On a cold and wet morning on 12 May in the Ancora Marina in Neustadt (
54:05.66N, 010:48.25E ) we finally launched Moondog. There then followed a
very useful , but cold, day of working with the boatyard to rig her and
find out what all those pieces of string were really for. It was also a
time to have a good look at the top of the mast, whilst this was at ground
level before being hoisted skyward.
There then followed a week of 'commissioning', with test sails, problem
fixing and general provisioning of the boat. The Sirius yard are very
proud of the volume of storage on this fairly small boat, and we took it
as a challenge to fill it with food, drink and gear. Needless to say we
failed, and there is plenty of space left for visitors' gear and more
supplies. The biggest issue is remembering where we have put
everything.....I am following the advice of fellow sailor and friend
Chris, and have labelled all boxes, but unfortunately that only helps once
you have found the box !
The only significant issue encountered was a failure to engage reverse
gear on several occasions. This is particularly scarey when approaching
one of the German 'mooring boxes' at the end of a 'dead end' marina alley.
Six tonnes of boat tends to keep its momentum for a long time, without the
benefit of the reverse 'brake'. Those of you who know of my general
hopelesness with knots will doubtless be as amazed as I was when a very
hastily tied bowline loop thrown over our mooring post actually found its
target and held, and enabled us to take the way off before making contact
with an immovable concrete jetty. After a couple of rather disappointing
efforts by Volvo engineers to sort this, the Sirius yard engineer spent
some time buried in a locker and the problem was resolved...although a
quick test that reverse works has been added to my checks before entering
a marina cul de sac.
We also had a fun day helping with a photo shoot for the new Sirius 35,
with us carrying the cameraman and generally messing about trying to get
good close pictures of the new 35. It was enlightening to see some of the
tricks the photographer used to get the desired shots, and it was a good
opportunity to give our engine a good work out and test.
This first week ended with a brief naming ceremony, ie Helen poured a
bottle of champagne over the bow and told the boat to take care of
everyone on board. We are now all set for the start of the adventure, with
my friend Paul Syms from Adlington coming out with me for a little over a
week, during which time we hope to get to Helsingor, or possibly even
further north up the Swedish W Coast.....it will all depend on the
weather, which will hopefully now start to warm up. We have certainly paid
our dues with the rain now, and are looking forward to a a hot summer with
fair winds !