Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Preparing for Season 06

- Page 30 -

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Chip Ahoy is loaded up, washed, waxed and almost ready to roll.  (May 31, 2006)

I spent much of the past two days just loading up all the tools, equipment, and amenities that go aboard for the sailing season; greasing the roller-furler, mounting the outboard, draining its gas tanks into the Blazer so I can start the season with fresh gas in the boat's two six-gallon tanks, and other finishing touches.

Today was the final cleaning and thorough washing down of the boat's topsides and hull -- polishing out last year's scratches (where'd they come from?) then waxing it.  I was hoping to trailer the boat down to Riverhead Beach tomorrow, step the mast, and begin rigging to launch the following day on Friday's high tide -- but we've got another spell of rain coming in tomorrow through Saturday, so all bets are off . . .  (May 31, 2006)

This latest monsoon bout is still ongoing, setting a new rainfall record for Mass.  Chip Ahoy is still parked out front yet to be launched.  (Jun. 10, 2006)

How wet has this record-breaking monsoon season of '06 been?  I've got a bed of huge mushrooms growing under Chip Ahoy -- something I've never seen before!  But it looks like we launch on Thursday at last.  (Jun. 19, 2006)

Today Wally Riddle ("Carpe Diem" - for sail) and I trailered Chip Ahoy over to the Riverhead Beach launch ramp and parking lot. Vaughn McGrath ("French Curves") met us there, and soon we had the mast up.  We ran into a few problems, such as bending a few of the threaded turnbuckle t-bolt toggles, and binding the adjustable backstay cable, during the big mast heave-ho when catching something seems almost inevitable despite the best pre-planning. I spent the remainder of the afternoon rigging the boat, still not quite satisfied in the end.  (Jun. 21, 2006 -- the first official day of Summer '06)

At 7:00 this morning I was back at the boat.  I replaced the bent turnbuckle t-bolt toggles and played around with the rigging until I got the roller-furler/forestay taut to where it ought to be, then further adjusted the shrouds. I brought aboard all the electronics and other portable things of value, and had Chip Ahoy ready to launch by 8:00 am. The weather was perfect, and Wally was on his way to back us in and launch. Pam Derringer showed up on time at 8:45 to act as official launch photographer and we were ready to go on high tide, at 9:15.  (Jun. 22, 2006)

We're rolling with Wally at the wheel and me finally back at the helm -- Sailing Season '06 is at last about to start happening!

Wally backed us down the ramp.

At last Chip Ahoy was again floating. I touched the ignition key -- a joy I'd been anticipating since rebuilding that carburetor, the outboard starting ever since almost by just thinking about it -- except this morning. It caught, sputtered, died -- then wouldn't start again. After numerous attempts -- choke, no choke, throttle, no throttle -- things that never mattered while parked in my yard -- after pulling the plugs and cleaning them -- after running out of alternatives ...

...ultimately, I had to swallow the bitter pill of defeat. It was not going to happen today. Of all the problems that could possibly have beset our efforts, this was the furthest on my radar screen. I couldn't wait to tap the ignition key and fire-up the motor! Wally pulled Chip Ahoy out and parked it again until I can get someone there to make the motor work.  You're looking at one very frustrated and pissed-off sailor -- if looks could kill.

Defeated, Chip Ahoy was trailered back to the parking lot and left for another tide, and to get the motor running. Larry, the outboard mechanic at Mobile Marine, insisted that I replace the gas -- he thinks it could be bad -- before he'll look at it.  So this afternoon I dumped the recently-fresh two six-gallon tanks into the Blazer and refilled them with premium Exxon, added new oil, and stowed them onboard this evening.  Tomorrow morning I'll drain the old gas from the carburetor and try starting it again. Maybe on tomorrow's 10:30 am tide?  But can the solution be that simple?  (Jun. 22, 2006)

It's never-ending ... but Sailing Season '06 has begun!


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