Needless to say it was a great day to relaunch the Far Reach after nearly 22 months on the hard. It was long complex project and I am glad it is behind us. She went into the water easily. I checked the seacocks and stuffing box. No leaks. We pulled her out of the slings and secured her alongside the dock. I started the engine and let it run about ten minutes. We shifted into forward and reverse to make sure the linkages were connected correctly. I rechecked the stuffing box and had a few drips. That’s what we wanted but I had nothing to compare it too.
We cast off and headed out into the ICW. The whole thing was a non issue. The engine was relatively quiet and very smooth. The boat tracked straight as an arrow. I checked the stuffing box. It was very warm. While Gayle steered I backed the nut off a bit and it cooled right down. We got a few more drips. During the engine installation I fabricated and installed a drip catch which I plumed with a clear 1/4″ hose to a gallon jug in the bilge as I wanted to keep the bilge dry and also to track the flow of water. After about 30 nm of motoring over the next week we collected about 2/3s of a gallon of water. The stuffing box is absolutely cool. I think I can tighten it a small amount and it will be perfect. To do that though I want to fabricate wrenches that allow me to more easily adjust the nuts as it is difficult using adjustable wrenches in the small space.
Back to launch day–After we motored about 7 miles we anchored for the night at the head of Adams Creek to enjoy being back on the boat. Next morning, we weighed anchor early and I spent about 30 minutes maneuvering the boat and getting a feel for how she handled. No issues in forward and she responded to the helm easily as long as we were moving forward. There is no thrusting from a dead stop against the rudder to force the stern one way or the other because the prop is behind the rudder. I will have to always allow for that fact. In reverse there is some prop walk to port which is useful. I was able to steer backward left and right but only in a light breeze and it takes a bit to get her going one direction then the other. Not great but manageable. Probably a little better than what I expected. My sense is it is all worth it for the efficiency we will have under sail with a folding propeller and no aperture. I also think I will learn her ways over time and find I can do a lot more with her under power in tight spots.
At max throttle we were only able to attain 3000 RPM which is 600 RPM less than we should be able to achieve. We are clearly over pitched. We will deal with it later.
We made it into the slip without issue. The boat seemed to stop quickly in about 1/3 of a boat length. Over all I am very pleased. The engine had a reassuring but low rumble. Very solid. Even though it was a hot two days the engine compartment temperature seemed reasonable and well ventilated. The transmission shifted smoothly. The next task is to get the pitch correct.