Well, I did put the Shackleton into the water up here in Maine. Unfortunately, I had to row her out of the water. See the dramatic re-enactment at right.

When I took the motor back to the marine shop, the mechanic declared it DOA. I could have poured more money into that 1985 Johnson 40 HP — but the mechanics thought it foolish.

I would’ve been more bummed out if my original boat — the Bluebird II — hadn’t worked so well this summer. She had barely a hiccup and ferried the family all over the Maine coast. We even painted the Bluebird’s trailer in anticipation of driving her south to her new caretakers in the warmer waters of North Carolina.

Since the Shackleton wasn’t in the water I did get to work out a few kinks. I fixed a vexing leak around the drain plugs — found some marine caulk that works wonders. I also installed a bow light and an automatic bilge pump (in case water finds a way back in.)

And the best news is … the trouble with the motor convinced me to play big or stay home. I just dropped the Shackton off at J and M Marine where she’ll be stored for the winter. In early spring, their mechanics will install a brand new 60 HP Yamama. It’s expensive, but I’ve heard the pleasures of owning a new Yamaha are unparalleled. I’m hoping that the profits from my academic editing company can totally cover the cost. The mechanics are going to install a new steering system, new controls, a tachometer, and several other bells and whistles. Can’t wait to post the pictures next summer.

So, the Shackleton will wait a while longer for her first Maine shakedown cruise. But, I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait.