Posted by: Wayne | October 17, 2011

O Frabjous Day

Short Story: One pinhole leak, one bruised hip, three merry children, one babe in arms, two sailing friends, one birthday cheesecake, 60 minutes at the title office, four separate voyages, a whole messload of sandwiches, fruit and cookies, three hours of driving, and 10 knots of wind equals one successful launch and retrieval of Good Enough.

A Happy Boatbuilder

Long Story:
It’s Wayne’s 30th birthday today, and the forecast looked favorable for launch: 60 degrees, clear and 5-10 knots of wind. It’s the peak of fall color around here, to boot! Could the day be any more glorious?

The title office was the most irksome part of the day, so it’s good we got that part over with early. Division of Watercraft, needed for inspection and registration, seems to be staffed with actual human beings, as opposed to the bureaucratic automatons at the title office. We twiddled thumbs for an hour there, while they tried to figure out what to make of a home-built boat. They called Columbus twice to figure things out. But that was the end of the frustration. Smooth sailing, if you pardon the pun, from there out.

Mark the Godsend and his wonderful wife Carol met us at the lake to steer, cheer, peer and hold the young dear.

Just call him "Yoda"

Rigging took about an hour, while kids ran and ate sandwiches.

Finally the boat was ready and lined up on the ramp. Then came the critical moment.

Will she float? Will she take in water? Did we make some unseen, fatal error that will consign this boat to the briny deep?

Can ya believe it?!

Okay, that’s melodramatic on my part.


As Wayne backed the boat up, the kids held their breath and then let out a whoop and holler when she floated off the trailer.

Carol leads the Cheering Section

Mark and Wayne took the first trip out.

This is a test. This is only a test.

We convinced Patrick that this was just a test voyage, to make sure everything was safe.

Okay. It's safe. Can we get on now?

Now came the fun part. Mark, Wayne, Patrick and Elaina took the second launch. They loved it. The look in the kids’ eyes said as much.

I was on the third trip out.

(Most of the) Family Portrait

The wind was up but the waves no longer had occasional white tips. Gabriel was a “little skeered” as I put his life jacket on, but the lure of eating a cookie on the boat was too much to resist.

Gabriel the Brave

He came along and was mostly calm. A comforting hand allayed any other fears. I was able to work the jib sheets, while Wayne handled the main and tiller.

What a birthday!

It was unexpected to be so close to the water, and yet still be definitely in the boat.  The Navigator is certainly comforting for youngsters, and anxious mothers. I was never worried about anyone falling out- high combings and ample sitting room helped.

But for the actual sailing, it was exhilarating. A puff of wind would perk up the sails and Wayne kept the main sheeted in tight- Faster! Go faster!! Good Enough heeled over and Elaina’s smile just got bigger and bigger. The little girl may become Daddy’s sailing buddy in fast, adventurous conditions in a few years. Patrick is still rather cautious, and Gabriel is, as he mentioned, “a little skeered.”

The final trip was Wayne, Mark and Carol. I loved seeing her come around a bend in the lake, all sails flying. The kids jumped when the saw the boat. Gabriel summed it up in the fewest words. Our. Boat. On. Water.

And so it was a good day. A perfect day. Now we wait for the next launch!

Technical addendum: We have a pinhole sized leak somewhere under the starboard side-seat. We need to find it, fill it and paint over it. Over the course of three hours of sailing, we took on a couple cups of water. Everything else was dry! We need to smooth out the crease in the mainsail so we’re looking to add more tension on the downhaul. And Wayne has learned not to leap from the boat to the dock. He missed and bruised his hip, chin and pride. Newton’s laws of motion strike again.



  1. Congratulations to you all, what a lovely family day, and an experience never to be forgotten. The boat looks lovely, and very much at home on the water.

  2. BRAVO!! A huge congratulations! She looks fantastic! Your sails look like they are set almost perfectly on your first trip out no less! Just a tiny bit more downhaul and they’ll be perfect. I love those huge grins on everyone’s faces! I can tell your family has many, many thrilling adventures in store for them. Well done my friend!

  3. Way to go Wayne! ‘Good Enough’ will be a great family asset, and contribute to many shared experiences I’m sure. I have at least 6 months left in my Navigator build – you have been a lot quicker than me. So, what do you plan for birthday no. 31? – possibly a wee cruise or some-such boating adventure……..Think what the possibilities are! Cheers, Alan (NZ).

  4. What a joy and privilege for Carol and I to walk this walk with you (or should I say sail this sail)? Yesterday was a joy and I’m sure a fulfilling experience for the entire Johnson family. Congratulations to you for all your hard work. It will pay off with many blessed family experiences sailing the high seas (okay inland lakes, but that will still be plenty of fun)! Hope to see you at Pymatuning Lake in the not too distant future! -Mark (alias Yoda?)

  5. Well done!

  6. suspect the “dreaded crease” is not a downhaul problem – you have a vertical crease down the luff – so plenty of tension there!
    perhaps the gaff is not able to be pulled up close enough to the mast?
    best regards,

    • I think part of the problem is that the halyard knot was slightly tightening/slipping over the course of the afternoon, changing the downhaul tension, and not improving things. I think I can remedy that issue, and I also will try to tie the upper parrel tighter to pull the yard closer to the mast, as well as tightening up the lower parrel to keep the tack in closer.

      Good catch on the luff crease.

      God bless!

  7. Very Nice! What a rewarding way to spend a milestone b’day.

    Kevin B

    Navigator Slip Jig

  8. Who is the saint of shipbuilders? I think some thanks are required, since this could not have been all Wayne’s doing!

  9. Patron saint of shipwrights is St. Peter, skipper of Our Lord’s barque. And yes, there have been innumerable sincere “Thank you, Lord!”s uttered over this project. ~Maria

  10. Thanks for sharing your excellent pictures of a beautiful boat, family and location. Even though it’s the close of your summer and the beginning of ours, your pictures strengthen my happy notion that folk are the same the world over. Cheers, Dave J

  11. I’ve just put my boat in the water, after a long build, it’s a Glen-L 14. So I can appreciate how you must feel. Great work, It looks fantastic. Gabriel looks Awesome in the little jacket.
    One thing, make sure the kids jackets have a strap that goes between their legs. The last thing you want is to pull one of them out of the water by the jacket only to watch them slip down and out of it.

    • Dave

      Yes, the kids jackets do have the strap between the legs. We don’t want to retrieve jacket minus child either.

      God bless!

  12. Beautiful!

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