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We bought Orca in late September, just in time to cover her for the season. After a long agonizing winter I began fitting her out in the March. There wasn't too much left to do with the hull so I concentrated on safety and comfort. I added a VHF radio, bought a small GPS and rewired the running lights. I renewed the hoses below the waterline and fitted them with double clamps to comply with the surveyor's recommendation. The biggest challenge proved to be the holding tank. Orca had a tiny 6 gallon holding tank under the port v-berth. However, the previous installer clearly had the letter of the law in mind. The tank had no means to empty it should it ever be used. I took the tank out entirely, added the correct fittings and reinstalled it with a deck pumpout and vent.

Finally the first week of May rolled around and I made the arrangements to launch her. The day before the launching a woman I met at the boat show in March drove down to Yarmouth and applied the new name and hailing port. On the appointed day I was working so I didn't witness her rebirth. Some people wouldn't have missed seeing her hoisted into the Royal River but not being present was a real treat for me. Previous launchings with my 30' International 210 were always always an ordeal. Past launchings involved, rounding up an army of people, precariously stepping the mast with a gin poles, and stress testing the line used to let the trailer and boat down into the water. Even if the boat didn't get caught on the trailer (a friends similar launching resulted in the trailer piercing the hull of his 210), my nerves were shot by the time I scrambled aboard and lifted the floorboards to check for leaks.

After years of owning wooden boats I just couldn't rest until I made the drive to Yarmouth and checked Orca to make sure that the yard hadn't missed a leak. Around 9 p.m. I arrived at the boat. When I checked the bilge I could hardly believe my eyes. The boat was leaking badly. Apparently an old wound on the keel had reopened after the launch. The small leak didn't appear until after she had been in the water for hours because the water took hours to fill the keel cavity before it made its way into the bilge. About $700 and two weeks later we were back in the water.

Our maiden voyage was a trip out the Royal River and a short jaunt across Casco Bay to Jewell Island. Jewell is the outermost island in the bay, a lovely uninhabited place that seems beautiful beyond all imagination until the crowds appear in the mid-summer. Her long narrow harbor is the perfect stopping place on a cruise up the Maine Coast (the pictures on this web site are from Jewell Harbor). Jewell also boasts a lovely natural swimming hole called the punch bowl. The punch bowl is brimming with baby lobsters and muscles


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