When Ann and I came back from the Friendship lobster boat races in mid-July things seemed to be better, as she only stalled out a couple of times on the way out of Friendship harbor and then ran fine all the way to Searsport. Two weekends later we headed for the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta to get photographs of the race. She stalled out a couple of times, once in the Deer Isle Thoroughfare, but then ran great the rest of the way back to Searsport.
During the storm that came up the coast on Tuesday the first week of August she sat perfectly on her mooring headed right into the wind as those fiberglass boats bounced around. Thursday night I went down to add more fuel and discovered that about 20 gallons of fuel was missing. I smelled the bilged and down below and it did not seem gassy so I added about 21 gallons. Where did the 20 gallons go? Did someone siphon off the fuel, which was highly unlikely, or did the storm rattle the tank around and cause a leak? Friday morning Ann and I was going to take CINDY JEN over to Winter Harbor for the races the next day and when I got on board I could smell gasoline. Travis Otis jumped on board and started poking around and quickly discovered that there was a hole in the fuel tank, which is in the stern of the boat under the stern deck. Travis figured that the problem happened because the aluminum tank sat on an oak beam and the acid in the oak had eaten a hole in the aluminum. We looked at what it would take to get the tank out, which meant removing the coamings and a bulkhead and knew that was going to be a major project. It was then decided to buy a fuel tank and place it on the platform. After making several trips to Hamilton Marine Travis had it all hooked up and ready to go by early afternoon. We aired out the boat and then pumped water into the old tank since we did not want to start her up and end up in Presque Isle. When it seemed like the fumes had subsided Travis hit the switch and the engine started right up with no explosion. Once off the dock we headed out and made a test run over to the R2 buoy off Sears Island and back without an issue. I wondered and hoped that the engine issue was related to air getting into the fuel lines causing the engine to die. The problem now was that I did not have the time to get a vehicle to Winter Harbor and then make the five-hour run and get there before dark. Travis made some calls and found someone that was willing to get up and be at the dock at 0500. CINDY JEN made the run, with her engine issue only happening a couple of times on the way over, in just five hours shadowed by Travis Otis’ FIRST TEAM in case anything went really amiss. CINDY JEN won Gasoline Class A as there are very few six-cylinder gasoline engines left and none showed up to race at Winter Harbor. Over the years I have been in a lot of races, but never at the helm, but that day I took the helm and made the run down the course in Wooden Boat A and the Gasoline Free-for-All and that was addictive. She is no speedster, doing just about 15 knots top end and got third and second respectively and that is because there were just three boats in Wooden Boat A and two in the Gasoline Free-for-All. Since I had to get the results tabulated for the races CINDY JEN and FIRST TEAM headed back to Searsport.
While at the awards ceremony I found Glen and Cameron Crawford as Cameron had fished CINDY JEN when he was in high school. I asked Glen about the fuel tank and he said that once we got it out he could easily repair the tank and then coat it in coal-tar epoxy so it would not happen again. Cameron then asked how I got it to go so fast adding that he could only go 6 to 7 knots, because if he went any faster she would over heat. He also said that when he first got her the exhaust system went up through the house and the plywood around the exhaust pipes was frayed and one time he started that on fire by getting the exhaust pipe too hot.
I got back to Winterport and about 1900 gave Travis a call to see where they were. He explained they were about an hour out and had CINDY JEN in tow as her engine died and they could not get it going again. I waited awhile and then headed for the Town Dock in Searsport. With the sun-down I could see a pair of running lights off of Turtle Head in the dark and apparently they had been able to re-fire CINDY JEN as she was under her own power. After getting everything off and cleaned up for the night Travis and I talked about what should we look at next to solve the engine issue. We had replaced fuel filters, some of the fuel line, fuel pump and the carburetor had been rebuilt. The attention now turned to the distributor and may be a new carburetor since we had used JB weld to solve a problem when we stripped the threads of the fuel line going into the carburetor changing the fuel filter.
So, the saga goes on, but I am still loving every minute of owning CINDY JEN especially when you get told that she is one of the nicest looking boat out there. Yes, there is nothing like an old Beals Island-Jonesport built boat.
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Hanging around the docks you see and learn a lot. I do not read any newspapers or watch local news as they do not cover the waterfront very well if at all and when the do they usually do not know the subject they are covering. One day I was on the dock at Searsport and there was Maine Maritime Academy’s training ship STATE OF MAINE tied up over at Mack’s Point. I quickly learned that she had been forced to leave Castine because she created more than 50 decibels of sound, which was against a town ordinance. Apparently one of those people from away had filed a complaint and she was asked to leave. Here is one of the top maritime academies in the country, which does how much for the town, being forced to move their training ship. How much did this cost? She was at the dock a couple of weeks and then she sailed around the bay a few days and by the first of August she was back at her dock in Castine.
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For those that have followed lobster boat racing for a long time you might remember CRY BABY [25’ D&L BW, 292 Chevrolet], which was owned by D & L Boatworks of Lewiston. She started racing in 2005 and dominated Gasoline Class A and the Gasoline Free-for-All where she would beat up on the V8s until 2014 when she was sold. Her owners decided to build another boat, which they have been working on the last five years, but back last winter I got a call that they needed to sell the boat, which was just a hull with bulkheads, with all the parts and pieces they had for her. Since that time, I have advertised and spread the word that the boat was for sale hoping to find someone to take the project over. It was not going to be easy as it was going to take a special person who wanted to do this project. Then I got a call that the boat had sold, which I was glad to hear. She was bought by Brooklin Boat Yard and would be going there to be finished out for themselves as a yard boat.
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More good news – While I was running around the yard at Billing’s Diesel & Marine in Stonington taking photographs, I was informed that the person who owns the former sardine carrier PAULINE was going to have her redone. She is going to be repowered, her original cabin would replace the steamer superstructure she now has, and her stern might need to be rebuilt. The plans are to use her as a school for oceanography.
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Now for the boring news – Yes, I am still entering more vessels and adding new information to those vessels already in the database, which is up online at internationalmaritimelibrary.org. I am hoping to have a new update ready to go, with a total of over 100,000 vessels, up online in the next month or two. Right now, I am crashing a list of three-masted schooners and updating with additional information from the “List of Merchant Vessels,” which I should have done next week. I have also added lists of boats built here in the State of Maine, including lobster boats, which I have gathered over the years from a number of builders. And then there is a massive list being created on warships. I really want to create a baseline from the annuals and then begin to add material from books, periodicals and newspapers. No rest for the wicked!