Sometimes time seems to move as slowly as molten cheese drops down in slow motion from a Pizza. Yet, sometimes, you cannot even grasp what´s going on as time flies by like nothing. This duality of time might spark a philosopher´s mind, it certainly blows mine from time to time. Such as happened the last few days: You remember my last article which might have been saturated a bit with my despair over the fact that works on GEKKOs solar setup and electrical installations didn´t come to a satisfying end? I lamented that time seems to drag on, nothing really happens, nothing works … and suddenly, things go by so fast.
I brought GEKKO back from my company´s compound in Hannover where she had spent winter-time in our yard to the Baltic coast just the last weekend. Now, two days later, the wonderful crew of my new most beloved marina made it possible to squeeze in a crane date for my boat, notwithstanding the fact that more than 200 resident owners and skippers queued up for bringing their boats back to water. I just love these guys! So I went to Teerhof Island marina very early, motivated by a promising clear blue sky. Let´s do this!
Preparing the mast
I have witnessed the launching of more than 50 yachts now, including some occasions when it was my own boat. So this is technically nothing new to me. Yet, it is always an adventure and every new attempt to launch a boat makes me go crazy, at least a bit. Have I packed everything? Do I have my tools at hand? Where are the split pins? Climbing into my boat I saw the muddle in the salon – although I packed the boat with a certain system – and my anxiety was there. Well, stay calm, I thought, work methodically.
After unloading the mast I stored away the wooden mast support stands and the lashings, a major step forward as my boat now began to look like a real boat again. The guys placed the carbon mast onto two supports and left me with the words: “We have 6 more yachts to crane, yours is around noon.” It was 10 o´clock and so I started my works. Methodically, as stated, I put all the tools needed for the coming operation next to the mast.
I also placed the bag whose contents had been the shrouds underneath the mast as well as the bag containing the spreaders. A fresh roll of grab bandage to secure the fittings – let´s go! In the end, the job is easy: The spreaders, clearly marked to fit for a specific receiving end on the mast, need to be fitted first and then secured. The I placed the shrouds alongside, each one where it had the right take-up on the mast. Connecting the shrouds is a matter of half an hour for all of them 6 stainless-steel wires, I also finally fitted a Radar reflector, something I had on my onboard-safety list but never installed last year.
Windex, VHF-antenna and some minor applications followed. It all in all took me less than two hours, and I was a bit proud of myself: Alone, without any support and without the owner´s book. Nice! “Let´s do a splash down!”, Thomas, Lord of the Crane, whistled and I unlashed the boat from the trailer. Connecting the lifting straps, I stayed on the boat when he raised the First 27 SE half a meter. I climbed inside, kneeled down in the fore cabin to insert the depth sounder and log. Thumbs up, I gave him – in the meantime he had swung the boat gently over the water and a few seconds later GEKKO was swimming again. What a joy!
Hitting the water
I quickly fitted some fenders, in the meantime the fast crane crew already had my mast lashed up and in the air. With the precision of a well-trained old hand Thomas placed it on the stand, whereas I waited down in the salon to receive the wires for VHF, nav lights and wind sensor. Returning back on deck, the guys already had secured the shrouds and the forestay, Michael, Thomas´ brother and one of the two bosses of the marina said: “Go to that berth over there, we do two or three more boats, I will drop by and finish fine trimming of the standing rigging.” He smiled, I was astonished of the fast work of the boys and so they set off, leaving me aboard alone.
I saw my new temporary berth vis a vis. Just around the pontoon. As water level was pretty low – depth sounder showed just 1.7 metres (I do have a draft of 2 metres straight) so I couldn´t lower the keel which made the sensation of going around on my boat even more intense. Fitting the mooring lines for the first time in months again was a harbinger of the good vibrations and happy feeling I shall feel just a few minutes later …
A litte bit of contemplation
Casting off, just as gently, the boat drifted away from the craning berth, pushed back by a tiny breeze. I started the engine which murmured ever so slightly, rudder had to starboard, I was on my way – and it felt awesome! At last back on my own boat, at last bearer of my own steering, negotiating on my very own boat. What a joy indeed!
A joy that was suddenly elevated as I came by the had of the pontoon that I had to round to reach my berth: A brand new Oceanis 51.1 waited there. Our Oceanis, the boat I visited with our client just half a year ago in the yard and followed on her last mils on the transport truck. She is now ending her commissioning and awaits handover by the end of this week. A pretty impressive yacht by all means. But … well, but I was happy not to be owning one of these. No craving for more feet, no hunger for a bigger boat. I just was happy about my own little small Seascape.
This was because I knew – apart from the huge budget needed to buy a +50 feet yacht brand new – how much work is inside, how many times more complex and complicated a yacht like this would be. No chance to do a splash and de-winterizing efforts on this boat alone. Maintaining these huge electric winches, the sheer weight of the mainsail alone … the complexity of the wireless digital computers. Well, I suddenly was very happy.
I cannot wait …
Now, GEKKO is awaiting her final rigging: Connecting the boom, installing the sails and having the running rigging fitted accordingly. Halyards, sheets and reefing lines, lazy bag and Cunningham. I also will have to connect a handful of wires to the corresponding jacks to make the electronic system work. Another 3 to 4 hours of work. Cleaning the boat from the dust of our workshop, putting in nav- and galley-boxes and she will be ready for new adventures in under a day´s work.
I am not sad that my Atlantic Loop-project is postponed: Somehow the idea that I had planned to be leaving for the Canaries just right now, starting May, seems suddenly so far away. Now, instead, I look so forward to have my boys aboard just the coming weekend. Maybe spend the first night at anchor, playing a game of Chess with my older son, trying to get a got shot of the Moon with my younger. I kind of seem to appreciate those little things in life much more now. Just as my little-big boat, which I hold so dear. Now – let´s get her ready and set sails!
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