Nordhavn guru James Knight (Yacht Tech) personally drove up to Cocoa Village Marina from North Palm Beach with spare parts, identified the bow thruster problem, and fixed it. The magnalloy coupling on the gear box had slipped down its shaft so that the plastic sacrificial coupling insert between it and the upper coupling was not fully seated and thus easily destroyed. It seems the old style couplers on this boat were held on the shaft only by a small set screw which, apparently, had a tendency to come loose leading to failure. The new style coupler now installed is split and has a much beefier set screw which allows this type to be much more secure and less likely to slip on the shaft. Fingers crossed, but I believe the problem has been finally solved. Kudos to James!

With the thruster issue behind us we decide it would be a travesty to spend so much time a few miles from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) without visiting, so tomorrow we will rent a car and do the grand tour….besides, the Air Force is launching an Atlas V rocket at 10:45 AM. Should be fun!

We rise early, Enterprise opens at 7:30 and KSC at 9. We rent a car and drive over to KSC; a short 12 mile ride up I95. Having grown up during the heyday of American space exploration (Gemini, Apollo, moon landing, Shuttle), I’ve had a long-time interest and enthusiasm for space exploration but never had the opportunity to see a launch. Wow! If you get the chance, do that! Though the shuttle program ended in 2011 there are many launches each year of “lesser” rockets; impressive in their own right. The attached photo was taken about 80 seconds into the launch by which time the 21-story rocket was traveling at 3000 mph and headed to 17,500 mph (the Atlas V is a tiny speck of light at the top of the trail). The KSC Visitor Complex is well worth an afternoon; particularly the Atlantis facility, the iMax films, the rocket garden, etc.; the entire history of US space flight is there. What a remarkable achievement and a real testament to US science and engineering.

An awe-inspiring day to say the least!

Tomorrow we launch ourselves, continuing our slow journey north.

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