Swing Set

Jan 18, 201305:46 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Lobster in the Freezer

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Steve from Key West Engines had our turbochargers back on the engines at end of day on Tuesday. I asked him if he wanted to take the boat out to see how it ran, and he said that we could save about an hour of labor cost if we just went out the next morning ourselves. He was very confident that Swing Set would run like it was supposed to. I liked his confidence.

Wednesday morning, January 16, was bright and sunny, a perfect day to test drive the boat. The picture above is of Triple Net, the 80-foot Hatteras that I mentioned in the last post.

We took Swing Set out of the bight and past the cruise ship docks and opened her up. We were up to temperature, and I didn't baby her. I hit the throttles, and the engines took heed. The turbos kicked in at 1600 rpm, and Swing Set jumped on plane and we were quickly running at 2800 rpm, the speed at which our Caterpillars are designed to run. We were doing 30 mph in no time, and I didn't even use the tabs. The fastest I ever got our boat up to was 34 mph, and that was when we test drove it to buy it back in 2004 and there was hardly any weight on the boat.

We came back in and filled up the fuel tanks, taking on 124 gallons of diesel, nearly another 1,000 pounds. We went back out, and she jumped up on plane just as quickly, but the top end was a bit slower, but still turning 2800 rpm. Very little smoke was coming from the exhaust, and what was coming out was white. I was very happy. The boat has never run as good as it is running now. The only thing left is to wait for the bill.

Our friends Doug and Jeanne Harmon got into the RV park at Stock Island on Wednesday afternoon. Doug drove his scooter, over and Jeanne brought the Jet Ski. We talked about going lobster fishing on Thursday and what boats to take. Now that Swing Set was healthy, it only made sense to take the "big boat" along with the dinghy and leave the Jet Ski back at the dock.

The four of us wound up at the Conch Republic Bar and Restaurant, where this photo was taken. Then, it was on to Fogarty's, Carolines, Hog's Breath Saloon and another place I forgot. It goes like that in Key West.

The next morning, Doug and Jeanne showed up right on time and we piled their gear aboard Swing Set and set a course up the Northwest Channel out past Tank Island. When we got past the reef, we headed east toward one of Doug's "secret lobstering holes."

The secret lobstering hole was even a secret to Doug. He had left his GPS coordinates at home, and both he and Jeanne had to find the spot by looking off the bow of Swing Set. Each one of them was pointing in different directions at any given time, directing me as to which way I was to head the boat. Jeanne turned out to be the expert.

We finally dropped the hook and checked out the bottom. There weren't many "holes" or "ledges" in the vicinity, so we put the dinghy in, leaving Rosie and Holly to guard the boat, and the rest of us went in search of lobsterville.

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