Launching Day:  2003

After much anticipation, launching day finally arrived!  For several reasons, I had decided to launch a week later than last year--partly because the tides worked out better, and partly because, last year, I experienced damage to the boat during an early-season storm.  This was something I particularly wished to avoid, obviously!

In any event, by launching a bit later, I missed virtually no good sailing weather--we had a very damp, chilly spring (and still are, as of this writing).  The extended ashore time, however, left me feeling like I was twiddling my thumbs, waiting for launch day.  Amazingly, though, I managed to find lots to do on the boat--but she could have been ready to go over the side at just about anytime since the day I painted the bottom, back on April 13.

Launch 002.jpg (152202 bytes)I made final preparations the day before launch, lowering the mast down off the winter storage horses and lashing it to the pulpits, and giving the hull and decks a final scrub and washdown.  I double checked fuel and fluid levels, checked all the hoses and seacocks, and lowered the radar pole down for transport.  With nothing further to do, I declared her ready to go.

Launch 006.jpg (177330 bytes)Bright and early the next morning, my hauler, Steve Morse, arrived at 0645, and with minimum effort soon had the boat loaded on his trailer.  By 0715 or so, we departed for the 5 mile trip to Yarmouth Town Landing.  This was the first time I had launched Glissando here, up at the navigable headwaters of the Royal River; in past years, I launched in Falmouth, where the boat is stored.  However, dissatisfaction with the boatyard that I had used for the mast stepping previously--mainly centered around billing charges and practices--I decided early on this spring to switch boatyards and get my mast stepped at the well-reputed Royal River Boat Yard in Yarmouth.  Some uncertainty about the general process for mast stepping there had caused me a bit of mild anxiety the night before--just normal pre-launch jitters, that's all.

Launch 009.jpg (143474 bytes)     Launch 012.jpg (163519 bytes)     Launch 016.jpg (150044 bytes)

Launch 018.jpg (172233 bytes)Mere moments after Steve and the boat arrived in Yarmouth, Glissando was once again afloat at the town landing--a quick check indicated that the stuffing box was too loose, but nothing drastic.  Steve rapidly departed, leaving me alone at the quiet town landing.  For the next several minutes, I worked to raise the radar pole, launch the dinghy, and get squared away.  Then, I headed downriver a bit to the boatyard.  They weren't quite ready for me, so I tied up at the fuel dock and finished untying the mast.  At about 0830, the yard skiff came alongside and towed me into the Travelift slip, and in short order the mast was once again standing.  Once it was more or less steady, they towed me back to the fuel dock and left me there, where I spent 45 minutes or so neatening up, installing the boom, and getting ready for my journey around to my mooring in Falmouth.

Launch 020.jpg (130938 bytes)The trip from Yarmouth to Falmouth involves heading out the narrow, tidal, curvaceous Royal River, then around Littlejohn and Cousins Islands--an overall distance of about 8 or 9 miles.  Since I was alone, I had worried overnight about the forecast chance of fog and reduced visibility.  As I headed out, though, the visibility was clear, with a relatively bright, high cloud ceiling and no wind.


Looking back towards Royal River Boatyard in Yarmouth

Launch 024.jpg (141017 bytes)The river's narrow channel is marked with a series of government buoys, but they are widely spaced, and the channel tends to arc between the buoys--going straight from buoy to buoy can get you in real trouble here.  It's an interesting trip, but not a journey I would want to make every time I wished to sail.  In a powerboat, it's OK--I used to keep a series of three powerboats I owned up in the river.  

Sidenote:  I have always been a sailor at heart, and grew up on sailboats, but for a time I enjoyed buzzing around and fishing from these powerboats.  Then I got over it.

Launch 027.jpg (141741 bytes)At the end of the channel, I could see all the way out Broad Sound to the open ocean, and was pleased to note that it was all clear.  Within minutes, however, I began to realize that, inexorably, one by one the outer islands were becoming lost to view.  At first, I figured that it would take 30 or more minutes for the fog to reach my position, but it proved me wrong; before I had gone even half the distance from the last buoy at the river to the first turn around the northeast corner of Littlejohn Island, the fog--or, more accurately, heavy drizzle/light rain--was upon me, reducing visibility to about 1/2 mile, at worst.  Nothing to worry about, fortunately--that's plenty of visibility.  Still, once I saw that it was indeed coming, I had stopped the boat (I was alone, remember) to get my radar and laptop fired up, so that I would be all ready to navigate home through whatever mother nature threw at me.  I wasn't worried about getting there, but was a bit apprehensive about being forced into thick fog on my first day back on the water. 

Launch 029.jpg (176968 bytes)As it turned out, I actually had a simply enjoyable trip, by myself in the fog and rain.  The wind remained calm, and I saw no other boats except the  Chebeague Island Ferry, which crossed my bow as I neared the nun in the center portion of the channel between Littlejohn and Chebeague.

(I'll get a chartlet up here soon, but don't have the program installed on this new computer yet.)

Launch 032.jpg (160038 bytes)The fog/mist/drizzle/rain held up fairly steadily till I reached the mooring field in Falmouth, after a pleasant and uneventful 1.75-hour trip from the boatyard.  My mooring ball was even installed, as I had asked for--but in the past, the company that maintains my mooring has sometimes been late, despite my always letting them know when I want it by.  A couple years ago, after a comedy of errors, they apologetically sent me a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant, and have been on top of things ever since.

Once back on the mooring, I spent some enjoyable time (it's all enjoyable, back on the water) rigging up the dodger, and bending on the sails.  Then I spent some more time straightening up the boat and making things shipshape--once the boat's back in the water, I can't wait to get everything back where it belongs, and turn it into a boat again--not a staging area.  My friend Nathan, anxious about his own launch the next day and even more anxious to get out of work early, stopped down in the early afternoon, and I motored into the dock to pick him up, since the launch wasn't yet operating and my mooring is so far out that I didn't want to row both ways just for that.  We relaxed on the boat for a while, then rowed ashore.  

This gave me the real first opportunity to gaze upon the wonder that is my newly-struck waterline.  As you may recall, I took it upon myself to strike a proper, level boottop and raised waterline last fall, after realizing that the first one I did--when I used the molded-in scribe marks as a guide--was hopelessly wrong.

 If you've forgotten, or don't recall reading about the process, please click here.

At the risk of losing all previous attempts I have made at humility, I have to say that my new waterline absolutely rocks, and is completely perfect and what I was striving for.  I was so excited about how well, and how level and even, it turned out that I could barely row.  Look for some new information and before-and-after photos on this site very soon, but for now here is a fresh photo--my favorite from this young season, so far--taken late in the day of launch, as we rowed in.

Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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