The day had finally dawned! Today we would see our new home actually float!
Was it sensible to buy a boat having never sailed her….. erm probably not! but it had suited us to buy her ashore to complete the survey jobs before splashing her. Given the pedigree of the designer and builder and the magazine reviews, accolades and awards she had won, we felt pretty sure she wouldn't disappoint!
We ran through all the below water openings one more time and double checked that the engine and the bow thruster were ready to run - we hadn't been able to run the engine up in the cradle and it was faith in the low hours, good service history and our preparatory work that we were relying on - once in the water we would have only a few minutes on the waiting pontoon and then we would have to motor around to our new pontoon mooring, as there was another boat being launched straight after us… no pressure!
The super efficient team arrived, lifted her off the ground and we walked around with our cameras running and tummies full of butterflies as she was carefully manoeuvred off the gantry and through the yard to the awaiting hoist!
We had been working full long days since the day she was ours, to get her ready for this moment and its unlike any other feeling - a yacht literally comes to life in the water and we were super excited to get to know how she felt in the water and for her to be back in her true element.
It was raining (first time in weeks… typical) but we didn't care, we were both so excited and the culmination of weeks of work and years of planning was about to come to fruition.
As the straps of the hoist took the weight and lifted her off her cradle, our butterflies multiplied and the grins on our faces kept getting wider and wider. The hoist operators then gently guided her into position over the water and then she was slowly lowered …. the keel touched the water then quickly disappeared, followed by the rudders ….. then as we both watched, the straps on the hoist went slack… that was it! she was afloat!
I thrust my camera into Sarah’s hands so I could get down the ladder to where the boat was being tied up and quickly jumped aboard, she barely moved the centre of gravity is so low, I barely made a difference on the deck.
I rush below and make my way around all the below water openings, taking perhaps more time over the ones that we had serviced. I get to the log and depth sounder and to my horror water is gushing in around the log - I had lubricated the o rings and cleaned it all thoroughly but it needed to be tightened a little more - I rush up and tell the lift guys to hold fire for two minutes while I fix it - grabbing a rag, I tighten the log a fraction more and to my great relief the flow of water stops!
"Thanks guys, all good" - she was walked back onto the waiting pontoon and the big hoist moveed away - "if you could be clear in five minutes that would be great ! " Another boat was launching directly behind us!
Lump in throat I walk to the wheel and having checked all the breakers are in the right position I press the start button on the Volvo Penta engine - A broad Grin covers my face when it fires right up, Sarah looks back from the bow and shouts - "did that start on the first button push?!”
Next we power up the bow thruster and check it works - again all good except the switch works in the opposite way that intuition would dictate - that's going to be interesting!
We slow time make our plan for the prevailing wind and tide to get her to her new mooring. We slip the lines and before we know it we are motoring our new home off the waiting pontoon - it feels amazing and the adrenaline is running high. But sod's law the wind is building and the tide is streaming in - what great timing!
We arrive at the pontoon to gusts of 20 knots pushing us sideways - we make an approach but its clear we can’t get in and I bail out spinning the boat using the bow thruster and swinging her around for another approach - this time its better, but again we are being pushed quickly sideways, a good push of the throttle and we barge our way in - once we were in, Sarah looked at the side of the boat and thought we’d put a three foot long scrape in her paintwork but thankfully it was just a white rubbing mark from the corner fenders on the finger pontoon - we tie up, have a celebratory cup of tea and then I grab a cloth, some rubbing compound and start to remove the evidence of our bad parking. Over the next few hours we watch many others try and park in side winds and we feel much better about our efforts, as other clatter their way into their spaces. (Over the coming weeks we get quite adept at getting the boat on and off the mooring and we have come to accept, that with less than a foot of clearance each side of the boat, getting into our space bump free is an imperfect exercise at best!)
By the evening the wind had dropped and the odd movements of being in the cradle are all gone, she is supremely stable and still. We had a truly epic nights sleep after a mammoth day!
Given Time is the most comfortable, cosy home we have ever had - she also just happens to be an ocean going yacht.
Are we missing living in a house? - no, not at all and the feeling of being free of all that extra stuff is utterly liberating!