Got to the Marina just before dark. I had only seen a picture of Luke’s boat, Liberty. It was a beautiful 47ft sailboat from the late 80’s with wood trim and nice lines. We had some beers on the boat and crashed early.
The Captain showed up around nine the next morning. Luke had lashed the dinghy to the metal frame on the back of the boat trying to get it as high up off the water as possible for the trip south. I’m no expert, but it looked a little janky. The first thing Capt’n did was study this rig, silently, and for a long time. A really long time. “This is not going to work.” So we spent about half an hour securing it higher off the water with some limited success. But it looked good for now and we had to get going, so we fueled up and started heading south.
Out of the harbor we set sail and Liberty heeled over. Almost immediately the edge of the dinghy was hitting the water. Not too much, but clearly it would have to be addressed at some point, probably sooner rather than later. Not long after that the bilge alarm went off and didn’t shut up. Luke went below to investigate; pulling up floor boards to reveal a combination of diesel fuel and water. The bilge pump got it under control but we decided to pull into a harbor to fix the dingy and investigate the leaks further. We had only been on the water about five hours. An inauspicious start.
We got the dinghy up almost another foot higher. It wasn’t going anywhere, but looked a little crazy with ropes like a spider web lashing it down. As I manually pumped the bilge free of the diesel mix, Capt’n was calm, “it is a nice boat just have to work out the issues. No surprise being it hasn’t been used much in the past five years. Plus it goes.” Luke seemed confident, although a little dismayed. I personally love boat Liberty; it is fun, fast and reeks of diesel. And as Captain says, it goes.
We were off again. Set sail and blasted out of Portsmouth harbor, Maine as the sun set. The dinghy was now well out of the water. Got offshore and pointed south. The wind was westerly at 15 to 20 off the beam and in no time we were doing almost 9 knots. Then the manual bilge pump failed. Should I be worried? Wait! No! No!… I’m not worried about sh*t! I’m all in. Let’s go! Let’s go! It’s November in Maine and I’m freezing my butt off. North Carolina or Bust! It was on!