To bring things up to date: Finally, about a week ago, spring like weather arrived and I was able to get the hull varnished and painted, with help from my wife Katie. I was making a big push to get the boat launched at least once before the rains returned.
Launch Day March 16 2017.
It was a beautiful day here in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. We launched at the closest lake to us, Lake Jenkinson at Sly park. Just 10 days ago they had several inches of snow at this elevation. Today was about 65 degrees F. Light winds gusting to perhaps 10 knots. A good day for sailing if I had that part done. Before leaving, Katie announced: I don’t want to get my feet wet. Don’t worry, I said. We’ll be launching from a dock.
It’s been a while since either of us had been in a boat this small. Our last boat had a ten foot beam and a keel with 3000 pounds of ballast keeping it upright and steady at the docks. This one, with no ballast, is going to take some getting used to.
Everything was non eventful until we were ready to leave the dock. I carefully planted myself on the middle seat and tried to keep my substantial personal ballast midships while Katie boarded. Unfortunately I couldn’t hold the stern to the dock quite securely enough and she kinda had to do the splits to gain entry. Lesson 1: Have 2 dock spring lines rigged, fore and aft, which I can reach easily from midships to make crew boarding easier.
While trying to release the hard to reach bow line and push off from the dock, Katie announced- The boat is leaking! Apparently, there is a small leak around the centerboard. Not going back to the dock yet- I successfully, if not very gracefully mounted oars and started to row. Then Wam!, my PFD self inflated just to add a little to the tension. Lesson 2: might want to test the boat for leaks first. Lesson 3: Wear your PFD. Mine was on the floor by my feet and self inflated while sitting in the pool of water that the leak caused. At least I know it works.
So we still managed to have a nice little row while I tried to re learn how to do that and our feet got wet. This weekend I will be fitting proper leathers and buttons in addition to fixing the leak.
Anyway, we had a nice picnic afterward and we are looking forward to having another go at it next week. It’s going to be a fun process.