The day after the picnic, the weather took a decided turn. Good timing for the party, not so great for us. By the time Quantum Leap reached Vuda (a 2-hour trip for them), the cloudy skies had darkened and a few spits had begun. Up on the hard, Tackless II was looking very handsome with the first two of three coats of bottom paint freshly applied. By afternoon, the rain was coming down hard and the wind had wound up to a healthy blow.
The good news is none of our old leaks produced a drop. The bad news was we had a gusher right over the salon table through a screw hole under the main companionway cap that hadn't gotten filled properly! Fortunately, it is something we can identify AND reach!
Sunday was unexpectedly sunny, so even as the front driven wind continued, causing the boat to rattle and shiver in her stands, Don and I managed to finish off most of the remaining outside projects, including remounting and rewiring the refinished windlass. Monday, however, dawned with a return of the rain threat, and between that and the forecast of unusually strong winds all week, we debated the last coat of bottom paint and our Tuesday launch reservation. Just what we wanted to do! Launch our freshly painted boat into a packed marina in 25+ knots of wind!
But had we delayed, we'd have missed our chance to launch for a week or maybe two as the yard was taken over by the boats of the ARC and Bluewater round-the-world sailing rallies, coincidentally here about the same time and all wanting bottom paint before arriving in Australia (Australia requires arriving boats to have anti-fouling less than a year old.)
So it was, after a restless and windy night, that Tackless II finally got her hull wet. Although he presented his usual together persona, inside Don was a bundle of nerves. All launchings are stressful, but this one had six new thru-hulls to worry about leaking, not to mention the big winds. To add insult to injury, when the hoist was on its way, we couldn't locate the camera for the picture that Don had long been planning in his mind – a reprise of the shot I took of him in 1996 when Tackless II was last painted after Hurricane Marilyn. We'd even found the same shirt. A friend rustled up his digital camera, but by then stuff was happening too fast to stage a matching shot, and the sun was in the wrong place anyway!
The launch went well, however, and with five or six friends on board we managed – despite the wind and despite the fact that the marina was so full there was hardly an inch to spare – to get into our assigned slip without injury.
Talk about a huge sigh of relief! Snug between our neighbors, the whistling wind seemed to blow right over the top of us, and, after a celebratory dinner and a bottle of red wine, we slept that night, lulled by the lapping of gentle wavelets, like we haven't in months!
Since the launch last Tuesday, July 6th, it's been a busy time getting the halyards run, the sails mounted, and all our loose paraphernalia out of storage and back onto the boat. In the water, our own washing machine works, so I've finally caught up on the five loads of musty clothes and linens I'd stashed in the storage trailer, now all sweetly sun-dried on the foredeck. (Sure beats the $5 per token for the questionable marina machines!) Don's got the engine and generator running, the replacement Link controller installed, the solar panels hooked up, and the watermaker flushed.
We are coming down to the last things on the list: the rebuilt deck box lid, which Baobab has had since the start of the project, which we've only now discovered doesn't quite fit; redrilling and replacing all the enclosure hardware around the cockpit; getting back the dinghy, which they haven't delivered yet; the in-water part of our insurance survey (the out-of-water part completed on that blustery Monday before launch), and a rigging check. It is looking like we have a real shot of making our required departure date of August 5th.
So, there you have it! Up to date on the saga of Tackless II in the yard. Whew. Maybe we'll be able to relax in Vanuatu!
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