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Launching Procedure

 

"Whale" is stored on the trailer all summer. When we want to sail we have to launch. This gives us plenty of practice. Before we leave home the boat is packed with everything onboard. When we arrive at the launching site we drive straight to the ramp and back the boat in so the edge of the water is under the bow. I get out of the car and climb up the front of the boat and head for the motor. I tip the motor down, start it and put it in reverse. The first mate backs the car all the way down the ramp and the boat drives off the trailer. The first mate parks the trailer and I take the bungees off the mast, lower the daggerboard and rudder. When the first mate gets down on the dock I pick her up. She disconnects the mast from the pulpit and pushes it back. I watch that nothing tangles and that I am not interfering with other boats. We are either floating near the dock or motoring out of the harbor. When she is ready I pick the mast up and push it to the vertical position. She helps by pulling on the spinnaker halyard, which is always attached to the bow. (I drilled a third hole in the chainplate) She cleats the halyard in a clam cleat, which holds the tension while it is put on the regular cleat. With the tension on the spinnaker halyard it is easy to attach the forestay. Next I go below (while the first mate keeps a lookout) and close the ballast tank and bring up the boom, which has the sail on it. The first mate takes care of the front of the boom and I do the back stay, topping lift and mainsheet. We are then ready to hoist the main. The two jibs are stored on the vberth, which is under the hatch and if we know which jib we want she can reach down the hatch, pull out the jib and put it on.

From the time she gets on the boat at the dock until we are under sail she doesn't have to leave the foredeck and I don't go there. There aren't any of those nasty cotter pins or cotter rings. The gooseneck has a ball pin, the forestay has a locking ball pin and the mast pivot bolt is just tightened by hand. The wire baby stay are permanently in place. The main sheet has a carabiner and the topping lift for the boom has a snap hook. The main and jib halyards are first put in clam cleats, which makes it easy to get the halyards tight, and then put on the regular cleats.

With this procedure we don't need to deal with dock lines, fenders or the mast crutch.

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