Sunday, April 11, 1999

First Splash Day

She's a sailboat again.... enough of this land-lubber stuff!!! TIME MACHINE is riding calmly at slip #31 (North Bass Row). This is a temporary slip until our real slip (#107) is repaired. Saturday was a great day. Rick beat everyone to the boat (he gets the early bird prize). Bill and Jim W. and I arrived shortly after him. We were greeted by a cold on-shore wind (15-18 kts) and LOTS of water in the marina. Rick, Bill and Jim got started right away with the final sanding (crocus cloth) and cleaning (tack cloth) in preparation for the application of VC/17M. I went over to TBM to find Les and verify that we could launch on schedule. All was in order. By the time I returned to the boat, most of the bottom prep was complete. While the bottom crew finished, I sanded and preped the transom to have the name applied. Bill and Rick proceeded to apply the VC/17M. Rick taped off the waterline while Bill mixed up the first can of the VC/17M. Using the shampoo bottle trick we learned from our neighbors, it went very easy. The finish was truely smooth and uniform.

With the bottom preperations complete, Jim W. and Chuck took on the job of applying the new name. It came out PERFECT (they win the measure thrice, stick it on once prize). Sometime during all this Paul arrived and he and I setup to install the battery box covers and hold-downs. With a minimum of fuss and some re-locating of the battery terminal connections, everything fit without needing to make any new cables. Paul then moved on to replacing the water pump impellor. We ran into a snag with the pump cover phillips-head screws, which are brass and very soft. We had to remove several with the dreaded vice grips. TBM supplied replacement screws (stainless steel). A new gasket and impellor was then installed and the pump put back on the engine. The old impellor had one blade that was ready to fall off. I laid in a spare impellor and gasket in the engine supplies.

We were now WAY AHEAD of schedule. Jim and Heather went around the boat one more time with a cleaner waxer combination and made her SHINE. Chuck shifted over to the vacuum detail and did a great job of ridding the boat of the construction debris. About this time, Les and the crew pulled up with the cradle hoist and tractor. Soon we were on the way the hoists. TIME MACHINE was staged at the hoists and I climbed the ladder for the last time to remove the backstay. She would be launched bow out.

After lunch, Les and the crew brought the hoist over. The TIME MACHINE crew rustled up lots of cardboard boxes and we lined the slings with cardboard to protect the new bottom and shining free-board. Once in the slings we could apply VC/17M to the pad areas and the bottom of the keel. Now that she was ready, I gave Les the signal and the hoist inched out over the slip. When she was as far out as possible, the hoist slowly lowered her into the water. Karen and Heather documented the event with lots of pictures, which will get posted on the web-site.

Once in the water and floating on her own, but with the slings still in place, I climbed aboard to make sure that all was dry and ready. The water intake seacock was opened and the battery switch turned to the starter battery. After about 2 minutes of cranking, much smoke and worry about the lack of cooling water, the yanmar engine fired and started to purr. The new water pump assembly was pushing a steady stream of water through the block. One final check for leaks and problems down below and we were ready to proceed to the slip.

Jim, Bill, Rick, Chuck and Paul came aboard to fend off and help with the docking. Les and the marina crew dropped the slings and we motored very slowly out of the slip. The wind was blowing 22-24 knots by this time, so I put the engine in neutral and we coasted down the channel and around the corner, clearing the shallow parts with a foot of water to spare. Bill, Rick and Chuck wrestled the backstay back onto the hydraulic piston as we drifted through the harbor. Turning left into the slip channel, we ran with the wind to the slip. A hard turn to starboard and TIME MACHINE was greeted at the slip by all hands.

After some bother and fussing a proper dockline setup was made, with the aid of a spare dockline from SWEETWIND (Karen's boat). The shore power was plugged in and charger checked. All was well. The whole crew then unloaded the truck of the cushions and sails. All of a sudden the cabin was full. Quickly the forepeak cushions went in, and the sails followed, then the quarterberth cushions and then the main cabin cushions and leeboards. The dacron mainsail was bent on and flaked on top of the boom. The sail cover then went on. We did forget to put in the battens, which will have to go in before the first sail.

Now she truely is a sailboat. To celebrate every one piled into the cockpit and later into the cabin, for warmth and shelter and lots of munchies and beer was consumed.

Although we had thought about an inaugural sail.... the wind was whipping in off the lake at 24-28 kts. There was an angry 4 foot wave pattern and the temperature was dropping. Without the ability to reef the main, I thought that a cold wet first sail, would not be the way to start the season, and I called off the first sail.

Everyone felt very satisfied with the days work. No-one is happier about the way things went than the skipper. WHAT A CREW!!!

On Sunday, I went down to check of the docklines and the charger. The water level had dropped about 6 inches and dropped another 6 inches while I was there. The charger was running in Float mode and happy. I got the stereo working, cleaned the decks (which need to be scrubbed and de-scuff-marked), put another 2 sails aboard and generally organized things. I reset the docklines and then packed things up for the trip home. During the afternoon the wind died and then turned 180 degrees to the much for our high water. It also started to rain and get cold.

Our next meeting will be on the boat on Wednesday evening. We will 'leave the dock' at 1800. If we can go for a sail we will. If not, we will practice halyard work, winch work and boat part names. We can also practice the crew movements for tacking. Make sure to bring your boat shoes, and foul weather gear. The forecast is for rain!!! If possible, we will send Andy up the spar to put in the wind instruments and steaming/deck light.

I can not over state my gratitude, admiration and satisfaction with the way the crew has worked to complete the commisioning of TIME MACHINE. It has been a fun team building process and has resulted in superior workmanship all around. We are truely ready to start the next phase of the season. CREW WORK and SEAMANSHIP!!!!!