Sunday, June 21, 2009

Launch Synopsis

Well, its raining hard outside so my plan to take pictures of the work done over the past few days is out.

The day before launch was a long one. Here is a list of items accomplished:

Fabricated teak blocks for the stern cleats to mount on.

Installed stern cleats - now I had something to tie the boat too!

Installed cockpit coamings
- not exactly necessary but they make the boat look so much better for the photos.

Installed anchor roller - just in case the motor quits on the way to the floating dock.

2 hardware runs to get the bits and pieces I needed to make it all work.

Stopped by the town hall to get the mooring and waterways use permit - fruitless exercise as the harbormaster was nowhere to be found and no one else could help me. Left message apologizing for launching without the sticker and promising to meet up over the weekend (which I did yesterday.

Went to my most hated store (West Marine) for new flares and free Marpol stickers - boat is fully compliant with Coast Guard regulations and ready for inspection.

Installed registration numbers and sticker on bow.

Installed same type of lettering on the transom spelling "Jenny". Its cheesy I know but not having anything was cheesier. Real graphics are coming.

Made a transmission shift lever from a 3 foot piece of 316 stainless bar - it works - that's about all I can say - making it better is high on the priority list.

Unloaded boat of tools and supplies - there were a couple of pickup loads of stuff to haul away. Some of it is piled in the basement. Some is piled in the garage. Some is piled in the boatyard storage shed I rented. Messes everywhere (which is part of today's project)

Dismantle the last of the winter storage structure and haul it home. (now on sawhorses in the yard).

Clean boat - or at least attempted to. It was dark and I could only get the big stuff. There is still a lot more to do.

Load boat with items needed for launch -fenders, docklines and such.

The launch itself was quite painless (other than getting up after four hours of sleep after a long day)

First stop was to buy donuts and coffee for a few guests that were expected. Turns out one of the guests also brought donuts. By noontime, four guests had consumed 19 donuts (my mom ate one too).

At 6:00am sharp the boatyard crew picked up the boat and hauled it to the launch site a mile away. I must say the crew was very quick and efficient.

At the launch site a crane raised the mast. Happily, the new rigging fit just fine.

Then the boat was backed into the Merrimack river. No leaks! The engine fired up immediately. We had time so we let the boat sit on the dock for half an hour or so.

Once we had all got up the courage we cast off the dock lines and motored to the floating dock where Jenny was going to spend the summer. I hadn't actually seen the dock before (I only knew its location when I agreed to rent it) and it turns out there were two docks there. Since it was a nice morning we extended the little cruise up the river a ways until a bridge stopped us. On the way back I called the dockmaster to determine which dock I was on. Unfortunately, of the two docks, Jenny is on the filthiest, dirtiest one. I am terribly under impressed with the whole setup.

First, the cormorants have been enjoying the empty 70x 8 foot dock all spring and it is absolutely covered in guano (bird crap). Secondly, the cleats are of various sizes (some are rediculously small) and suspect attachments. Third, there is a couple of steel projecting bits on the end that are just waiting to gouge out my new paint. For the price, I think the dock should be in better shape. I put in a call to the dock owners yesterday about the metal bits and lack of good cleats. I will wait to see how they respond before bad mouthing them publicly. First impressions are not good however.

We, guests and myself, spent some time sorting out the how to tie up the boat without much in the way of deck hardware. We managed to cobble up something that worked.

I know I mentioned in an earlier blog about these nifty adjusters for the jumper struts.

Well, it turns out they are crap. There is no way to get enough tension in them. One of my guests even volunteered to get hoisted up with some large pliers to tighten them but couldn't get much more. Next year I will have real turnbuckles on the jumper struts.

Those jumpers add quite a bit to the rig and with them under tensioned the mast has quite a bend to it. I guess I am going to look like a racing boat with a highly stressed bent mast this season...

With the boat square away, we motored back to the launch area and dropped off two guests. Then myself and one last guest went back to the dock, tied up, and drifted in 2 knots of current in my little nutshell pram. The pram is great and will actually hold three people in a pinch but the four of us probably add up to something approaching 800 pounds and that is asking an awful lot of a 7 foot 7 inch boat.

