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Re-Launch Preparations

Saturday, November 18

Position: Ocean Marine Yacht Center in Portsmouth, VA

It is Saturday, November 18, and the yard crew is putting on the first full coat of bottom paint now.

Meanwhile, Pride’s crew is prepping the topside planking for a full and final coat of black paint in a day or two.

Engineering work continues on reassembling inside systems to be made ready for re-launching and use while the ship is afloat.

The clock keeps ticking. Time slides by. Forward progress continues, but always there is the loom of deadlines previously and abstractly created. Often forced to be adjusted when rate of anticipated progress is challenged by reality. Or weather interrupts, or threatens to interrupt.

The original plan had Pride back in her home port ahead of Thanksgiving Day. The first knock was the delay of actual lift out of the water. Six days. The yard was congested with other vessel movements into and out of the water. Then, a bit of good fortune occurred when the caulkers took half the speculated time they would be working. A well-built vessel, some 29-years old, turned out not to require as much reinforcement caulking as first imagined considering years of pretty active sailing. This reduction of time needed by the caulkers encouraged some hope that Pride could yet still get back home by Thanksgiving Day.

But now I think not. Seems today’s long-range wind forecast is anticipating pretty strong headwinds in the lower Chesapeake Bay middle to late next week. Even if relaunching can occur this coming Tuesday, the importance to permit time for underwater planks to swell again will mean departure for home port Baltimore won’t be possible till late Wednesday at the earliest. If the wind forecast is even a little bit correct, the lower bay is likely to be a bit rough starting late Wednesday. It is best to avoid such sea conditions so soon after the good and diligent work by crew and caulkers.

So how long might this wind delay be? Somewhat aggravatingly, it could be till next Saturday, meaning a return to Baltimore 24 hours later: the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Such a delay could be quite beneficial to preserving the underwater work that has been accomplished (another example of how plans can evolve for the better of one aspect while not being great for another aspect).

Thanksgiving Day aboard while not in Baltimore? It has happened before. Not a lot different than when in Baltimore, meaning an all-hands day off spent together creating the Thanksgiving meal, scheduled for pretty early in the afternoon so all hands can participate in any other happening ashore that day. A second Thanksgiving meal? Sure! Maybe. Some Portsmouth friends are suggesting an evening bonfire at their home. Sounds inviting, yes?


Captain Jan. C Miles