Thurdsay, August 18th

After another great sunset in Eastport, We got back underway again this morning.
Eastport Sunset

I’d already checked the engines and transmissions twice by the time we rounded West Quoddy Head, the most Easterly point in the continental US (East Quoddy Head is in Canada.)
West Quoddy Head Light

For the 37 miles to Roque Island, the transmissions performed flawlessly.

Eastport is still in the Bay of Fundy, with 20-foot tides typical, along with the associated currents.
Eastport dock near Low Tide

With help from a local charter captain that Dean knew, we’d timed the currents just right. We flew through Lubec Narrows and had between a one- and two-knot boost most of the way West along the coast, occasionally more.

The late start also put us offshore when the typical 10-15 knot Southwest wind kicked up mid-day. There were some bumpy spots where the current, running the other way, was strongest. Since the full moon was yesterday, the tides and tidal currents were at maximum. Also, the high tides break a lot of debris free from the shoreline. We passed a number of large logs and quite a few smaller boards and other things we’d rather not hit. Not to mention we’re back in Maine and are now dodging lobster buoys again.

Although it wasn’t an unusually long day, we were glad to get to the anchorage at Roque Island. This photo shows only a portion of the long, sandy beach. We’re at the far West end of the beach, where there’s likely to be better protection from the Soutwest winds.
Roque Island Beach

That white stick at the far right is a second sailboat at anchor, and there’s another power boat to the left of the one in the foreground. Two other sailboats have just arrived. A smaller cove on the way in held two other power boats. The harbor at Cutler, which we passed, looked full with a number of sailboats and what looked from a distance like recreation power boats, not fishing boats. It looks like cruising along the Maine coast is picking up. It’s been quite a few years since we’ve seen this much recreational traffic East of the Schoodic Peninsula.

  • Miles traveled: 2036
  • Engine Hours: 290.6

Back in the Water

Wednesday, August 17th

There was some shuffling of boats around the yard at Moose Island today, as two boats went in and one came out.
TravelLift Launching the First Boat

The TravelLift came for Cygnus last, since we still had a few more steps that needed to be performed.
TravelLift Starting Out with Cygnus

Then, down to the water!
Down to the Water

And back in…
Back in the Water

After some testing at the dock, a brief sea trial and some final adjustments, everything seems to be performing perfectly.

With last night’s stormy weather still subsiding, and about six hours of travel time to our next destination, we’ve decided to stay at the dock overnight. Looking at the tides, tomorrow’s departure will be a late one, to avoid the flood current at Lubec Narrows, which can run up to several knots against us.

Some of the crew is happy about this schedule. We’ll see if that’s still the case if the afternoon southwesterlies kick up.

Ready to Splash!

Tuesday, August 16th

Today the shaft and engine were aligned and the new flexible coupling installed.
Installation Complete

It looks like our time at Moose Island Marine will be coming to an end with tomorrow’s high tide.
Boatyard at Moose Island Marine

We’re looking forward to getting back underway, even with a less-than-ideal weather forecast for tomorrow.

It looks like we’ll be in the water around mid-day, and there will be some final adjustments and a sea trial after that. We may be underway Wednesday, or possibly first thing Thursday.

Weather permitting, our goal is to get to Roque Island, a world-class anchorage reminiscent of a tropical island.

Roque Island in 2011:
Roque Island 2011

However, there are other options along the coast and as always, we’ll decide on our destination based on the conditions we encounter.

In with the New

Monday, August 15th

New parts, including the new, blue reduction gear went in today:
New Reduction Gear

After some prep work, the damper plate and bell housing went on in the morning, and the gear was lifted aboard. After lunch the gear was manhandled into place, attached and filled with fluid. The newly built flexible coupling arrived while that installation was in progress. The starter was re-attached and the motor was lowered back down on the motor mounts.

Through some quirk of the ether, we’re able to pick up an occasional, weak cell phone signal here now.

