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We Did It!

We sold our boat of almost twenty years and purchased a new to us boat. By the time you read this all the transactions needed to make this happen should be done. It has not been an easy task. In the November/December issue, I wrote how a buyer backed out because they felt the boat had sunk since the bilges were too clean. Another looker said there was no way he could afford to maintain the boat to the standards that it was maintained, whereby my dock neighbor told him he must be looking for a “crappy“ boat.
One thing that happened even before we decided to sell our baby was that the windlass failed around the end of August. It would raise the anchor but not lower it. No big deal I figured, I could lower it manually and raise it with the windlass. I would take it off at the end of the season and ship it out to get rebuilt. Then when I uncovered the boat in the spring, I would install it. One reason why I wanted it to be rebuilt was that a few years back when I had my deck recored I fabricated an aluminum plate with a Starboard wear guard built in. A new windlass would not fit, requiring some serious modifications to the deck. I wanted to avoid that!
Then, we listed our boat. The buyers were told about the windlass and I would have to demonstrate that it would function in the spring. If I was lucky, I could get it back before the boat was winterized and show it to the new owners. What followed was an epic journey of a gasket and seal set from the United Kingdom.
I searched online, and posted on a few boating forums, finding a fellow boater with the same boat and windlass problems I had. He even had one of the parts I needed to sell at a greatly reduced price. I contacted John at Merke Marine in Annapolis and made arrangements to ship the windlass to him. John made no guarantees about being able to even take apart the windlass due to its construction. As you know, stainless steel in aluminum combined with salt water can equal super glue, like bolts being seized in the housing. But John was able to get it all apart and sent the motor out for rebuild while ordering the gasket and seal set from overseas.
The set left the U.K. on November second, clearing customs on November sixth. From there it went to New Jersey, then to Maryland and on to Washington D.C. From there it got crazy as I was checking the tracking. It left Washington and arrived in Rochester, New York. Then on to Buffalo, New York! I saw my chance of getting this installed back on the boat slipping away. From Buffalo, the set followed the exact same trip in reverse until finally being delivered on November twelfth. That was a Saturday so I figured I would talk with John the next week.
I still harbored the hope I could get the boat back together for the buyer to see it work before being hauled for the winter. I gave John a call that week and got the news I was not expecting to hear. That weekend John was in a bicycle accident. While going over a bridge with a section of grating, he fell. He broke both of his thumbs and fractured his elbow. “Ouch!” does not convey the pain I suspected he was in. Needless to say, any thought of getting the windlass done in time came crashing down with a thud. John and I talked and he told me he would have a helper put it together under his supervision. It took a few weeks but the rebuilt windlass arrived at my doorstep ready to be installed, this spring.
In the meantime, the boat was hauled out and I winterized her for the last time. What a great boat she has been. In a way, we are sorry to see her go and at the same time excited to start our new adventure. The new boat is located in Alexandria Bay, on the Saint Lawrence River.
The new boat has older electronics that maybe someday I will update. Our trip will consist of heading south to Lake Ontario, crossing the lake to Oswego New York and the Oswego Canal. From there we connect to the Erie Canal, heading east to the Hudson River. South on the Hudson to New York Harbor, up the East River to Long Island Sound to Orient Point and then west into the Peconic Bay back to Mattituck. Easy!
To make sure we get home safely I have purchased the charts needed to cover the entire trip home. I have been going over them again and again, brushing up on my navigation skills. Over the winter we will continue studying knot tying and line handling to get ready for the many locks and docks where we will be berthed during the transit of the canal. I have already had people volunteer to be crew members for this undertaking and they will be gladly welcomed aboard.
This should be an awesome adventure!