May 2007, two years after the planned launch Wina II goes back into her element after seven years ashore. Friday 18th May is the day that the crane has been booked for and we have a 4.8 metre high tide at midday. To do it I pulled out of an invitation to sail from Malta to the Greek Islands starting at the end of April. For the last two years I have spent all of the summers sailing on other people's boats as well as spending February and March in Singapore.
Since my return to the U.K. at the end of March, we have enjoyed unprecedented sunny weather for five weeks and the boat has been completely re-painted and re-varnished on the outside. The Winches and Spinlock snubbers have been mounted on the coach roof and the bits of string led aft to the cockpit for single handed sailing. The kit for single line reefing on the first and second reefs has yet to be installed and can be done when afloat. Also to be completed is the wiring for the GPS system and Yeoman Plotter. The through deck electrical fitting for the masthead Tricolour has to be connected up but the wiring for it is already in place.
Before Christmas I purchased a new foam luffed furling genoa. I prefer to be afloat before hoisting that. New berth and backrest cushions have been ordered and should be ready by the end of May. They will not be fitted until the boat has taken up and has dry bilges. I am pretty confident that she will be dry at launch but one never knows with a wooden boat. It took the best part of six months raking out the old caulking and cleaning the seams up and putting in new cotton and re-caulking with a more modern synthetic material than putty and white lead.
Because the boat does not have a self draining cockpit and there was not sufficient depth under the sole to fit one I have ordered a boom over Cockpit cover from a specialist firm and they will be visiting the boat within the next few days to measure up. I did do a drawing myself and presented it to the firm for a quotation more than anything else. Making it myself is beyond my skills but I am hoping that he will come up with a better and simpler design. Who knows, he may save me some money!!
Once afloat, I will need to carry out engine trials. The engine has been inhibited whilst ashore to protect it from frost and I need to change the sump and gearbox oils.
The most daunting task for me is sorting out the mast inner shrouds which were made too short mentioned elsewhere in this journal. At 74 years of age I think climbing the mast may be a little reckless. I may attempt to get them down and would rather do that with the boat afloat than ashore. Firstly it would be softer landing and I would not have so far to fall. We shall see.
I have a beautiful hand carved boat name to go up in the saloon which my daughter and son-in-law brought me back from Bali a couple of years ago.
The inevitable break in the weather has occurred and we are in for a period of unsettled weather. This is the May Bank Holiday week end and we have a possible gale 8 from the South West later today. I need to get two coats of anti-foul on the bottom before the 16th. I need two dry days out of the eight remaining.
Friday the 18th of May 2007, the long awaited day for the launch of 'Wina II' arrived two weeks into the seventh year since she was lifted out. A heavily overcast sky and rain and a promise of strong south westerly winds. Not a very optimistic start for the day. I arrived at the boat at 08.30hrs to start preparing her for the big event. There was not a lot to do; remove the cockpit tent and the scaffold pole which was supporting it and ensure that all the sea cocks were closed and put the blanking plug in the skin fitting for the log. I then turned my attention to the engine. This had not been run for four years since I installed it and it had been inhibited to protect it from frost during the winter months. If the forecast winds arrived there was the distinct possibility that it might be needed. I connected up the engine battery and did a voltage check and it was fully charged, checked the fuel filter for water and it was clear and then suddenly noticed that I had left the jubilee clip to the inlet port of the water pump loose and half way up the hose. That stopped me in my tracks as to why I had done that. Investigating further I discovered that I had left the impellor and the back plate and gasket off the pump when I replaced the old one for a new one. The question arose as to where I had put the parts for safe keeping? Fortunately, I had only one box for engine spares and that is where I found the missing parts. There was no chance of fitting them with out removing the pump from the engine and there was no time to do that before the crane arrived.
When I came up from below the rain had stopped and the clouds had started to break up and small pockets of blue sky were visible, I guess something had to be in my favour so I attached the fenders to both sides of the boat without getting wet. To my surprise I noticed a few of my friends had turned up having heard of my launch from the 'bush telegraph' and offered their assistance in the proceedings and I was going to need it as the wind was gusting a good 6 on the Beaufort Scale and I was being dropped in to windward off the ends of the pontoons and moored boats so I was on a lee shore and not the best of places to be.
With all the preparations completed it was time to open the coffee bar having prepared myself for such an eventuality.
The crane arrived at 12.15 and with high water predicted for 13.00 there was ample time to set up the crane for the lift. With restricted entrance to the yard itself the driver elected to stay out side of the yard and position the rear of the crane at an angle of 45° to my hull as he had to lift the boat to clear other boats and the fence and swing the jib through 120° to lower me in.
For the initial lift he was blind and was guided by radio, all was well so he raised the boat until he had visual sighting of it and then traversed the jib to the lowering point and giving him a clear view for lowering her into the water.
Just as she immersed a few inches of her keel a gust caught her and swung her in towards the harbour wall. The driver had anticipated this and had placed a couple of my friends there to fend her off if the need arose. By dropping the keel further in the water it increased the lateral resistance and checked the swing inches short of the wall. My first sigh of relief!
With the help of many hands we managed to her into a berth but not where I wanted to put her. She is snug enough until the weather permits me to move her.
There are still a number of things to do. Number one priority is to sort the engine out and give it a good run. I need to run a cable from the switch panel to the forward cabin for the tricolour. Wire up the GPS and Yeoman plotter. Acquire 30 metres of 5/16 anchor chain and connect it the Bruce anchor. Hoist the Genoa on the furling gear and run the sheets. Fit and rig the single line reefing system for the first and second reefs of the mainsail and lead the tails back aft to the snubbers and winch. Check out the gas supply and cooker and likewise the fresh water system. Await delivery of the new berth cushions and backrests, likewise the cockpit over boom cover. Undoubtedly I shall find other things which I have missed and after her sea trials there will be another list of defects. I have also got to sort out the inner shrouds which were made too short and life goes on. I am nearly there and can see light at the end of the tunnel ----- well it looks like light!!
When all these things are done I shall make the final update to this site and possibly publish a log of her first cruise.