Launch...part one

February 2, 2011, launch day...

The sky is covered by swiftly blowing clouds and one star is visible through the blanket.  It’s supposed to be high tide, but the water isn’t in our favor. 

The travel lift is positioned and we’re about to drop Vitte in the water for the first time in over 10 years.  I have an irrational fear that she’s just going to sink straight to the bottom, but since we’re only working with ~7ft of water it won’t be too catastrophic.

Apparently this fear is shared by many sailors pre-launch.  Allison said she and Chris (good friends) were crossing their fingers before launching their boat, Sittori, but everything was fine and they cruised for several years before moving back on the hard.

So I have hope and faith that, even though she weighs 12 tons, she’s going to float and be the prettiest boat in the water.

6am prep

6am workshop

A good policy for those who don't respect another man's tools

Getting strapped in

A too low tide

Getting ready to move

en route

Hovering over the water of the launching dock Vitte is perched like a pregnant whale. 

Ransom watches nearby, eagle eyed, like a father to be in a delivery room. 

I was more nervous than the day of our wedding or during my thesis defense.

Heading to the water


In position

Slowly the travel lift lowered the boat closer and closer to the water until at last she was touching.

Vitte’s first dip in over 10 years.

Once in the water sea cocks were checked, fittings tightened, and the engine was turned over.



First taste

skinny dip

Almost floating

"She floats!" (Is what I yelled once I saw her buoyancy)

Soon we were ready to move to a nearby slip and see how she would do afloat.

With Father and son at the helm, we slowly made our first voyage to slip number 17.

Ransom at the wheel, father Curt nearby giving guidance, wisdom, and confidence for the first run

en route to slip 17

Safe and sound

I think she likes it   ^_^

Our first home

Once Vitte was in the water, I was eager to see how the head worked.  With instructions from Ransom, I began pumping water in…until we realized we forgot to caulk the fittings and water began to leak out.  We quickly grabbed the shop vac and towels and sucked and sopped up any water that escaped into the boat.

We were worried, but tried to calm ourselves and left the boat for dinner.  After eating we returned to the boat to make sure everything was ok…however, we found more water under the floorboards and assumed we had not gotten all the water up from the head leaking. 

The following morning we returned to the boat for work and found even MORE water under the floor!  We began pulling up floor hatches and tried to trace the leak.  It quickly became obvious that the water was not trickling from the head…so where was it coming from?

We looked at the table and the floor beneath it and decided to try to remove the large panels supporting the table.  Immediately we saw that the transducer (the thingy that tells you what the water depth is) on the starboard side was the culprit. 


The only course of action was to pull the boat out of the water and fix or replace the transducer.

Our glory was short lived…

We motored back to the launch slip and positioned Vitte into the straps of the travel lift and pulled her out of the water once again.

Thankfully Ransom’s father, Curt, graciously purchased a new transducer for us and we quickly pulled out the old and installed the new. 

Old transducer hole

Floor panel we discovered was removable

Transducer hole (ballpoint pen for scale)

Geeky side note: the old transducer was embedded in faring blocks made of wood.  Faring blocks account for the angle of the hull so the transducer is vertically positioned and can get an accurate depth reading.  When we launched the boat the wood blocks swelled and the bottom paint cracked, allowing water to seep in.  The boat was in the water for a full day before we pulled her out again and in that time the wood swelled, algae infiltrated, and the leaking subsided…a bit.

Faring block containing the transducer that was on the exterior of the hull.
(Note the cracked paint)

Exterior faring block.  This side was attached to the hull.
(Note the rust and deterioration)

Also, the interior faring block had a LOT of caulk around it and it appeared that this area had been problematic for some time. 

Although it was annoying to launch and pull out almost immediately, we learned new things about the boat and ourselves.  Overall it was a positive experience even though a lot of stress led us there.

1 comment:

Annie said...

I like all the pictures Lauren!
And I see you are representing Manda's roller derby league :)

Miss and love you guys!! Tell Rei I like her bow for me :)