The first voyage down river was practice. We had never been into Elochoman Marina, and since we were hosting the SIYC cruise-in for June there, (Gabrielle was appointed Vice Commodore of the club this month) thought we should know something about the place.
However, getting there was a challenge. You see, there’s this thing called... Maintenance.
Every boat needs maintenance, of course. Systems wear out. Bolts and belts come loose. These are day to day projects, or what one marine agent calls “hour a day boats.”
One can defer maintenance for a day or two, but at the end of the week, there are still 7 hours of maintenance due the boat.
This was something entirely different from boat ‘restoration’ which is rebuilding and updating structures.
In our hours and hours of effort to make Moony structurally sound and beautiful again, we had neglected the regular maintenance she needed to keep her running.
We discovered this first time out going down the Channel when Moontide overheated, blew a radiator cap, the windlass failed, the alternator stopped working, and the raw water pump started leaking.
Embarrassed, and somewhat disheartened, we stumbled back home to Pirates Cove to figure out how long it would take to make repairs, and worse, how much it was all going to cost.
Fortunately, repairs truly were maintenance issues and easier to complete than we feared. And (with a little help from our friends -- thanks Larry and Dar!) we were able to cast off again without incurring too big a bite from our limited cruising kitty.
Lessons learned: Check your engine periodically for bolts and belts that can come loose with vibration. Keep your house and engine battery posts clean and fittings securely tightened to them. and make sure the radiator cap is the right one for your engine.
Aside from that, cruising on the Columbia was fun. We anchored in a different spot each night, and despite the occasional rain squall, rested comfortably wherever we stopped. So far, so good!\