Launching and Sailing Log for 19 April 2003

I first "met" Jeff Maher back in 2000, when he contacted me by email after reading some of this website.  It seems that he had the opportunity to acquire a Triton in very poor condition, but he had no experience with boats and restoration and was looking for advice and (maybe) encouragement.

Triton 30 arrives in South Dartmouth, sometime in 2000At the time, I was involved in the depths of Glissando's restoration; yet I still encouraged Jeff to go for it and accept the boat.  He did, and before long the sadly neglected boat had found a new home in his backyard.  She was in a sorry state, having been neglected for some time and languishing in a driveway since 1991.  Her decks were soft and rotted; the hull, which had been Awlgripped by her previous owner, had blistered and peeled; the interior was a nightmare of dirt, mildew, and rotten wood.

We continued to correspond as Jeff got to work on his project, and eventually had opportunity to meet in person several times.  Despite his lack of boating experience, Jeff dove into the project headfirst, and made extraordinary progress.  Ideas flew back and forth with rapidity; some were sound and good, while others were, frankly, a little out there.  His grand vision for the boat changed and modified over time, but he always kept his eye on the brass ring at the end.  Though I initially had my questions about whether or not he would ever see the project to completion, it became clear soon enough that he was dedicated a hard worker, and that he would definitely finish the boat.

Click here to see some vintage photos of Kaynee from the 1970s.

That day came on Saturday, April 19, 2003--about 2-1/2 years after he took delivery of the boat.  There was no way I was going to miss the launching, after all we'd been through.  I felt an attachment to the boat myself, since I'd spent so much time talking about her with Jeff.  Our mutual friend Nathan Sanborn (Dasein, #668) also made plans to come down for the launch.

This log sets forth the events of the day.  Enjoy!

Ow, that's an early wakeup call.  But with the truck arriving at Jeff's house in South Dartmouth, MA at 0830, I needed an early start in order to get there in time.  The dogs looked at me like I was crazy, but dutifully ate their dinner before heading back downstairs to bed.  I made coffee, loaded gear into the truck, and headed off to meet Nathan at a park and ride about 20 minutes away.  He arrived a few minutes later, and we hopped in his diesel Jetta for the trip down (let's see...12 MPG in my truck (if I'm lucky) versus an easy 40 MPG in the diesel?  That was an easy choice!).

We arrived at Jeff's house after an uneventful ride down.  Jeff was ready and raring to go.  I asked him if he'd slept at all the night before; he replied that he was OK till about 0300, when it all came crashing down.  Still, he seemed remarkably calm to us, at least on the surface.  A little Valium in the morning Joe, perchance?  "No", answered Jeff, "just despondence".

We took the opportunity to load our gear aboard Kaynee in the backyard, and loaded Jeff's plywood dinghy on top of his car for the trip to the waterfront.  The paint was still tacky.  Thwarted (no pun intended) by the lack of time before launch, and the myriad last-minute projects on the boat, Jeff lamented the lack of a rubrail on the dinghy.  With a lick and a promise, he "secured" the dinghy to a hastily-erected roof rack on his car, and we settled in to wait for the truck.

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Hard to fault the timing; the truck showed up almost exactly on time and backed in to pick up the boat.  No problems here; all went smoothly.  Nathan and I stood on the sidelines and made crude jokes while I fussed with my dumb video camera, which I had brought along to "document" the day.

2-jeffnathan.JPG (138643 bytes)Jeff (left) and Nathan look disgusted at the prospect of being photographed.  Or maybe they're just disgusted in general.

Note that from this point forward, I don't have a clue what time anything happened...so I'll dispense with the time stamps in the log.

3-loaded.JPG (160655 bytes)Kaynee is loaded and now supported entirely by the truck, moments away from pulling out of the barn for the first time in 2-1/2 years.
4-outandmast.JPG (131404 bytes)Jeff and the truck driver loaded the mast onto the padded brackets on the truck, and secured it tightly in place. 5-outandmast.JPG (141212 bytes)  
6-outdrive.JPG (148639 bytes)And just like that, she was out the drive, heading for the water, leaving behind a very forlorn-looking barn! 7-mtshed.JPG (136217 bytes)

By the time all of us had figured out our cars, etc., the truck had a pretty good head start, and it took a while for us to catch up.  Nathan and I followed Jeff.  Once we caught up, we realized that a fine videographic opportunity was passing us by--Jeff's car was blocking the view of the boat.  Nathan tried to capture Jeff's attention by blowing his horn and waving, hoping that Jeff would get the message and let us pass him so we could get a clear shot of the boat.  Jeff never acknowledged, or gave any hint that he heard.  Minutes later, though, as we drove along the road paralleling the harbor, our little caravan passed a female jogger; that caught Jeff's attention, and he nearly drove his car off the road as he swirled his whole torso around to follow the scenic local color.

concordia41.JPG (137414 bytes)As we drove over the Padanaram causeway/bridge, our attention was captured by a simply gorgeous Concordia 41 yawl floating in the harbor.  Utter perfection!  Padanaram is, after all, the home to the current Concordia boatyard, though of course these stunningly beautiful wooden class acts haven't been built for decades (and were built overseas to begin with).

