FINALLY!! After an awful winter of rain, snow and cold, we finally got a decent weekend in the 70s. Time to go boating! Isabel rode on the bow as we took Ballena Blanca for her first little trip into the Potomac. We cruised down to the U-1105 marker buoy (that Capt. Dave ‘n’ crew deployed on Saturday) and back, making around 7 knots against the wind, and 8 or so on the way back with a following sea. Blanca handled nicely, with her engines rolling smoothly along at 1,700 rpms.
I spent the day before putting ID numbers and tax stickers on the bow and on the dinghy, so we’re all legal-like. I also pumped probably 5 gallons of water out of the fuel tanks– I’m sure there’s a rainwater leak somewhere, maybe in the inspection hatches under the cabin sole. I had opened them to clean the fuel tanks and closed them up again with new gaskets, but I think the new gaskets were thicker than the old ones preventing the bolts from tightening cleanly. I’ll have to open them and reseal them again when I get to working on the new cabin sole. In the mean-time, the fuel-polisher pump makes it fairly straightforward to pump liquid out of the fuel tanks until clean diesel is all you see.
I also put the new dinghy in the water with my new 6′ oars (thank you, Gander Mountain– $25 a piece, with free shipping!) and put together the trolling motor donated by Capt. Dave. The electric motor isn’t much faster than rowing, but easier on the forearms. I’m looking into a good solution for davits on Blanca’s stern to make it easier to stow the dinghy. We plan to paint this dark-blue tub a light green eventually. That way Ballena Blanca’s tender can be called Sardina Verde. Green Sardine!
Next up: finish the navigation lights and work on the bridge deck to solve more rainwater leaks. Enjoy the summer!