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.
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.
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?
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.
Mark and Wayne took the first trip out.
We convinced Patrick that this was just a test voyage, to make sure everything was safe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.