Thursday, May 13, 2004

First Launch

We woke up bright and early at 5 am. The weather looks crappy, raining and overcast. We worked on the sail cover a little then headed for Muskegon a bit after 8 am. We checked at the 'Launch Area' but our boat wasn't out there yet so we went back to the warehouse. Right where we left her, so we installed the refinished & re-hardwared mess table and then took the new lock keys over to the 'dock office' and checked on our status. They were running a bit behind, still no sign of where our mast is yet.

Once things got moving, it was exciting to watch. Our boat came over on a trailer platform (first time seeing her in the sunlight, and the first time that I noticed that the deck color is a bit different in shade from the sides, more of a creamy 'off white' than the 'blue-white' of the topside paint job. She looks quite filthy, and badly in need of a wash on her decks - but still, it really took my breath away, she's quite a beauty) - they transferred her to a sling, painted her hull's 'bare patches' (where we couldn't reach while she was in her cradle), then moved her over the launching area and set her down.

The 'leprauchans' (to use a phrase that one of the marina workers used) started jumping aboard and began checking for leaks & found a few. The sink thru hull in the head had a steady trickly and there seemed to be a leak in the 'packing' around the propeller (which would prove to be a major problem for us a few years later). After a bit of 'tightening up' we head out to lunch around noon.

When we came back, the motor was chugging away, new batteries had been installed and they were just about ready to step the mast, shrouds and stays. Peter, the Torreson salesman, took us out then for a brief 'shakedown cruise' to familiarize us with the motor & gave us a brief 'tie up' lesson. Then - TA-DA - we are now on our own.

This weekend we plan on giving Fannie a thorough cleaning and try to figure out the sails & take her out for our first solo run & perhaps spend the night on saturday.

(Keenan from diary) May 15, 2004 - Baseball ALL morning (well, for me...) We LOST but Dad was geeked to go to the boat. HEAD FOR THE EXITS (courtesy of 'beetle adventure racing', a nintendo game we've been playing a lot lately - and a phrase which is rapidly becoming our battle cry every saturday morning). I can't believe how pretty she looks in the water. She looks good, feels good inside and after a short romp int he water we found out she rides well too. My only little problem is the tiller, it doesn't seem to go where I want it. OH WELL, I guess I'll have to get used to it. Its a choice between tiller and .... tiller. We discovered it can get QUITE cold in the evening. I'm a bit sniffly. WE HAVE A BOAT!

(tim) We arrived for our first weekend 'aboard' around 5ish - a late start finishing up the sail cover and picking up supplies at meijer. We got out the soap suds and cleaning gear and gave the boat a thorough scrubbing while keenan read & stored gear below. It made a big difference. She looks much nicer on deck, though there are still a lot of blemishes on this old girl.

Down below is a disquieting situation though - the bilge had quite a bit of water in her, and the bilge pumps don't appear to work. We had Keenan 'the bilge rat' empty them into a bucket and Dad dumped them over the side (as Keenan put it "at least I have job security").

After everything had been stowed, we took her out of the slip for a little "tiller practice". A bit tricky getting out of the slip the first time, handling lines and trying to back out figuring out the tiller in reverse (which doesn't seem to respond either direction). We did an undignified complete 'reverse gear' maneuver out the marina (glad there were very few people around to see it). We motored over past the 'Milwaukee Clipper" and the 'Channel Buoy' towards downtown Muskegon, then turned around and came back. Re-entering the slip went much smoother than the exit.

But disturbingly the bilge seems to be refilling. I decided to check the thru hulls. The 'leaky' thru hull in the head that was discovered at launch is still dripping. Then was alarmed to discover that the engine compartment under the sink in the galley next to the engine has oil spattered all over it, and the bilge water now is black with oil. Did we blow a gasket or hose? We should have checked the oil before leaving, and make a habit of it. But now how to dispose of the bilge water, as we can't dump it in the lake now with all this contamination? A blessing now that the automatic bilge pumps aren't working I suppose. Then when we went to hank on the headsail, we discovered another problem - they had installed the rollerfurler backwards so it points towards the bow of the boat instead of back to the cockpit. Welcome to boat ownership, like home ownership, only with the added stress of the possibility of sinking.

Next morning, Keenan reported a good night's sleep, but complained of Dad's snoring. Terri was cold. Dad has a bad case of hemorrhoids and doesn't remember sleeping at all, perhaps they were confusing snores with whimpering and crying from pain. After breakfast we decided to try and hank on the mainsail. Not bad. It needs a little reinforcing to some of the 'hanks' and we weren't 100% sure of how to tie the outhaul rig. Cleaned up, measured the space for the boat name & headed home. Spent all our time working on the boat and ended up missing a beautiful day for sailing on Sunday.

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