Since I was able to take a few mornings off from work, Wednesday the 4th and Thursday the 5th found us at Shenny bright and early to try to finish up some final tasks. Priority number one was to put two coats of bottom paint under the poppets. The weather had made it difficult so it was down to the wire, but by 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday we had crossed it off of the list. Everything else from that point on would be gravy.
We were so busy that everything is pretty much a blur, but I do remember that we were finally able to get Pegu-teeny in the water on Thursday:
We were scheduled to launch at 8:00 a.m. on Friday the 6th, and I was hoping for three things: the weather would be decent, the winds would be light, and Pegu Club would be placed in the water with her bow facing out so we wouldn’t have to back out of the slip. We went zero for three.
Friday arrived with clouds and showers and a windy forecast with 20 mph gusts predicted. We were at Shenny at 7:30 a.m., and right on time thirty minutes later the travel lift rumbled over to where Pegu Club had spent the last 8 1/2 months. I had brought the GoPro hoping to get a few clips, but Shenny members are required to assist in their boat’s launch (and haul-out), so I wasn’t able to get any real footage. Just one grainy shot of her rolling towards the launch area:
We had Pegu Club’s mast and spreaders ready, so almost before we knew it she was being lowered into the water. Stern facing out of the slip. Doh! We were going to have to back out. There wasn’t any time to dwell on that, however, because as promised by Chris the dock master Pegu Club was sitting in her slings so that we could check to make sure we didn’t have any leaks. It was the moment of truth. Time to see if our fiberglass work was successful, along with our thruhull and seacock installations. Jeff and I inspected everything closely, and not a drop of water was found – hooray!
As the wind steadily increased, Pegu Club’s mast was stepped with only a slight delay when the wind tangled up a halyard. Jeff and I scurried around attaching the stays onto the chainplates, and once that was all set the guys walked away. I couldn’t stay in denial any longer. We were going to have to back Pegu Club – a boat we had only motored two times up until then – out of the slip.
Sailboats don’t tend to back up straight like a car. Because of the location of the propeller and the rudder, they tend to pull to one side or the other – something known as prop walk. People can make prop walk work for them once they get to know how their boat handles. But with our extremely limited experience with Pegu Club, we most certainly didn’t know how she handled.
I was practically hyperventilating as I put her in reverse, certain that we were doomed. We had put all of this work into Pegu Club and now I was going to crash her into the docks. Jeff cheered me on and remind me to breathe while he kept the boat hook at the ready to fend off pilings that were coming a bit too close.
The wind did a good job on its own backing Pegu Club out of the slip, and somehow we managed to make a K turn without hitting anything to get her turned around. I’m still not sure how we pulled that off. Finally we were motoring down the fairway to our mooring – our mooring that wasn’t installed.
Despite my giving six weeks notice to the guy who sets our mooring, he had waited until the very last minute and was out there installing it as we came down the fairway. We motored around for a while in the building winds hoping that he was almost finished, but after a few minutes it was clear that we were going to have to tie up the fuel dock. Gah! We are not dock people! We are mooring people, damn it! This day was not turning out to be the exciting, happy day that I had hoped for. Instead it was taking years off of my life.
Somehow we managed to dock without incident despite breaking the rule of docking into the wind where possible. Hey, it had been 8 1/2 months since we were in the water and we were a bit stressed. Fortunately we managed to avoid pulling Charlie, the long-time Shenny launch operator and dock hand, into the water as he tried to help us.
By this time I was thoroughly freaked out, but soon our mooring was ready and it was time to try to leave the dock without hitting the launch tender that was parked in front of us. This was something that I was particularly concerned about given that the wind was behind us thanks to our poor docking technique. Doh! Charlie talked us through what to do and gave Pegu Club a good shove, and we were safely away.
After all of that stress we picked up the mooring like we had done it a million times before (see, we’re mooring people), and we shut off the engine. Whew! It was 10:00. If we’d had any booze on board I would have poured myself a drink. Eventually we headed off to work, wired and tired, but glad that Pegu Club was finally in the water.
The weekend weather was not conducive to a maiden voyage. Saturday was rainy and Sunday started out with rain. As the rain cleared the wind picked up to 30 mph gusts. Not good for a first sail on a new-to-us boat. Nevertheless, we spent both days on Pegu Club getting things put away, making a new to-do list (we seem to have a mystery leak – above the waterline thankfully), and getting her rigged. We also spent some time relaxing – something I need to relearn how to do on our boat.
At this time the forecast looks good for the weekend, so hopefully we’ll be taking Pegu Club on her maiden voyage. As Ellie says in Pixar’s “Up”, “Adventure is out there!!”