This is a shot with the temporary coupling installed, ready for alignment:
New Gear and Temporary Coupling

The last step tomorrow morning will be completing the alignment and re-installing the flexible coupling.

On the Road Again…

Sunday, August 14th

The lawn is mowed, yard work is all done, laundry is clean, some minor home repairs complete, provisions have been purchased, and visiting with friends and family was nice.

It’s time to get back to the boat!

We’re driving up today with the new reduction gear. The rest of the parts should already be at the shop. The boatyard has completed flushing the old transmission cooler and verifying the shaft is not out of spec. Tomorrow the re-install and re-alignment should begin.

We already know there’s no internet or cell service at the boatyard, nor probably at our next stop. We’ll keep the InReach track current and post again when we’re farther down the coast.

Parts, rebuilt and new

Tuesday, August 9th

We picked up the rebuilt transmission today and left the old one.
New Transmission

The original plan was to haul it up to Eastport to get everything re-installed as quickly as possible.

One snag: The flexible drive coupling that goes between the shaft and transmission wasn’t in stock at the manufacturer’s shop in Florida. They’re making it now, and will ship it tomorrow.

Assuming it won’t arrive until late Thursday or early Friday, the crew at the boatyard will be going home for the weekend before the job can be completed.

In other words, if we drive up there now we’ll be sleeping on the boat, in the boatyard, until at least Monday.

Barring some miracle that gets the part to the shop by Thursday, we’ll be extending our stay back home until the weekend.

Interesting tidbit: Note that the new transmission, which is technically called a “reduction gear”, is blue. The rebuild shop knew we had Perkins engines, and Perkins engines came from the factory painted blue. So it was a nice touch, painting it to match the engines.

However, some previous owner apparently decided they didn’t like blue engines, and re-painted ours white.

Fortunately, where these things live, there’s not much need for everything to match.

Highways and Timing

Sunday, August 7th

The transmission, and crew, are back in Southern Maine, nearly 300 miles from Cygnus.

The trip from Eastport took us along “The Airline“, the famous stretch of Maine’s East-West Route 9 from Calais to Brewer. It’s actually a scenic ride, and gives a real sense of the “Other” Maine for those of us who live in what some consider suburban Boston.

The transmission shop in Massachusetts will start pulling together the rebuilt transmission tomorrow, and when all the parts are ready we’ll swap them for ours, which will go into the shop’s inventory for a future rebuild. This is the quickest way to ensure a good, reliable replacement. We’re working on our options for getting parts and crew all back to Cygnus.

Although it’s certainly nothing we would have wished for, the timing of this breakdown was uncannily fortunate.

We’d just re-entered Maine, instead of stopping at a small port in Nova Scotia or, worse yet, the island of Grand Manan. I’m quite sure the fishing fleet in those locations has options when a transmission fails, but access to a shop that specializes in rebuilding several of these specific model transmissions every day surely cut the time frame for the repair way down.

Eastport is also home to a boatyard owned by our new friend Dean, who seems like an exceptionally honest and knowledgeable guy, along with two of his workers, Matt and Brian, who are both very skilled and work well together as a team.

We got back home just in time for a family gathering to celebrate a birthday and a milestone anniversary, and got an unexpected chance to spend time with everyone here.

The loop adventure will continue, but in the meantime we’re able to get some chores done around the house, re-provision and get a well-needed haircut. And, we have both cell service AND high-speed internet connectivity!

Note: I’ve gone back and added some photos to the two previous posts. See the “Previous” link, below, to check them out.

Status Update

Thursday, August 4

We’re at the Moose Island Shipyard in Eastport. It looks like the port transmission will have to come out for a rebuild.
Dock at Moose Island Marine

The mechanic is calling to get an idea as to how long this is going to take. Then we will need to figure out where we stay while waiting.

The Joys of boat ownership!