lobsterboattriton.JPG (141453 bytes)Shortly thereafter, we arrived at the yard and parked, aptly enough, near a lobster boat named Triton.  The truck with Kaynee atop was already in place near the water, with a huge crane looming overhead.  Yikes--I never liked those cranes with spreader bars to hold the slings.  We worked to remove the mast from the trailer and then untie Jeff's multiple tiedowns holding the rigging in place.  "Just untie one end, and it'll all pull right out," he said.  Umm...not quite.  It took much unraveling to get all the lines off, but finally the rigging was free.
9-crane2.JPG (186840 bytes)With a bit of effort, the yard guys--with all of us helping--got the slings set up around the boat, with some of Jeff's wife's towels protecting the shiny white hull from the evil webbed straps.  With no other choice, the after strap had to lead beneath the false keel...much to all of our chagrin.  Jeff had heavily reinforced this area earlier, but why tempt fate?  But the setup of the slings didn't allow for any other leads.
After clearing the way, they hoisted the boat off the trailer and high in the air, seemingly dangling her like a child's mobile from the massive crane.  When the boat was high enough, the crane swung around towards the water, then began lowering the boat towards the shimmering surface.  As she neared the water, the crane suddenly stalled, the silence punctuated by an "Oops!" from the cab.
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Presently, though, the driver restarted the crane, and continued lowering the boat into the water, with another person guiding the bow with a hastily secured line.  Rather quickly, the boat settled into the water, her keel caressing the salty brine for the first time in too many years.  With the boat mostly afloat, but still held by the strings, the operator paused to let Jeff scramble aboard to check for leaks.  In a few moments, his relieved head popped up through the hatch accompanied by a thumbs up--no leaks.  With that, Kaynee was lowered the rest of the way into the water, and Jeff secured fenders and docklines to hold her off the pilings.
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With the boat floating on her own, and tied to the pier, we all worked to get rid of the crane and spreader rig, dropping the straps into the water outside the boat.  Nathan pondered the thought that the bottom there must be littered with clevis pins--both from the sling spreader as well as smaller rigging pins.

Once the spreader rig was removed, the yard set it on the pavement nearby and disconnected the crane hoist so they could step the mast.  While things seemed slow, I took a moment to present Jeff with a bottle of christening bubbly in order to properly anoint the boat.  Sitting on the cabin trunk, Jeff struggled with the overwrap, then strained to get the cork to pop.  Nerves, surely, were preventing his normal steel-like strength from ripping that cork out, but he finally prevailed, and the cork slid out with an anemic sigh.

18-popcork1.JPG (157054 bytes)Rapidly, since the mast was already hanging overhead, Jeff poured a dab on the deck, in the water for Neptune, and then into himself.  Mmm...champagne on an empty stomach at 0900.  If this kept up, the day was going to go downhill fast!  Demonstrating the silliness that was sure to follow, and lacking a lampshade for effect, Nathan decided that two lenses was simply one too many for his sunglasses, and proceeded to fumble one of them into the scuppers, nearly going overboard.

With that, the mast arrived, clunking into its slot in the mast step with little fanfare.  In moments, out team of experts had the 'four corners" secured, though giving Jeff momentary panic for a short while when he thought his modified rigging had ended up way too long.  Turns out the mast was simply still leaning to one side, and he had gone ahead and cranked his turnbuckle to the stops, while the wire remained slack.  We straightened that out in short order, and before long the mast stood on its own, and the crane, mercifully, was shut down for good.  We spent several minutes attaching the lowers and doing some rough tuning to remove the bends from the mast.

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The boat looked great, and all of us spent a lot of time just looking her over and wandering the docks for the best photographic angles (OK, that was mostly me).  With the mast secure, Jeff and Nathan pulled the boom out of the cabin and we attached it, hooked up the topping lift (Jeff, you need a Garhauer solid vang!) and mainsheet, and then bent on the new mainsail--yes, Kaynee features new sails that were purchased at some point by her previous owner while the boat was on the hard, so the sails had never been used.  Nathan lightheartedly whined about the difficulties involved in installing the battens in their tight new pockets ("Oh, by the way, have I mentioned that I hate battens?", he chanted over and over again).  We jury rigged an outhaul system using old line and a series of random blocks and shackles that Jeff pulled from a seemingly endless supply, all the while singing the "Mickey Mouse" theme in our heads.  But it worked, after some doing, at least for the time being.

23-jeffatheadstay.JPG (167066 bytes)At this point, it was nearly noon, and Nathan and I declared it lunch break.  While the two of us relaxed in the cockpit gorging ourselves on a feast of cheese, baguette, apples, pepperoni, hummus and beer, Jeff fiddled around on deck attending to various chores, obviously in an attempt to burn nervous energy--all the while taking swigs of champagne from the open bottle in the cockpit every time he passed through.

24-jeffrowingdink.JPG (169182 bytes)With our lunch ending, as we disgustedly noted that two of us had polished off a whole block of smoked Gouda, a loaf of bread, stick of pepperoni, and  half a block of cheddar, it was time to get down to brass tacks and prepare Kaynee for her maiden voyage.  Jeff and I went to get the plywood dinghy off the roof of his car, and launched it into the harbor off a small dock.  Jeff rowed the dink around to the boat, immediately crashing into the counter when he tried to land, before performing a feat of gymnastics that would make an Olympian proud as he hoisted himself through the stern pulpit, all  the while swearing at the fact that he had already banged into his boat and lamenting that he hadn't installed a rubrail on the dinghy first.  Fortunately, however, no real damage was done, as the marks on the hull were only the oil paint from the dingy (still tacky), not true scarring.


Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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