Then it was lunch, and back to the boatyard to start cleaning up.

Then it was sleep.

I was beyond being tired.

Friday, I was back to my real job.

Yesterday I spent the morning looking for a dinghy that was small enough to go on the dinghy dock and that had a motor mount for my 5hp Honda motor. I didn't have any luck so I tipped my great grandfather's aluminum skiff that he bought used in the 1960's over from where it had been laying for the past four years, gave it a quick dusting, attached a new registration sticker on it and loaded it in the back of the pickup. I spent about an hour with the Honda motor that I hadn't started in four years either. It started quite easily and ran well after I replaced the fuel that had been sitting in the tank for four years.

Oh, and I found the harbormaster and got squared away there.

Then I went out the boat. Happily, she was right where I left her and floating in just the same place on her lines. First job was scrubbing the guano off the dock. With the first layer removed (I think I am going to rent a gas powered pressure washer next weekend) I rigged some lines around the boat to discourage the birds. They had already started but it wasn't too bad... yet. The manual bilge pump sucked about four or five good strokes of water out of the bilge before it ran dry. That was encouraging. It was raining heavily on Friday and I was worried about taking on water. I bought three more large fenders and rigged them up in a chain that I will just leave permanently on the dock all summer.

I would really like to get those nice terry cloth covers for the fenders. They are expensive but probably worth it. In the meantime, I wrapped my fenders with towels from Kmart (toast covered so at least they are colored tastefully) to help keep my paint looking good. We will see how that all works out. I also wrapped the docklines where they rub on the toerail with strips of terry cloth. Hopefully, I will be able to add the deck hardware soon that will make the strips unnecessary.

With the boat happier, I took the old skiff for a trip up the river to do some exploring. After working to a deadline these past few months, I can't begin to describe how nice it feels to sit back and enjoy life a little. Walking away from the Triton to enjoy a little tour in the skiff felt terribly luxurious.

Looking at the rain this morning and deciding to stay around the house cleaning up was nearly divine.

Life is good again.

Upcoming priorities are to get more deck hardware down (stanchions, lifelines, grabrails, skene chocks at the bow etc.) bend the sails on and attach the sailing hardware, get the head plumbed since it is a hike to the nearest bathroom and maybe rig up an electric bilge pump.

I am not sure about the necessity of the bilge pump. With me being away for a week or more at a time, I am thinking that if I do start leaking, the bilge pump is going to run the battery down long before I get to the boat so it will still sink anyway. I don't think the electric bilge pump helps much in my case. I do have a solar panel for the boat so I might wire it in temporarily or perhaps put it on its own battery with the bilge pump.

And that is the update. Work is probably going to slow down so I can't promise updates as often as they have been coming in the past few months. I need to slow down and engage in outside life again. I still plan on spending time on the boat every weekend but I can't promise that I will have something worth blogging about. Now, its all about having fun and enjoying myself. And reconnecting with people that I have been ignoring in favor of the boat project ;-)

Em Tasol Wantoks.


ariel414 said...

Congrats Britton - the boat looks great! Hope you have a fantastic Summer!

BTW, we used to have cormorants where I moored a few years back. After going out to my boat and finding it literally covered in bird sh@t, I ended up stringing those red/white/and blue car lot flags around the boat whenever I left to keep them off. Looked awful, but it helped...

Tim said...

Geez, I gave you dozens of pictures, and your faithful readers only get to see those three (which don't even blow up to full size)?

Some people... ;<)

Britton said...

Good idea about the bird repellent car lot flags. I noticed some other local boats doing something similar. You are right, it doesn't look nice but neither is bird poop on the deck I guess.

I try to maintain certain standards when it comes to photographs on this website. Not many of those photos passed muster. I knew I would catch grief for the photos that don't enlarge but the bigger versions on the web are sideways and I didn't have time nor feel like editing them and re-hosting them.

More photos coming...

Tim said...

I must have misplaced the photographic standards memo that you sent out, and therefore I guess neglected to follow the specific guidelines.

Sorry. I'll try harder.

Britton said...

hehe, okay, the real reason is that I am too lazy right now to deal with the pictures.