Nine days ago, we were towed into port with a dead motor. Today we are in our second hotel and on our third rental car. Henri has come and gone, leaving western Long Island Sound unscathed save for a few trees and lots of rain. Eastern LI Sound and Rhode Island were different stories, near hurricane strength winds, tidal surge, and rain. If all had gone according to plan, we would have spent most of last week looking for options to avoid the storm. Instead, we spent the week trying to solve the transmission problem.

In the last post I noted that we had found a transmission. Well that was almost correct. More accurately stated, we learned a direct replacement was no longer available or being built, however, we were able to identify a suitable alternative. There was a twist. This new transmission came in two flavors, one with a 2.1:1 gear ration and in a 2.6:1, neither matched the existing 2.45:1 gear ratio. Which one to choose?

We reached out to Rick Neary at East Coast Marine Transmission and PYI. Gear ratios are important because the angle of the prop blades must match the motor and the gear ratio. Both agreed the 2.6:1 ratio was the better choice and the prop from PYI could be adjusted to suit the new transmission. Great!

Or maybe not. The transmission was ordered by week’s end. The lead time to actually get the transmission was “pending.” Back to square one. Scouring the internet (what else is there to do during a tropical storm?) one transmission was located on eBay from a supplier in Washington. A check with Rick Neary—a guy I trust in these matters—on the reputation of the eBay dealer and confirmation from the Hinckley Service Manager that they would install the transmission I provided and the order was placed on eBay.

Then the text message arrived, Chase had declined my purchase. It seems the fraud algorithm thought it unusual for me to be spending a lot of money in Connecticut and suddenly to spend a lot of money in Washington. A quick text back confirming that I had placed the order resolved the issue. Shortly afterwards I received the Fed Ex tracking numbers. Now we wait some more.

While we wait, we have not been completely idle. Earlier in the week we made a pilgrimage to Defender Industriespurchasing a few other replacement parts and some bottom paint to repair the damage caused by debris on the Erie Canal. On the way “home” a stop at the Stony Creek Brewery satisfied our thirst and caloric needs.

Susan found the Weir Farm National Historical Park where we spent a pleasant few hours learning the history and walking in the woods. It is the only, or one of the only, National Historic Parks dedicated to the arts. Julian Alden Weir was an influential impressionist who painted landscapes, many of which were on this site. Good find Susan!

Over the hurricane weekend we changed hotels. Initially we stayed at a hotel near the marina, as the week wore on it was apparent, we would be here longer. On Sunday as Henri was making landfall in Rhode Island, Susan and I left Norwalk in our bright orange Dodge Challenger for Stratford and an extended stay hotel. The small kitchen and separate bedroom would be a more pleasant place to stay and help reduce our food costs. On the way to the new hotel we enjoyed travelling on wet but traffic free roads, a unique experience here in the metro area.

About that orange Dodge, the first car we rented was allegedly a smoke-free care. It was not. The residual smoke was quite apparent and quite unacceptable. The rental company accommodated us and upgraded the car from a Toyota to this Dodge. Yes, this was the car for a couple of aging baby-boomers, at least it was easy to find in the parking lot. In another time, in another place this would have been a fun car to drive.

Speaking of driving, the traffic here is a good reminder of why I left the NY Metro area some 50 years ago. The traffic and crowding were bad then, they haven’t gotten any better. We were surprised by how rural Connecticut is, once away from the I-95 corridor roads are tree-lined and pleasant to drive. The number of trees lining the roads with power lines threaded through the branches explained the state’s concern about Henri and power outages. The hotel parking lot was filled with linesman trucks, in our hotel there were crews from Plattsburg, NY.

Throughout the last week Susan and I have debated on returning home until we can sail (motor) again. In the balance was the expense of living in hotels (racking up those loyalty points!) versus returning home for a while and the sense of surrender that would entail. The FedEx tracking number for the transmission made that decision for us. We’re staying here, near the boat, ready to journey on.

Susan has an important extended family event next week in New Hampshire. When she returns Second Star should be ready to sail(motor) again.

 

We’ll keep you posted.