Update: we’re hauling Cygnus at high tide. The shop will remove the transmission tomorrow and we’re bringing it to York by car this weekend with the owner of the shop, who’s going that way anyway. From there we will drive it to the rebuild shop in Mass ourselves.

There, we’ll pick up a Rebuilt unit and drop off our old one, then drive it back up to be reinstalled. Possibly by the middle of next week.

With luck we could be back underway in a week. And we are overdue for some good luck.

Update, Friday August 5th:

The haul-out and transmission removal was completed successfully.

Up in slings on the travellift:
Up in the travel lift

Off to the yard:
Off to the yard

Out with the old!
Out with the old

Back in Maine, but…

Wednesday, August 3rd

We’re in Lubec, Maine today. No Wi-Fi, no US cell service. I’m posting this on Thursday with the last of my Canadian cell phone data plan. With the cell phone booster on the flybridge, I can just barely get a signal from the Canadian side.

We left Yarmouth with plans to go 35 miles to Tiverton, which is South of Digby, NS. From there it would be an easy crossing to Grand Manan, and from the South end of the island we could hit the Maine coast somewhere North of Mount Desert Island.
Leaving Grand Manan

The weather was perfect, and the Bay of Fundy tidal currents were in our favor. We decided to skip Tiverton and head straight for Seal Cove, the Southern tip of Grand Manan. We’d read that there are new floating docks there, and heard good things.
Crossing the Bay of Fundy

Along the way, we finally saw some humbpack whales, and the seas remained calm.

When we got close enough to call, we found out that the other two harbors on Grand Manan are being dredged and the wharves and docks rebuilt. All the boats on the island are now packed into Seal Cove.

At this point we had no choice but to head North for the closest large Maine port, Eastport. We had no idea when we’d arrive, since we were now fighting a current of up to 3 knots.
Current off Grand Manan

We also knew that the docks at Lubec, which is a little closer than Eastport, had been recently destroyed in a storm, and hadn’t been rebuilt as of last year.

At Eastport we secured at the Fuel Depot and Chowder House, a place we’d stayed before. However, when we tried to call customs to clear back in to the States, the Eastport office had closed for the day and the 24-hour office in Lubec wasn’t staffed to send someone out. They recommended we motor back to Lubec. Apparently a few floats have been repaired, and although overnight docking isn’t normally allowed, it would be OK for one night to allow us to clear in.

As we approached the dock at Lubec, the port transmission wouldn’t engage in reverse. Or, after that, in forward.

We changed our approach and managed to get secured on one engine. On a twin-engine boat, maneuvering on one engine is difficult at best. It’s only possible to back up to one side, pivoting the boat in the process. Turning in forward is also more difficult.

We cleared customs, and one of the agents gave us the name of a local marine mechanic shop. We’ll have to wait until 8 AM to call, and we’ve already heard from one local that they might not do this kind of work, anyway.

  • Miles traveled: 1993
  • Engine Hours: 284.0

Yarmouth Day 2

Tuesday, August 2nd

Day two in Yarmouth, just taking it easy. Although Yarmouth is a bit bigger than many other Nova Scotia ports, it’s still a working harbor. There are lots of large fishing boats coming and going, and a huge ice plant a couple of blocks down from our dock.

We’re starting to see the famous Bay of Fundy tides, which can range up to 15 feet here. We’re on a floating dock, which makes tying up easier, but the fishing wharves don’t usually have floats. This photo was taken a couple of hours before low tide:
Yarmouth Fishing Wharf

This is also where “The Cat” ferry from Portland, Maine stops overnight. She leaves Portland at around 2:30 PM and arrives here around 8 PM.
Cat Arriving in Yarmouth

The Cat got underway around 8 AM. If we could sneak a tow line onto her, we could be back in Portland by 1:30 PM!
Cat Getting Underway

We hope to leave before The Cat tomorrow, on our way to Tiverton.

Until then, you can see Cygnus live on the Killam’s Wharf Web Cam.
Cygnus at Killam's Wharf