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Sunday 18th March 2007 Kyle - Weekend Visit to the boat for us both

We were secretly hoping that PCI might have the boat done on Friday (16th) or at least be close enough to know for sure that they would be done the following Monday (19th), so we spent much of late last week waiting for a call, anticipating perhaps an imminent hand over. Friday turned out to be a very miserable and rainy day - so it was not likely that PCI would do much work on the boat, and also the forecast was for a very cold weekend, so we suspected they would not have de-winterized the boat and checked any systems. Once Friday afternoon passed, however, it became apparent that the hand over was not going to be any earlier than Tuesday (and even then this may be optimistic), so we decided to go up on Sunday since we were pretty sure that there was no chance we would have to go back the next day. And of course, we wanted to see the boat.

When we got to the factory, we were relieved to find we had the entire place to ourselves (Tony is right - it does feel weird to have people looking over your shoulder when you are trying to do something). The most noticeable thing about the boat once we could see it was the new wind generator (oh, yeah, and the mast and sails were also now on the boat). The wind generator was spinning away, and when I opened the door to the car (parked right next to the boat) I was proud to confirm we could not hear it; wind generators are notoriously noisy (disturbing the peace of neighbors) and we had deliberately one of the quietest models made, shipping it from the UK.

About an hour before we got to the boat, we both realized that neither of us had any keys. The boat was usually unlocked, and keys at the panel, so we were not too concerned, and we continued on. Once we got on the boat, we realized that we actually were locked out, and could not find any keys anywhere - remember too the factory was deserted. We checked to see how the heating exhaust hole was sealed in the cockpit locker - it had been done very nicely. Searching for keys gave us more time to listen to the wind generator, which can barely be heard over the wind itself. Luckily for us, just then, Peter Kennedy drove up and let us in (we had arranged to meet with Peter to go over his installed systems).

We were then able to retrieve all the spare keys that we had left just-inside the door. The inside of the boat looked completely different from what we have been seeing of late; Peter had finished the work and removed all of the drop cloths, all the panels and cushions were in place, and once again, for the first time since the day of the big check, it looked like an actual boat inside, with places to sit, and write and talk to each other.

Peter immediately went into turning on the various systems he had installed and taking us through a quick orientation of them. As always he was very patient and helpful. I kept thinking, "Gee, not only is this a nice boat, but it also turns out to be a pretty well equipped boat". I alternated between amazement at all the fine and useful cruising gear we had installed, and intimidation at all there was to learn about it. This in addition to realizing that every aspect of our boating and home lives was going to have to be re-leaned. How many steps from the kitchen to the bathroom, how far to duck to get under that door sill etc. The trip down to Norfolk will feel like the drinking from a fire hose part of the learning curve. Peter then excused himself and left us to our boat.

We then decided to try out our other big purchase - the heat! We were lucky enough to have a very cold day to test on (the boat was still covered with ice from the weekend snow). We fired up the system and after a couple of minutes, nice hot air was coming out of the vents. Maryanne was very happy, our marriage was saved. And, according to our nifty new battery monitor, the electrical current draw was reasonable, particularly once the desired cabin temperature was reached (after about 15 minutes). Eventually I even got too hot, and turned the thing off (although to be fair, I was dressed for the outdoors).

The battery monitor is like television for cruisers - when you live on battery power it is addictive to watch that thing and see how much current everything is drawing, or putting in. We found ourselves both looking over at it when there was a gust, to see how much the wind generator output was helping. Luckily it was not put anywhere that it might be a distraction from the helm! We took a break for lunch at the Mexican Cafe (again), we had forgotten to eat that day so far and were starving, so it was especially tasty.

Back at the boat we tore into a list of items on our check-lists, crawling over the boat making sure that everything was installed, and worked correctly, with the exception of anything that PCI had not finished with yet. We found everything to be in good order. I went up on deck to do most of the outside checks in the freezing cold wind, while Maryanne stayed inside the boat in the heat, tidying up and getting things out of the way for the PCI crew. I got a look at the PCI commissioning check list (left on the Nav. Station) and from that, and our poking around, it appeared they only had a few loose ends to tie up and a good cleaning before they would be finished. (Solar panel, mast wiring terminals, and a few little things were still to be installed, testing and filling the water tanks, little jobs). Peter Kennedy told us they had the engine running at the Friday before and we could see it had so far acquired 0.15 hours of operating time. Peter Kennedy also has just a couple of little jobs - fitting the transducer into the newly caulked box he had prepared for it, and fitting the hawse pipe that was with Kato being adjusted. So now our secret hope is to be able to leave next weekend - preferably on Thursday - the weather is expected to be warm and sunny with light head winds - but this would mean we would need to hear from PCI soon, and have the test sail Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest (and have Peter Kennedy complete his work by then too).. but that does not stop us hoping.

Sailing home in light head winds will probably require Maryanne and I to do it in one leg, alternating 6 hour watches for 2-3 days (we have done this before at sea). This should be plenty of time to get used to the new boat! Maryanne has already prepared a menu with a long trip in mind, and we have already loaded the car with practically everything we need, and have a list of the remaining items - so if we get notice, we will not need too much lead time to set off and go. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

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