The Mother of All Updates............it's been a
VERY busy couple of months! So, where were we??? Rudder re-install.
Seems like so very very long ago. Replacing the rudder was
straightforward. With help from one of the sailors who'd been
volunteering on Ocean Planet (Bruce
Schwab's Open 60 being refit at Portland Yacht Services... here is
their DRAMATIC launch:)
Neil got the rudder shaft into the shaft
tube. The rudder has a massive web inside and weighs about 210 pounds,
so getting it up there was no mean feat. We put a floor jack and several
pieces of blocking wood under the rudder and levered it into position
(as you can see in the photo.) Replacing the rudder shoe and bearings
inside the boat was remarkably easy, which Neil was not expecting. It's
always great when a project you think is going to be really difficult
goes so easily! (Makes up for the times when a 10 minute simple project
takes all weekend!!!)
After the rudder, we were in the WHIRLWIND of
pre-launch craziness. I doubt we can remember everything we did, but
we'll give it a shot:
Installed prop and zinc. Serviced all the
through-hulls. Last minute cabinetry projects. Our good friend Dave
Fields had finished the gorgeous interior doors he'd been making and I
varnished them; Neil was working on buffing and waxing the hull into the
late night hours right up until the launch (THANK YOU to Rodd Collins
for putting in the hours and sharing his tools and expertise to help get
that huge project done!).
We got the name decal back and I started applying
it on Friday night (launch was scheduled for Tuesday). The two colors
(dark blue outline and gold letters) came separately, I applied the blue
and then started on the gold. Following the advise of the signmaker, I
cut the letters apart to apply separately, to get the closest alignment.
I began with the "Z". It was nerve-wracking, trying to align
the letter perfectly with the blue underneath....I stuck down the top of
the Z and then: yikes! the rest of the letter did not match up! I was so
mad, I thought that they had made some error in the printing. It was
Friday and I could do nothing until Monday morning. On Monday, I called
the signmaker and they sent someone over with a new batch of gold
letters. Turns out (DUH!!!!!) I had applied the Z upside down. Boy did I
feel stupid! Anyway, the name came out beautifully in the end.
Over the weekend, tons of things got finished. One
thing we needed to do was to plumb the bilge pump and the engine
exhaust. Neil tackled the engine exhaust with the help of a fellow
cruiser named Stewart (at the docks with his Australian family in their
awesome steel boat Vladvark: Liv made fast friends with their
daughter!) It was straightforward until we reached the transom. Mariner
had recessed the area of the hull where the exhaust outlet fitting was,
making it impossible to put a hose clamp on. It was also very difficult
to access: Neil was on his head upside down contorted under the aft
berth for hours. Stewart gamely spent his evening under there as well.
After several hours and 10 beers, Man triumphed over Machine.
Similarly, Neil and Tony (of s/v
Sea Muffin) fought the Battle of the Bilge... Rule, the most popular
maker of bilge pumps, supplies their 2000 model with 1-1/8"
outlets. In order for the pump to be most effective, you must use
1-1/8" hose. The problem is, it is nearly impossible to find
fittings and adapters for that obscurely sized hose. Several days
before, Neil had plumbed the vented loop for the bilge pump; the hose
passes under the sole through the stringers and up the side of the water
tank (a very tight fit) to the loop and exit in the side of the hull.
The hose was not long enough to reach the bottom of the bilge. We could
not find a 1-1/8" straight hose-to-hose adapter to add on another
length, so we decided to change the entire length of hose out for one
continuous length. We were using the dreaded white sanitation hose
(highly rated but a total bear to work with!) Changing the hose SHOULD
have been straightforward, but alas it was not to be. The new hose wound
up feeding itself into an ever-tightening crevice between the water tank
and the bulkhead. Like the Chinese Finger Torture, it would not come out
under strain, only tighten more. What started out as a fun project with
Neil and Tony talking like the Hulk (don't ask...) became a grueling
three and a half battle with one piece of hose. Tools tried: prybar,
various pliers and wrenches, silicone spray, Bacardi Gold, hacksaw
blade (they finally decided it wouldn't move so must be cut out.) The
final victorious tool ended up being the mighty Fein Multimaster with a
radial blade. Neil was able to slice the hose and splice it to another
piece with a piece of 1" copper tube as an adapter. It took another
2 1/2 weeks for Neil's forearms to heal after this epic battle. Hulk
sad. Hulk smash.
