition" for us. It's not as drastic as it could be, since we have the use of a dock and moorings, and washing machines and a house if needed. Last weekend there was even a car available for us, which was great as we needed to get some parts at Radio Shack in Damariscotta which would have been a daylong hitchhiking event otherwise! Yet we still have to walk a mile to the grocery store, good practice for the years to come... Plus it's all familiar to Neil, who spent every summer of his childhood here. Here are Neil and Liv getting ready to do some underwater exploring. (Liv only lasted about 5 seconds... it's been VERY cold and rainy here lately so the water is still super-cold!)

We're hoping to get the bulk of the big projects finished by Tuesday or Wednesday and leave for our overnight to Nova Scotia then. I'll try to write more soon! Here's our view each night (that's the Bristol High Life in Pemaquid harbor):