Smoke in her pipe

Henry Lackey, who refurbished the donated old Grey Marine Diesel, showed up at the museum docks on Friday, April 2,and said, “Well, let’s see what she’ll do,”The Crocketteers were at long last installing the temporary fuel system, the last piece of the puzzle. Henry checked her out and started up the engine for the first time. Then it was John England's turn to check her out.

They were some happy guys, who appreciate the “sweet” sound of a diesel engine finally running.

“Smoke in her pipe” refers to the exhaust coming out of the dry exhaust system which is positioned like a chimney pipe at the aft of the cabin. (Photo by Tom Chillemi, Courtesy of the Southside Sentinel)

After some fine tuning, on Monday it was timefor the Crockett to finally leave the museum docks for her maiden voyage. John England, the project manager since the Crockett’s arrival in Sept 2005, was at the helm as she maneuvered out of the creek with Capt. Bill (Powell) supervising. The Crocketteers celebrated when the wheelhouse went on the last of August 2009, and they have spent a long, cold six months installing all the systems necessary to make the boat run under her own power.

These include included the original style rope steering, the twin disc transmission that came from Kellum Seafood, and a throttle system similar to what would have been in the original 1924 built buyboat.All of this has been a community effort, with the major parts of the electrical system directed and installed by Bubbie Crown. Now finished is a portion of what will be miles of wiring needed to operate the boat. The raw water cooling system, which pulls the seawater through the heat exchanger on the engine, has been assembled and installed by the crew at Deltaville Marina, which is also working on the fuel system.

The F.D. Crockett finally chugged away from the museum docks on Monday, April 5. John England took the helm with Bill Powell as navigator. Crocketteers John McQueen, Fred Jones and Gordon Gibb manned the deck for the first sea trial. (Photo by Chuck McGhinnis)

Destination: Chesapeake Marine Railway, where Jon Farinholt was waiting to greet the crew and once again donate rail time needed to ready the Crockett's hull for another season.

As the log buyboat navigated her maiden voyage, the chase boat couldn’t keep up withher unless the Crockett wanted her to—the way her diesel engine moved the boat showed why these buyboats ruled the bay and why the Crockett’s unique log hull made her the queen of the fleet. She was a state of the art vessel for 1924, with her combination of ancient construction methods and brand new internal combustion engine. Along the way they encountered the schooner Spirit of Massachusetts-a reproduction of an 1889 sailing freightvessel, a meeting that would have been an everyday occurence 80 years ago.

Originally published by Vera England on 6 Apr 2010. Published on WordPress after The Deltaville Maritime Museum and Holly Point Nature Park moved from to

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