The ferryboat On Time 3 was relaunched mid-morning on Monday in Vineyard Haven, made the trip to Edgartown against the current and returned to service mid-afternoon. I am relieved that she got back to work before the testimonial potluck dinner hosted by the Chappy Community Center scheduled for Wednesday evening. This dinner is dedicated to showing the community’s appreciation for the ferry captains and crew. I’m sure that travelers will feel more appreciative if the ferry waiting lines are moving more quickly. Though the captains and crew are blameless for inconveniences caused by the necessity to haul one of the boats out each year, they become the complaint department.

The On Time 3 is the longer of the two ferryboats and is now back on the run continuously with the other ferry providing backup when the lines get too long. The On Time 3 easily carries three big pickup trucks. The On Time 2 is 10 feet shorter and has been handling the traffic alone for the past seven weeks. Often only two pickup trucks can fit aboard per trip which makes the wait in line longer.

Fortunately, that’s all of the big out of the water maintenance work for this year. Next year it will be the On Time 2 out of service so the absence of one boat won’t be so noticeable. Thanks for your patience over the past weeks and thanks for removing your trailer hitches to make it more likely that three vehicles could fit aboard. Thanks especially to those who worked so hard at getting their rusted trailer hitches to come off, even though they knew that it was for the benefit of those farther back in the line and not directly for themselves.

The On Time 3 only appears to have gotten a new coating of non-skid paint on the deck. But if you are at the right vantage point you will see that she has new topside and bottom paint, too. All of the other work is hidden below deck. When it’s not out of service for preventive maintenance that boat works an 18-hour day which it has done steadily since 1976. The On Time 2 is nine years older but became the back up ferry as soon as her younger sister was launched. Both boats are worked

hard. There is lots of wear and tear on the propulsion systems as well as the hulls of the boats. Since we don’t like surprises, a lot of effort goes into anticipating problems and staying a couple of steps ahead of trouble. Our purpose is to make improvements so that most things will only need to be fixed one more time, but many of the parts get worn out just by the nature of the machine. The trick is to replace them before they fail but not before their useful life is over. We have made every endeavor to standardize the parts in both boats so that any spare part fits either end of either ferryboat. It’s all about dependability.

The next event planned for the Chappy Community Center is the Christmas Eve dinner. I am glad that both Christmas Day and New Years Day are on Mondays this year. Everyone could use a couple of three-day weekends in a row.

The CCC calendars are available for purchase. Stop in at the the center if you see Lynn’s car in the parking lot and buy one in person or go to the CCC website to print out a form to get one sent to you. Only a couple of weeks before Christmas!

Winter weather could be just weeks away as well. I know that I sound like a broken record, but I’ll say it again, now is the time to call your snow plow person, before the snow flies, not after it’s a foot deep in your driveway. It’s also a good time to make sure that you have a couple of flashlights that work and maybe a couple of gallons of bottled water and a dozen cans of soup hidden away in the pantry. When the weather is so mild as it’s been so far it’s a little hard to remember how quickly winter comes upon us.

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