2014-07-26

She Floats! Putting the Catalina 22 in the Water

First launch was a success! The day was not without its share of hiccups, which we've been warned is standard operating procedure, but it was a great day nonetheless.

Not only was it our first attempt at launching our new-to-us boat, it was our first attempt at launching any boat...Ever. We were of course a little nervous. We had gone over all the things we'd need to do the night before and made lists. We got up super early, dragging ourselves and the kids out of bed, excited by the prospect of a fun day out on the water, a new adventure for us all. We were blissfully unaware of all the things we didn't yet know!

Once the trailer was hooked up to the car, we drove down to the boat ramp, arriving before 6:30am, to make sure we'd be able to get our choice of parking spots from which to step the mast. Trailering the boat with our Caravan is pretty much right on the limit of what it can handle, but as the trip is less than 3 miles from house to boat ramp, it's very doable. Backed in, wheels chocked, ladder set up and cabin open. We set about the task of raising the mast. With the mast propped up and walked back, the mast bolt went in without any trouble. We started hooking up the gin pole, but soon realized we couldn't get the jib halyard to budge. With the mast head now well out of reach from the boat or the ground, we scratched our heads for a bit before realizing the 2 inch strap securing the gin pole to the mast had been accidentally wrapped around the jib halyard as well, underneath the mast and out of sight!

With the jib halyard freed, the mast went up relatively easily, alternately cranking, then stopping a couple of times mid-raise to free shrouds that were determined to get caught on each and every protruding cleat, cam or bolt on the deck. With our mast raising system, only the two forward shrouds and the rolling furler jib (which incorporates the forestay) have to be removed and reconnected/retensioned. We'd decided that for our first run, we'd just get the boat off the trailer and motor over to a nearby public dock and hang out, and tie up for the night in another nearby marina's guest moorage. With the mast up and secure, we started loading the rest of the things we'd need for our day out. Water, check. PFDs, check. Lines, check. Keel raised, check. Gas can.......gas can......DOH! We drove off this morning without loading the gas can, kind of a must-have for motoring. We quickly unhooked the trailer from the van and Greg drove back home to get the gas can.

While waiting for Greg to return, a very nice and curious guy named Charlie came over and asked me about how we went about raising our mast. Charlie it turns out also has a Catalina 22, in the water just a few houses away from the boat launch. I showed Charlie the pieces of our mast-raising system, explained the mechanics of it and gave him my email address to send him a link to the construction details. Little did I know that just a little while later, Charlie was going to be my guardian angel!

....to be continued

Fantasia under sail
Fantasia under sail, with a Kenmore Air seaplane taking off and kayakers

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