Meanwhile, our insurance survey was scheduled for
Monday morning, so all weekend we were tying up projects to get the boat
ready to be surveyed. Tim
Lackey, who has done amazing restorations of his own boats, did our
survey for us and we got it to the insurer in record time so that we'd
be insured at the launch the next day. During the survey we had Bubba's
Fuel Polishing clean our tanks and polish our fuel. Neil was moving
boxes and supplies around between our various storage locations so we
could load as much stuff as possible onto the boat before the launch.
Actually the day is a total blur. I am sure that we were ridiculously
busy all day long but I can't remember what we actually did!!!
We were scheduled for a 2:30 pm launch on Tuesday.
We were busy all morning getting last-minute things done, and were
relieved when the boat hauler, Bucky, informed us that we'd be a little
bit later than that: it gave us a little more time to complete things.
Meanwhile, many friends had shown up for the
launch, including some from rather far away, Leo Corsetti from Boston
and Al Schober from Connecticut, both of whom we knew from our days as
Tartan owners. Al had incredibly generously brought us 250' of anchor
chain from Defender where he works; he'd collected donations from two
other members of the Cruising World Bulletin Board, Mike from s/v
Sannyasin and Chris Cardin in Washington state, and it was a very much
appreciated gift! Al dragged it up to Maine in the back of his car and
we loaded it up using the new windlass on Tuesday morning.
Olivia and I made a wreath for Zora's bow out of
mostly wildflowers we picked in Portland Yacht Services's "Back
40"... (now some of you who read this will think: Why waste your
time on something so frivolous? Just go sailing!!.... but it made us
very happy; we continue to add beauty and joy to our lives every day and
isn't that what it's all about?)...
We put out a celebratory picnic and drinks for our
friends and all the great Portland Yacht Services people.... and waited
for Bucky to come launch the boat. I was so excited: the whole thing
just seemed so totally surreal. It was almost beyond my comprehension
that Zora was going into the water. Our lives for so long had been all
about working on the boat, just working on her, and it was really hard
to shift my mind to seeing her as an actual BOAT rather than as this
colossal job we had to do.
So we waited some more. We could not reach Bucky,
who had gone to launch another boat at an inland lake. The lovely sunny
day was clouding over and it started to rain. We moved inside the big,
cold, damp building and worried. The yard was saying we were losing our
water: it would soon be too low tide to launch. It looked like we
weren't going to be able to launch that day.... some tears were shed. At
one point, when the thunder and rain started and we were still a little
bit hopeful that Bucky would get there in time, one of the yard
employees came up to me and said, "Well, you're not planning to
launch today, even if Bucky shows up, right?" huh???? "It's
real bad luck to launch at PYS in a thunderstorm...you'll regret
it.....you'll have all kinds of problems....." That really put me
over the edge, I must say. Yeah, I am a little superstitious about boat
things, and that was just NOT what I needed to hear tight then on top of
everything else that seemed to be going wrong!!!!!
4:30 came and went and the yard folks all went
home. We were about to give up, when suddenly there was the rumble of a
big truck and Bucky arrived! At the same time the rain stopped and the
sun began to come out: we were on!!!!!!!!!!!
There was a frantic scramble as we rounded up
Olivia and the champagne for the launch, and climbed aboard....
As we rolled out into the sunlight we looked
around at our beautiful boat: we'd never seen her in the natural light
before, and the paint and varnish looked gorgeous...
Bucky backed us into the water a bit, then stopped
and turned off the truck so that Liv could read the re-naming ceremony.
With the proper reverence and libations offered to Poseidon and crew, we
christened her Zora...
And she was launched!!!!!
Although we hadn't planned on it (honestly I had
not been able to think past the launch itself!) Olivia insisted that we
sleep aboard that night. The next morning we awoke to our beautiful
boat...... and the start of our dream cruise..... (for more fantastic
launch pictures, see Tony's site...)
Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who
helped us make our dream come true...
the launch...on next page...