Final work completed, checkride and slip update

Finally - we have a slip!

RollingViewMarina satellite-view-web-med

We’d worked out the slip - orignally I was put into a decent slip, but considering the wider beam of my boat, and my newbie-ness at manuevering into relatively tight places on a heavier-than-I’ve piloted boat, I’ve got to honest - I was a bit nervous. I became more nervous when I saw my ‘slip-mate’ was also a relatively wide boat.

The marina looks like this with the bigger boats all closer in to the parking lot, but each ‘U’ has two boats next to each other between the slip fingers

My immediate first hope

was of course one of the slips on the southern portion - pretty much in and out, verus the long, seemingly-to-me narrow channel in and our of each section, then going 90* to get into the slip.  I’m sure it’s not bad and undoubtedly I’ll adjust, but you don’t need to zoom in to see a few of the boats are pretty close to each other.  This isn’t a problem when tied up into the slip properly, but I was and remain a bit concerned about getting her in and out until I better know my way around her.  

Andy at the marina was really good about it, and we were able to swap around from the first slip available so I’m now in a slightly wider one (I’ll take it!), with another few feet between boats.  It’s not a huge amount, but does make me feel a bit better, as beyond the $ cost were something to happen, the last thing I want to do is to tap someone else’s boat!

I knew I wouldn’t have the boat immediately, so was able to start paying on the slip a bit later in May.  I’m still happy about it all, as at one point it seemed to be in question of whether I’d wind up with the boat ready to go with literally nowhere to put her!  I still don’t have an appropriate truck to haul her myself, and while I do have a friend I could likely borrow a truck from occasionally, it just wouldn’t matter much with no chance of pulling a trailer in and out of our crazy driveway.  

So we’ve been playing a bit week by week, but wanting the boat to be solid and ready for fun over being rushed withsurprises to come as a result.

Meanwhile, with my broker and mechanic...

I had a few conversations with both Justin(broker) and Kevin(mecahnic).  Kevin was pretty helpful, although also apparently underwater with tons of work. They had a separate HVAC guy as the only one else touching the boat, and were working to schedule that work to get done. The batteries in the boat were questionable as it was previously needing jumps and they were a few years old.  The trailer tires were ok but had lost some air - went ahead and asked to just swap out all tires if need be, and replace the batteries.

Some of the boat’s guages were inop, primarily the tach and the trim tab indicator, and we’d originally thought the fuel gauge. Kevin said we could spend $ on the trim tab leveler, but the sensors or wiring (he told me which,I just forget) tend to go bad fairly quickly, while I’d adjust to piloting the boat without it, so in short - don’t waste the money on chasing that. Makes sense, and I always appreciate not wasting $.. :) He was able to get all of the lights working, repaired some wiring for the bilge switch, found a kinked coolant hose to the stern drive, which sounded like the prior mechanic basically screwed up as it’s held in place by a locking clamp insert, which may have been overtightened to rotate and kink the hose as a result.. He did a tuneup, impeller (it had been done maybe 18 months prior, but also sat a bit, so better to get ‘er done..), and let me know he was able to get the stern light working, but it was a non-regulation length pole (this one is removable and goes into a socket).

We talked about the gauges a bit. Seems like the SeaRay tachs tend to go out, and considering the age, it’s not entirely unexpected. I told him to hold off messing with it, and I’ll do a full gauge set once I sort how/where/from who etc.  

She might be ready this weekend..until we hit a snag

We got down to ‘possibly this weekend’ and were going to do a final check ride on Sat, delivery on Sunday as the original plan. We had a bit of a derail, as Kevin was doing the final run-through and went to re-check end-to-end, flipped the (now new) HVAC on, and got nothing on the panel. This was the one thing not done by Kevin or Justin, and I already had a kind of surprising bill on the HVAC at over $1K. It’s possible I’m in the wrong business and should have stayed doing remodeling and plumbing… turns out it was the sea pump, which really annoyed me, as now I’m wondering how the HVAC guy properly checked the system out in the first place.

