Today I couldn´t hold my enthusiasm, I couldn´t curb my energy and could not hold back myself anymore: As temperatures are now regularly above 15 degrees Celsius and the winter seems to be defeated by spring full force, I juts dd not want to hold back myself. We have the first client boats in the water and I receive videos and whatsapp-snapshots of our owners, proudly presenting their yachts back in the water: Damn! It really aches in my fingertips! I want to be in the water with my boat as well!
One hurdle yet to take: GEKKO is not finished. Sadly, unfortunately and embarrassingly enough, we did not manage to make her ready for the water over winter time: The solar project is not completed due to the lack of parts we need now and then, the (hopefully!) last tumbler switch is going to arrive next week. Also, it was (and it still is!) much more complicated than initially thought to mount and wire the solar array. Well, nevertheless, I decided: “The boat must hit the water now!”
A last trial to get the solar-array working
Happily enough, our electrician Jens agreed to meet me on Saturday in our yard: I had brought my kids and they just loved to discover this adventurous new playground of a shipyard, the adjacent marina and the canal. As the spring birds were singing, we left the four to roam about and climbed into the salon of GEKKO to check things.
Last time, everything had been connected, the solar array seemed to work just fine: The chargers had green LEDs blinking and all appeared to be working as planned. But when I started the Torqeedo-engine it did not work. Taking off the solar array from the circuit, the engine worked again – so there must have been a failure somewhere in the whole installation. This was task #1 for Jens and he immediately started his search like a detective trying to find a murderer.
Well, we couldn´t get it running completely: As it seems, the solar power is transferred into the battery and also, the re-loading feature (see my article on the battery contradiction of my boat) also appears to be working well. Yet, the system produces a failure-code on the display as well monitoring is not possible. I guess, I will have to hire the professionals on this one … a bit of a setback, I must admit, but anyway, I started to make her ready to go on the road. It is time to go sailing, no matter what!
Packing the stuff: Micro-cruising?
So I started to get together all the things we would need to put her back to the water again: GEKKOs belongings, parts, running rigging, sails and all the stuff had been put into our commissioning store and whilst I was bringing the parts down to the transporter I realized how much stuff even a small boat like mine had to carry. The term #microcruising that I invented and try to connect with my attempt to have maximum cruising comforts with minimum equipment became a bit washy.
It´s a load of stuff, indeed! I had to make the tour approximately a dozen times or so, stairs up, loading and stairs down to the Ranger truck. Anyways, I was happy to see that everything was still there and had been safely stored through winter and now, seeing the cargo space of our truck fully laden, I just couldn´t wait to go on. I also removed the dust from my sails, the motor of my boat, checked the laminates and whether everything was fine, and brought them to the yard. Now, here it was: The whole equipment for a small 27 feet boat except for my navigational and galley-stuff which I had kept at home in my flat. Ready to go?
Back to the coast: Ready for the road
In the meantime Finn arrived, our skilled boat builder, regatta sailor and master rigger of my company. He had also agreed to lend a helping hand over weekend (great staff we have, haven´t we?) and so I started to fix the wooden mast support-beams for transport to GEKKO. All the while Finn used the time to check my mast and forestay (with flatdeck furling for the Jib) if it was ready for transport. Loading the mast is a no-brainer with our yard-crane, securing it to the boat took some twenty minutes more and after checking the transport straps I deemed GEKKO ready to go. Up until now we had spent a total of 2.5 hours to make her transport-worthy, I must say that I much more fancy sailing than this job, it´s always a pain in the ass to load, to stack, to check and to store. But it must be done and now that we have been through, I was happy.
Our yard is a bit tricky, driving-wise. The entrance is obstacle with two very sharp turns, extremely narrow. Now, I don´t fear driving with a boat attached to my car and have no problem in negotiating turns and corners, but this is a tough one and I hate it – luckily, my boss apparently had as well a kind of boring Saturday and he agreed to come by to help driving out my boat through the hellish cramped entrance to the street, which he did with such ease that I somehow felt embarrassed. Well … that makes the difference between the elder, experienced guys and me, a rookie still.
Arriving at the Sea, at last!
“Allright, boys!”, I said: “Thank you so much for spending this weekend with me!” Shaking hands and giving my guys a hug, I for the last time checked the trailer, my boat and the truck, strapped my boys into their seats (why, by the way, absolutely loved the idea to drive around in a real pick-up truck) and we parted: What a great team of cool guys we have, I thought. Now, that I today acted from our client´s perspective, I was absolutely grateful for them to agreeing on working on a weekend´s day so that I can get my boat to the water finally. A service, we provide to our “real” clients regularly. Driving back to Luebeck was a no-brainer. The choice for a high-quality trailer is – even if you just need it twice a year like me – a better one. Saving money here will make your head ache: Cheap trailers won´t have a smooth directional stability and start rumbling and rocking. This is not just annoying over time but those vibrations can indeed damage the trailer, the tow-coupling and even your beloved boat.
We´ve had a smooth 3-hours ride from our headquarter in Hannover to the coast – namely to the Teerhof Island where I will bring GEKKO back to the water. What a day! Exciting, enervating, lovely – a really densely packed day of much work, a bit of a disappointment about not being able to get the solar-array running finally – yet. But now, seeing the boat being parked only a few metres away from the very crane that will put her back to the water again finally makes me happy. It´s just 24 hours waiting time and she will be floating again, ready for a new sailing season, ready for new adventures, for new training sessions to improve my sailing skills and certainly ready for much, much more sailing fun with my family, my beloved ones and my friends. I hope, you have a similar elevating experience with your own boats, dearest readers.
You might as well like to read these connected articles:
First 500 miles in my new First 27 SE sailboat, a résumé
Tweaking the sails setup of GEKKO
First time sailing my new boat