Once we finished fixing the various things that needed fixing, we could do what we planned to do in Norfolk. Nothing. The trip back was eventful and a bit more delightful than the trip down.
The fix list from the trip down was reviewed in "Running down to Norfolk." Here's a picture of Scout with the port tube sagging into the river.
Saturday we did more of the same. Nothing.
Then we did nothing at Field Guide up on Granby street. Then we went back to Starbucks for some afternoon nothing.
Then the Norfolk fireworks.
Seeing fireworks from river is an amazing thing. It's delightfully loud and close.
Seeing fireworks from the river with lots of other boats is a little nerve-wracking. Many folks have surprisingly casual approaches to anchoring.
We have a 55# Rocna anchor with about 100' of all-chain rode. We have a snubber at the waterline and a second snubber on deck. We like it to be quiet, and worry-free. We dragged once in Manatee Pocket, near Stuart, Florida. Never again.
We saw folks tossing in tiny Danforths with a scope (length or rode compared with depth) that looked like 2:1 at best. More scope allows the anchor to pull horizontally, digging into the bottom. Less scope is how you retrieve an anchor. At 1:1, the whole thing is "up-and-down" and a small tug will lift it out of the mud. We watched folks toss in a handful of line, hit reverse until they seemed to stop, and that was it. Of course, they were on their boat all day; not leaving it to go ashore.
The good news is that any of these smaller boats could drag into Red Ranger, and we could just shrug it off. All of the various big cruising sailboats that we watch out for were spread around the anchorage with lots of heavyweight ground tackle deployed. We've learned to judge the anchoring based on the tide swings. If you're closer to them on one tide than on the other, the scope is different and we may need to move.
Retrievals were actually more alarming. A lot of folks will pull up the anchor before starting the engine. We would watch them drifting by. He's in the front shouting "Yes, start it! Push the button!" I can't imagine who suggested pulling up the anchor before starting the engine.
We've had the anchor dug in so hard we've been forced to use the engine to knock it loose.
And, of course, Mr. Lehman needs time to warm up before you can apply any load. We don't go anywhere until the engine water temperature is 160°.
The return started at dawn. Breakfast, coffee, warm up Mr. Lehman, haul up the anchor, carefully hosing it down.
Red Ranger has a cool deck wash down system. We can switch some valves and use the bilge pump to wash the anchor chain. In "Yet More Pumps," I rebuild the valves to use heavier duty copper valves instead of the plastic valves that were in place. CA is now all trained up on how to turn her deck wash down station on and off. With the 90° turn metal valves, she can inspect the system safely even while the engine is running. That was uneventful.
Out in the Bay, Mr. Benmar had trouble holding his course. For a while. Then, after the 4th or 5th restart, he was happy to steer and drove us all the way to Deltaville without any gripes or complaints.
We can't — easily— inspect the hydraulic pump while the engine is running. It's nestled in the least-accessible part of the engine room. It's almost easier to take the head apart to get to it. I did pul the aft cabin settee apart to watch the steering work, just to convince myself that things were moving at all.
When the seas are flat, there's very little rudder motion required to maintain course. Small motions are accomplished with almost no noise from the pump. You can't really tell if things are working or not. In big seas, the pump groans — loudly — when making a big steering motion. The Bay was flat. Wind of perhaps 2-3 knots (from dead ahead, of course.)
I'm hoping that it's just the rusty old switch on the binnacle that needs replacing. Maybe I can add some LED's to show when the pump is being activated by the controller.
Also, the more CA looks at the little flakes of rust that come off the chain, the more she thinks this is the last year for this chain. We need to confirm the exact dimensions so that a new chain will properly feed through the gypsy on the windlass. We know folks who've switched chain without doing their homework and then spent a lot of time searching for a new gypsy for their perfectly good windlass.
The Simpson Lawrence manual lists six gypsies that were available. Which one do we have?
The delight was a sunny day running up the Bay. No wind isn't as nice as sailing, but it is much better than bashing into big waves from a big storm.