Shifting gears

11/27, 1072.7, NW20-25>30, 54/32, sunny - As planned, Dobbs drove to NAPA for automatic transmission fluid and began flushing the transmission. Meanwhile, I researched new and rebuilt transmission options. I washed a load of laundry and did some office work for Walden Rigging.

After the first two flushes, we were feeling optimistic. The boat was demonstrating good power in forward over repeated tests. I walked up and paid for tonight’s dockage, figuring we’d leave in the morning. The forecast northwest wind would be useful if we had a failure, given the southwest course of the ICW in this area. When I returned to Grace, Dobbs was doing the third test. Unfortunately, this time, the transmission was obviously slipping. Or, perhaps fortunately, since we were still at the dock. I walked back to the office and changed our dockage to a month-long agreement. We’re now temporary citizens of Hilton Head Island!

Our mechanic from home, Brad B, offered to rebuild our HBW-5 transmission for a very reasonable rate and we have every confidence in him. We’ll be unbolting it tomorrow (a little more than a year since we had it off last time, to replace the engine’s freeze plugs), packing it up, and UPS-ing it to him. He thinks he can do it in a week.


I’m getting a rebuilt transmission for my birthday! Also, we get time to relax in a pretty, laid-back, friendly place. In order to work toward salvaging our budget, we will likely stay the entire month, even after we reinstall the rebuilt transmission. It’s an easy two miles out to the Chechessee River and Port Royal Sound, and from there less than 10 miles to the COLREGS demarcation line and the Atlantic Ocean. I suspect we’ll have some nice day sails and enjoy the holiday here. If you know any sailboat owners on Hilton Head that need rigging work, please let them know we’re here!

At 3:30pm, Dobbs and I took Murphy for a walk around the neighborhood, over to explore Fort Mitchel.

Then we retired to Grace. I made open-faced hot turkey sandwiches and green beans for dinner. I picked and canned the green beans back in September. The wind is still up and Baby, it’s cold outside, but it’s toasty warm in here with the heater running. If we’re dockside, we might as well live it up with lighting and heat. We’re looking forward to fixing Grace and sailing again. The sail over here from Beaufort was my most enjoyable ever on that stretch - close-hauled in good wind the whole way.