Sunday, June 29, 2014

Maiden Voyage

We determined to get up at the crack of dawn so as to have the mild winds predicted and to get a jump on the pleasure boaters.  This was somewhat complicated by the fact that on this of all nights the Yacht Club across the way decided to host a live band, a lot of drunks, and in the process of the evening I managed to fry my hand with steam......
Yes, these are blisters from 2nd degree burns....Don't ask....

All of which made for a pretty sleepless night. Added to that, most of the folks we ran into at the marina had spent their time telling us everything that could go wrong:  we didn't dare take the boat out in any wind, we couldn't possibly have enough battery, we didn't have enough power (they were right about that one), the Middle River was a "mixer bowl" of wakes on the weekend........but still:

So here is what Sue Creek and the Baltimore Boat Center looks like about 5:30 AM when we set out.

 Only a few fishermen out this time of the AM.  We had carefully consulted the wind charts to make sure the calm would be as...well...calm as it could be.  So we cranked it out of the sack in near darkness, untangled our lines, and cast off on the Floating Empire's maiden voyage.
 Pretty flat, hunh?  The flat part stopped when we exited Sue Creek and entered the main channel of Middle River, as did the lack of wind.
 This was about the time that we discovered that our total of 85 pounds of motor thrust was NOT going to be enough.  We found ourselves burning way too much battery power, just trying to keep from going broadside to the wind.  Our massive speed averaged something like .7 knots.  No, you read that right, 0.7.

 Still, the day was beautiful, not a horrible amount of boat traffic (we had been warned about all the wakes).  Most of the markers had been transformed into Osprey nests.  They tolerated us with a practiced disdain.

 No, it really wasn't this rough, just a crooked shot.

Mungo, stressed to the max.

The problem was, our thruster motor ran out of battery early on.  I did some creative wiring and spliced it into our main 12V feeds to the instruments, but that only gave us partial power.  

 Creative though, no?
 So Morgainne wound up on the stern, manually manipulating the thruster this is not a sexual reference....with me on the bow shouting directions and trying to influence our course with about a quarter the bow thruster strength we needed.  It was wildly stressful.  I kept expecting any minute to give out of power and have to drop anchor and wait for the panels to charge us.  As it was, we finished with plenty of power, just not enough of it getting to the motors to do what we needed to do.

 Six hours later and utterly exhausted, we arrived in Middle River Landing and were greeted with a bunch of friendly folks who helped us tie up, helped me calm down, and even gave me a lift to get our car, an embarrassing 5 minutes away.

So here we are at our pretty new home.  It's really nice here.  More later as soon as I get this phone tethering thing worked out a bit better, but we're fine and happy.

More shortly, along with a list of the things we've learned on this project so far.


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