We were out of luck as while I could take delivery of her and I could do the sea pump myself, I really wanted the HVAC guy to prove everything was working. I trust Kevin on the rest of it, so we decided let’s go ahead and drive out (~3 hours) and do the final checkup and sea trial minus HVAC, and get the sea pump in the following week for more flexible delivery options, as it was going to either be Justin or one of Kevin’s guys doing it and time is not always easily available.

Going for the final checkride

BoatDoneNoTrailer med-web

I’ve got to say, during the COVID shutdowns, except for an occasional trip to the marina to ‘look at our slip,’(and the lake, and the boats, etc.. ;) ) we’ve really been pretty much on lockdown.

I normally despise driving on straight, boring highways, but the weather was perfect, the top was down, and I managed to not even care about being on the highway for a good portion of the drive out there.  We met up with Kevin at the shop, gave the ‘COVID handshake’ from 6’+ away, and went to check her out.

In general, Kevin said she’s running great, and some of the things that usually go wrong on these boats are fine on this one, with a few minor oddballs on the flipside, like the kinked coolant hose. Turns out the voltage guage is a bit whacked, going to full right pegged needle once running, but seemingly normal when the power is on pre-start. Not going to worry about that one.

We were pretty tempted to drive her home, but decided we just weren’t very well equipped to do so.. ;)

We got her out to the lake

and got her gassed up a bit.  It’s very cool on a bigger lake with attended pumps, and went for a cruise. The boat ran perfectly. I’ve still got to sort how to properly trim her up, but Kevin gave me a few pointers and I’m sure I’ll get used to it. She would happily cruise along anywhere between 10-40+MPH. Water was a bit choppy, but the boat was very stable, and just overall very nice.

I know Kevin has at least another 5 or so ‘bigger’ boat projects going on, so didn’t want to take up too much of his time, but we were having fun so wound up on a pretty great joy ride/shakeout cruise. Zero issues, and really - I just can’t recommend Kevin enough. Thanks man, appreciate it!

Boat registration and arranging delivery

I was completely fearing this as the equivalent of NC automotive DMV, or worse, like a Time Warner or Spectrum office. We went to one of the bigger dealers down the road, walked in, and were done in like 10 minutes. That was unexpected in a pleasant way. :)

While we were there, we picked up a few dock lines as I only saw a bow line on the boat, although I didn’t go through everything end to end as the carpets were snapped out along with the rear seating removed for ease of access, etc.

Agreed to have one of Justin’s guys do a wash on her, as she needed it, and I wouldn’t be pulling her in and out of the water, hopefully, any time soon after we splashed her in my marina.

One thing was interesting - on the few times we’ve ventured out or gone for a drive, locally we’ve seen a pretty good number of masks, but there were virtually none at Lake Norman, from the registration boat dealer to the pump attendant. It’s their perogative, but I figure it’s not just about you, but also anyone else you may come into contact with, so while yes, masks (and hand sanitizer, and rags to open or touch things, and/or gloves) are kind of annoying - we’re staying on the safe side of things as much as possible.

Found a nice bonus!

While we were inside the boat back at this shop, we found a folder.  Both Kevin and I thought it might be the prior owners photo album with his grand-kids, but nope - it was all the original paperwork, including mercruiser maintenance manual, Norcold refrigerator manual, etc. and a good chunk of maintenance records, some of which I hadn’t seen before. I also found out the prior owner was in fact the original owner of the boat, which was interesting as it was an AZ manufactured boat so I had assumed he was the second or third owner. Nice!

At this point it was time to head home for now.  The temperatures had heated up for the drive back a bit, and I think my wife hit her ‘getting a bit cranky in heat’ mode, while I started to remember highway driving being annoying, but all it all, a pretty nice day and day trip. Now to figure out when we can get her home!