It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.

J.R.R. Tolkien

I’ve become very fond of the word ‘contraption’ while sitting in the engine compartment, hunched over, with the grease all over me. I’ve been tracing wires and tubes for what seems like forever. There are at least 5 isolated systems in any marine diesel engine. Not one of them is all that exciting, but together, they are capable of an amazing thing: freedom.

The original plan for this year was to motor up to Chattanooga, Tennessee for hurricane season back in May/June. Hurricane season ends later this month, so we’re about 5 months behind schedule. And keep in mind this is the most recent schedule of about half a dozen in the last 18 months. I have yet to meet a self-imposed deadline.

The trip from New Orleans to Chattanooga, as it turns out, is a little over 700 nautical miles and about a 19 day trip. This does not make for an ideal maiden voyage. In fact, it’s likely foolhardy (which does sound like a pirate word, right?). I feel like a solid 100 hours of testing of the motor and steerage would be necessary for a trip like that.

So that’s what we’re going to do: Test, test, and test some more. Essentially, the original plan was a good one so we’re just going to do it next year instead of this year. This was a little disappointing at first, but then I remembered: I didn’t move onto this contraption to be in a hurry.