Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sea Trials for TJ

South Burlington, VT

Every new vessel needs a sea trial before undertaking any serious voyage.  Such it is for TJ.  (Cathy Mills won the naming contest, Tee Jay, TJ, for Tarwathie Junior).

So, after a week of seemingly endless chores to get legally and practically ready to use TJ as a registered motorboat/trailer, and to get a trailer hitch for the Camry, we were finally ready.   We headed toward Vergennes and Otter Creek for the sea trial.

Regular readers know that Otter Creek and Vergennes is one of our most favorite places in our nomadic wanderings.  Many times in the past, I've posted pictures of Tarwathie, tied up below Vergennes Falls.  It is the only place I know where we can approach the base of a waterfall on Tarwathie.

But for the sea trial, we chose to go where we've never been before.  We launched TJ above the falls, and we took her south on Otter Creek almost all the way to Middlebury.

So, how did it work?   Excellent.  TJ is a worthy vessel.  She's as stable as a canoe can manage to be.  The outboard started with only three pulls.   We found that the motor is able to drive her at 10 knots, which is a breathtaking speed for sailors.  In fact, we made use of a feature that young people with jet skis have never discovered --- half throttle.

We discovered several things.  We forgot to bring a painter.  We need to carry a sponge to mop up water that we bring in on our feet.  (There are zero water leaks in the canoe.)   I need a flag to back up the trailer because the trailer is invisible in the car's mirrors.  When arranging things in the canoe, it is very difficult for the persons in front and in back to pass things between each other. That's a pretty short list.

How was Otter Creek?   Wonderful.  We saw lots of wilderness, with views of lush green fields, and portions of the Green Mountains unfamiliar to us.  We saw no other vessels, or vehicles or people on the voyage.  Just a herd of curious cows.  I was surprised that for more than 10 miles there are no roads or bridges crossing the creek.

Today, we head out for another landmark Valcour Island.  Regular readers know that our visits to Valcour are almost spiritual.   We are very happy to be able to go there this year even without Tarwathie.  (hmm, should we start calling Tarwathie Big T?)

Libby at the helm of TJ
We can even explore side streams where Tarwathie could never go.
View looking down from above the falls.  Big T usually ties up where that motorboat it.  The water levels are extremely high and the currents very swift.
The only Vermonters we saw.  They were very curious about us.

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