Tuesday 13th January 2015
All go today: up with the lark (well, almost) to get the last bit of tidying up and stowing away done ready to splash. We were both quite excited at the prospect of getting the old girl back in the water where she belongs, after a year (actually 51 weeks to be precise) out on the hard. She has had a well-deserved rest, received lots of TLC, been fitted with several new pieces of kit and had a good scrub, paint and polish. She was ready to get herself wet again.
So, just before midday, Kevin arrived with the trailer and positioned it under S-F’s cradle.
The trailer arrives... and is expertly guided into position under S-F’s cradle.
The trailer in place... time to remove the ladder.
Small wheels removed, Kevin rolls a big one into place... and he and partner Dave put the big wheels in position.
Wheels in place, ‘jenga’ blocks removed... and off she goes towards the slipway.
S-F’s spot in the yard for the past year – empty (but not for long!) The old girl is slowly rolled down the slipway towards the water.
Dave chocks her wheels so the towbar can be replaced with chain. On the move again and gradually into the water.
Dave sculls us out to board the old girl... passing her now empty spot beside the slipway.
The RIB sporting new cover, safety lines and wheels, waits for Kevin to bring her out to S-F. We forgot the painter!
Scott-Free was gradually lowered into the water, giving us time to check for leaks. We found a drip or two where an extra turn was needed on a fitting or jubilee clip, and once these were sorted Steve checked we had forward and reverse thrust, then the cradle arms were lowered and we slowly backed out of the cradle. The guys used lines to keep us centred as we left the cradle, taking great care to ensure that the keel wings didn’t touch as we went. All went exactly to plan, and we were soon motoring out into the channel.
An excellent, efficient, proficient and very professional launch by Kevin and Dave, whose quiet and calm manner took all the stress out of one of my least favourite jobs. Thanks guys.
Once we turned left and were heading up the river, we gave Hatea Bridge control a call. Yes, they would open the bridge when they saw us approaching. This was excellent news, as the high temperatures over the last week have meant that the bridge has been unable to open between mid-afternoon and early evening. The clouds and breeze of this morning had kept the temperature down to around 27 degrees C, and we had launched as soon as the tide had allowed us enough depth to clear the approach to the slipway - luckily it was enough to get us through the bridge.
We enjoyed being on the move again for the whole of the 2 nmiles from Norsand Boatyard to Whangarei Town Basin, where we are now safely tied up on B dock and enjoying a beer to celebrate a successful launch and being afloat once more. Cheers!