Weekend at Point Lookout (May 2011)

May 7-8, 2011

Our friend Susan (who is an old high school friend of Bradley’s) joined us for a weekend on the Bay.

Bradley and Susan stow docking lines

FINALLY we have some decent weather to take Shear Madness out for some fun! After arriving at the boat and going through some checks and preparations (including a small software problem with our electronic charting system), we departed Solomon’s Island in the early afternoon. This was Susan’s first time out and she did a great job as crew trainee, helping us to get away from the dock easily and get all the lines and fenders stowed. Sun, flat water, and no problems made for a smooth cruise to Point Lookout at the mouth of the Potomac River, a trip of about 30 miles. We anchored near Point Lookout Marina where our friend Martin had just arrived with his boat from Occoquan, VA. Since we had not yet launched our tender since winterizing it back in November, Martin launched his and came over for a Shear Madness drink and a steak dinner.

Sunrise at Point Lookout

The next morning’s project was to launch our tender (the “small” boat that sits on deck and is dropped over the side by crane to allow us to get around once the “mother ship” is anchored). First step – put the batteries back in. After cleaning terminals and other minor maintenance, they were installed. Next step – use the crane to launch. After undoing all the cables and making sure everything was secure the tender was hoisted up and over the railing and down into the water. So far, so good. Next step – start the engines. Uh oh! Plenty of power from the batteries but neither of the two outboards would start. Martin arrived in his tender and we began diagnosing the problem. The fuel looked OK and it seemed that fuel was getting to the engines OK (this after 30 minutes of diagnostics). Thinking through the problem, we finally remembered! The outboards have a safety feature called a “kill switch” that is designed to shut them off when disengaged. The “kill switch” ring has to be attached before the engines will start. Oops – kill switch attached and engines started like they were new! Since Martin was docked at the nearby marina, we took our tender over there for a much needed bath and fuel-up. Then we explored the local waters for a while – a gorgeous, calm, sunny day! Saw many beautiful houses and just enjoyed being on the water.

Soon it was time to pull the anchor and head back to Solomon’s. No problems, and we docked without any incidents or raised voices. We had a chance to test all our systems, run the engines at high RPM’s, achieving a top speed of 11 knots, and even test the horn! A great trip for all!


  1. #1 by Darin Hayden on May 10, 2011 - 3:35 pm

    Okay, kids! You are expert sailors…how can you forget the “kill switch”? And…how long did it take you to figure it out? I guess I’m going to have to come out and teach you a few things!


    • #2 by nh72 on May 11, 2011 - 10:37 am

      Hey, it’s Spring Training! Yes, please do plan to come out – we’d love to see you!


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