Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Launch

Better settle in and get comfortable!  This one's kind of long....   
Here's the story of the days leading up to and including the Launch of our new sailboat! 

Sunday, October 27th:
Cody and I spent the morning building our mast.  We had glued together the planks a few days before, and were assembling the box that day.  It was quite a process- we had put together about 35 simple clamps, and built long blocks that support the hollow form at crucial points- where the spreaders attach, where the boom attaches, and at the base and the top.  So we got everything lined up, rolled on the epoxy, and then battled the breeze as it blew hundreds of leaves onto the sticky mast.  I felt like there was something wrong with cursing the wind while we were building the mast- which will depend entirely on a good breeze to function in the future, so I tried to stay as calm as possible, and pick out the little leaves as best I could.  

We were building in our friend JW's backyard.  Thanks, JW!! 
The dry fit.
  It was sunny but chilly that morning.  I wished I had brought my swimsuit so we could warm up in JW's hot tub when we were done!  

One of the support blocks.  
Cody cut "fingers" into the blocks to distribute the load evenly, and not create a "hard spot" in the mast.  If the block just ended abruptly, the mast would want to bend at that spot, not evenly throughout the length of the mast.  

We had asked a group of friends to help us roll the boat out of the shop, and had planned to meet them  at 3.  We finished glueing and clamping the mast at about 2:30,  Cody left JW's at about 2:45, and I stayed to clean up and wrap the mast in plastic sheeting (there was rain in the forecast) before leaving at about 3:15.  

This roll-out went about as smoothly as the last one.  There were some minor hiccups along the way, but nothing went terribly wrong.  With the boat supported only on a super strong axle in the middle and a some training wheels in the back it was surprisingly stable.  No one was hurt, and the boat was unscathed and in position for the crane.  

A HUGE thanks to our wonderful friends-  Mitch and Katie Dumke, PJ and Sarah Mannion, and Maddie and Tyler McQueen!  Thanks for the photos and videos, for your muscle and grit, the moral support,  and the psych you brought to the job!  We can't wait to take you all out sailing!  

L-R:  Beth, Maddie, Katie, and Sarah
The lovely ladies, checking out the interior.  

Beautiful Rabannah, ready for the crane.  

So psyched!  

The boat from the roof of the shop.  

We went home exhausted that night.  

Monday, October 28th:

We arrived at the shop early, and set to work.  We began clearing out the shop, taking apart the cradle, and cleaning the boat.  

Rabannah at Sunrise....   

Cody left to pick up the truck we were borrowing around 9am, and headed to the Salt Lake Marina, to pick up the trailer were were also borrowing.  

He arrived back at the shop around 12, and I was just heading out to pick up some lunch, when I saw the crane turning into the shop parking lot.  I whipped around and the action began!  

The crane operator began his set up, and Cody backed the trailer into position.  I was a nervous nelly- running around, trying to help.  I don't know how effective I really was, so I sat out for a while and took some video.    

Once the boat was heading onto the trailer, they needed more hands, so I helped adjust the blocking under the keel and tighten the pads against the boat.  She settled happily onto the trailer, we paid the friendly crane operator and helped him pack up his straps.  Then we moved the boat so it was right in front of the shop, and headed out to get a late lunch.  

After lunch, we headed back to the shop, and worked on finishing up odds and ends.

The 29th and 30th were fairly uneventful- lots more work on the boat and cleaning of the shop.  Cody's friend Andy came down to take advantage of the newly spacious shop to build some "volumes" for his new climbing gym in Park City.  I  think they look pretty rad!   

Thursday, October 31st: 

Crunch time begins in earnest.  We're cleaning out the shop, organizing tools, finishing the volumes, working on the last few odds and ends for the boat... We practically fill the dumpster by ourselves.  We're brainstorming how to get the mast up on the boat, how to strap it down...  

It's a full and busy day.  We took an hour or so in the evening to visit PJ and Sarah for our traditional Halloween goulash.  We picked up John Little's truck, and headed back down to the shop.  There was still more cleaning to be done, not to mention hooking up the truck, loading the mast, and more.  

We arrive back to the shop and hook up the truck to find that the trailer lights don't work.  Cody went to work trying to fix the lights which were in total disarray. After an hour and half of frustration he gave  up and settled for having just one light working.  We noticed that the lights were pretty dim on the truck we had borrowed and when we went to start it, it wouldn't.  We figured it had just gone flat while testing the trailer lights so many times. 

At this point we are both very tired and still don't want to risk driving at night to get the mast with the trailer lights the way they are.  So we decide to call it quits for the night and try and get a few hours of sleep.  We start to drive home in the truck and it dies almost immediately.  It is about 1:00am at this point and we realize that we now don't have a working truck to get our boat to the water with.  Its too late to fix it and we really don't have another option for borrowing a truck.  So we jump the truck again and get it back to the shop, then take our car home.  

