At last, we’re underway again! If you felt the tremor in New York City on Wednesday it was the huge sigh of relief we all let out when the engine finally started to work – and continue to work reliably for a period of time. And it was not just Steve and I – the sighs of relief came from Mike Lockwood at Lockwood Boat Works as well as the service team at Mack Boring who had been desperately trying to resolve our issue. We had started to research alternate options if we had to haul the boat and winterize it here in New Jersey….and even started getting used to the idea that we might be going back home for a bit to see the kids and our darling granddaughter Mia.

Meet problem child Frankie!

We always knew we couldn’t direct the wind. We knew we needed to constantly adjust our sails. Spending three weeks ‘up the creek’ in South Amboy, New Jersey with engine problems was certainly unexpected and out of our control. A big adjustment….no sailing at all for a month! We just could not believe that seven long years of planning and preparation for this trip, and all the money we have invested in getting the boat really ready for an offshore trip with the Caribbean 1500, would end this way. Luckily for us, that is not he case. We left Lockwoods today, crossed Raritan Bay, and are currently anchored just behind the breakwater at Atlantic Highland. We hope to be in the Chesapeake by early next week and in Hampton by the end of the month.

Steve servicing winches on the dock

Meanwhile we made productive use of our time on a dock. We were able to:

  • Fix the leaky head using the replacement head kit
  • Remove the broken macerator pump and replace with a new one
  • Fix the fridge door, which needed to be glued and clamped
  • Service all the winches
  • Install a preventer for the main sail, with Jeff’s help,
  • Climb the mast to attach the mended back stays for the staysail
  • Replace the sticky bow roller
  • Get spare bulbs for our nav lights
  • Replace our faulty battery combiner
  • Replace the charge monitor
  • Send off our Man Overboard Module for servicing
  • Clean the canvas (bimini dodger)
  • Get GPS puck working with MacENC on Macbook
  • Get instruments integrated with MacENC on Macbook
  • Clean out all the food storage areas, reorganize and repack
  • Replace the couplers in the fridge compressor/pump – anyone who has slept in our aft berth will appreciate this more than anything as the fridge/freezer is MUCH quieter now
  • Remove the faulty wi-fi antenna to return under warranty
  • Drill holes in softwood plugs and tie the right sized plugs near each thru-hull fitting on the boat

We re-provisioned, did laundry (including bedding), filled out propane tank, got haircuts, defrosted the fridge and freezer, cleaned the boat and put a coat of UV protection on the windows.

Annapolis Boat Show

We rented a car one weekend and drove to Annapolis – a great respite for us. We attended two parties, stayed in a hotel one night (never underestimate the power of a hot bath to improve my mood), enjoyed the ocean cruising forum we had previously registered for, spent a day at the boat show, and met up with a bunch of friends from our yacht club in Toronto, most of whom were also transient cruisers, having come down the Hudson on their way south.

Steve reading in the cockpit in the evening

We read books, went through the bulky Caribbean 1500 Rally Manual, and watched DVD’s including  two seasons of ‘Downton Abbey’ while on the dock – a very rare and enjoyable experience for us. We were up early each day, or we risked being rudely awoken by the noisy boat-lift next to us when the boat yard came alive at 7:30 am each morning. But it was quiet at the boatyard in the evenings – we could sit in the cockpit, watch the egrets in the reeds, and the fish jumping in the creek.

Mike Lockwood fixing Frankie, the engine

The people at Lockwoods were really great, and that made our stay not just tolerable, but enjoyable. One weekend Mike brought us fresh albacore tuna – 5 good-sized steaks and a bag of fresh steamed tuna, with celery and fresh buns, for making tuna salad sandwiches. Delicious! Today he brought us fresh bagels and lox for breakfast, as well as some ice for the fridge, and lures for my fishing tackle.  So other than the worry of whether or not we will have a working engine in time for the trip, it has been a pleasant and productive interlude on our cruising itinerary.

To top it all, we met Dave here. His sailboat was towed in a few days after ours. He had been single-handling it from Rhode Island to Florida on his 34′ boat when his 1966 Atomic 4 engine started playing up. He decided to haul it here for the winter. We struck up a friendship and commiserated about engine problems….and he offered to crew for us to help us make up lost time when we got going, to ensure we reached Hampton in time.

Lockwood Boat Works

We are ready and anxious to move on, cruise up the Chesapeake and get to Hampton in time for rally preparations. After all of this, we hope that our engine, Frankie, has a healthy life ahead for the rest of our journey. It will take time – we need an extended period of smooth running before we really trust him again.


View our photo journal for October 1-18.