We sleep for a few hours and then get up with a plan that just might work. There was another party of boaters that will be putting a boat onto the trailer right after we hopefully get ours off.  The plan is to call this guy Mike and see if he could tow our boat out to the marina, as he will be driving a truck out anyway.  We try to get ahold of him, and keep trying, but for nothing.  Eventually we decided that we were just going to go for it.  

The problem with the truck, as Cody determined, was the alternator was dead.  Which means that no power is going to the batteries, but if we were to charge the batteries for long enough we could maybe have enough juice to get to the marina.  We didn't have much time to spare on charging at this point, so we charged for 30 minutes ffffusing jumper cables and the Jetta. 

As soon as the cables came off the clock started counting down. We rush the truck to the trailer and hook it up. Cody timidly starts to pull away and the trailer jumps off the hitch!!  Oh my god! What else can possibly go wrong?!  We hook it back up and without a moment to waste, go for it.  Cody was too afraid to use the lights for fear that they would wear out the batteries, so in the early dawn we drove to the marina, with me following in the Jetta.  We had hoped to miss traffic, but with the later start than expected we hit it at full force.  Every second was agony, just waiting for the truck to die.  We just kept hoping, at least make it to I-80.  Then we made it to I-80, and started hoping to just make it to the marina exit, and we made that too.  We even made it to the marina and when Dave, the harbor master told us to "park over there"  we started to pull forward and the batteries ran out, just as we coasted into position. 

There were lots of eyes on the boat, and Cody and I answered lots of questions.  We were slated to be the third boat in the line up, and had a bit of time to prepare our dock lines and fenders.  PJ and Sarah came out with their girls to help and watch the launch- and they even brought us bagels.  Bless their hearts.  

PJ made a little video for us that afternoon- check it out here: 

It was a pretty incredible sight- the boat went so high up in the air- over a fence, down a steep hill and into the water.  Sarah was pointing to the boat and saying to Fisher- "Look!  It's like the pirate ship in Peter Pan!" and it was.  She sailed through the air gracefully, and settled down right where we had hoped she would- a little nose heavy, and above her waterline.  The Great Salt Lake is much saltier than the ocean, so everything floats higher in the water.  Also, Rabannah was unloaded, and there's more storage space in the stern area, so that weight will eventually even her out.    

We breathed a HUGE sigh of relief as the crane straps came off, and Sarah and I fought back tears.
  It was a beautiful sight.  We hopped aboard and began checking through-hulls to check for leaks, but they were all bone dry.  

There were 12 boats going in or out of the water that day, and we hung around and watched and waited for the activity to die down.  As we don't have an engine ready to move us, we just stayed in a temporary slip until the crane was done with it's lifting.  Then Cody hopped in the dinghy and rowed us to our official slip.  The boat moved easily through the water, and it was a real treat for both of us.  I got to stand at the helm, steering Rabbanah home, and Cody got to watch her slipping gracefully through the lake.  

We tied off to the dock, and met our neighbors, who advised us on which way the wind comes into the marina most often, and how best to tie up.  It was afternoon at this point, and we still had to charge the truck to get back to town, and we were getting hungry.  We reluctantly left Rabannah, bobbing gently and glinting in the sun.  

We dropped the truck off, and let John know about the alternator.  He apologized unnecessarily, and we thanked him for letting us use his truck, and offered to work on it to get it up and running again.  

We headed to the Blue Plate diner nearby, and had a big lunch- we were really starving!  I had a great eggs benedict with smoked salmon and homefries, Cody got the buffalo burger.  We topped it off with a truly amazing oreo milkshake.  It was probably the best milkshake I've ever had.  

Then, it was back to the shop- for the last time.  We talked to our landlord to let him know we were a little behind in the move-out process, and he said that it was fine.  We had just a little more cleaning out to do- and more dumpster filling.  We took apart the tablesaw, swept the floors, and said farewell to Shop 61.  We didn't get to see it completely empty- the new tenant showed up as we were finishing, and started bringing in his tools.  He seemed just as excited to start his auto-body business as we were to start building our boat.  
Life goes on, I guess.  

February, 2012

November, 2013
All told, it took us 1 year and 9 months.  We've invested approximately $30,000 into the project.  We're not quite done yet- we've still got to finish the mast and install it, install the rig, and buy some sails.  There's lots of hardware that needs to be installed on the deck.  We need to install a few more instruments- a depth sounder, maybe a speedometer.   But we've completed a big phase of the project, which feels really good.  

Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement and help!