2012 Sailing Season Starts

Posted on Saturday 12 May 2012

S/V Pretty Gee tied at Moby Dick Marina after being launched for the 2012 season.

S/V Pretty Gee tied at Moby Dick Marina after being launched for the 2012 season.

Today is the official start of the 2012 sailing season for me and s/v Pretty Gee. I launched s/v Pretty Gee with the help of Dale and Merry.

When I got down to the boat this morning, I loaded the mainsail, the bimini, some PFDs, the flares I bought yesterday, and a couple other boxes of boat gear for current and upcoming projects.

I had brought the bimini frame down last week and mounted it on the cockpit rails. I put the bimini itself on the frame and tensioned it. This year, I’ve reversed the frame orientation to bring the bimini a bit further forward, as this will give the forward end of the cockpit a bit better coverage and leave the mainsheet a bit more clearance to move.

I also re-attached the tiller–which I still need to refinish. I am debating whether to use the tiller off of a Columbia 26 instead of refinishing the original tiller for the Telstar 28. The original tiller is a 43″ long laminated wood tiller, but needs to be varnished every couple of years. I also have a 36″ long, laminated wood tiller which was introduced on the later sister ships of s/v Pretty Gee.

The Columbia 26 tiller I got from a Columbia 26 that was totaled, and it is an aluminum i-beam tiller, and doesn’t require varnishing. It isn’t as pretty, but it does eliminate some maintenance. I hate refinishing wood because I basically suck at it.

Dale and Merry got to the marina about 12:30 and we had a few small tasks to do before we could launch s/v Pretty Gee. One task was inflating the fenders. I asked Dale to pickup an inflator needle for the fenders. I had one on the boat, but it has since disappeared–probably when I pulled almost everything off the boat this winter.

While Merry was getting the fenders inflated, I lubed the seacocks. Lubing the seacocks is a semi-annual ritual. If you don’t do this for Marelon seacocks, they can seize up and then break–which, as it sounds, is a bad thing.

Every year, I expect something to go wrong with the launch. Mr. Murphy always shows up. This year was no exception. I probably jinxed myself when I told Merry that this was the first year I hadn’t had to go wading to free something up on the trailer. I should have known better.

Switching the ama locking cables from stainless steel to 5/16″ Amsteel helps avoid a lot of the issues where the cables would snag on the trailer. The original stainless steel cables weren’t flexible enough for me to retract them out of the way when the amas were retracted, which I can do with the replacement Amsteel lines. The Amsteel lines don’t corrode and are actually stronger than the stainless steel cables were.

When I checked the bilge, I noticed we were taking on water. While I had secured the two head seacocks, which I had greased this morning–I forgot the raw water feed for the galley sink faucet–which was left wide open with no hose on it. I had been working on it over the winter and had greased it over the winter.

Fortunately, my plan on how the new cabin sole lockers would work was spot on and the aft-most locker functioned as a standpipe for the bilge and limited the amount of water that entered the boat. I do love when a plan works the way it is supposed.

This unexpected test also proved that the forward two lockers are indeed watertight to the shower sump and the aft-most locker–as they remained bone dry. Again, I love when things work the way they’re supposed to. As I don’t really have any bilge pumps setup on s/v Pretty Gee at the moment–they’re on the list, but with her being a trimaran, it is not a very high priority–I used the inverter to run the wet/dry shop vac to drain the bilge.

It is amazing at how much water can get into the boat, when the only spaces that fill are the area beneath the head, the shower sump, the aft-most cabin sole locker and the locker under the companionway ladder. I’ll have to pour more water into the bilge with some bilge cleaner or bleach this week, since the water from the Acushnet River is kind of nasty.

While Dale was dealing with the bilge situation, we motored out into New Bedford harbor so I could extend the amas on the Pretty Gee. The boat is far happier and handles better when they’re out. I do have some fiberglass work to do on the ama support boxes, but I can do that with the boat on the mooring.

We motored back to the marina and tied up to the dock. Initially, I wanted to back into the slip, but the bow of the boat kept being blown off by the strong southwest winds, so I finally took the hint and pulled in bow first. Technically, I’m not in a slip, but tied up to the main pier, along the space for the first three slips. The marina took the finger piers off to do some work on them this past winter.

Tomorrow, I am painting the bottom of the dinghy. Monday, I’m planning on getting the oars and servicing the dinghy outboard, as well as mounting the two 130 watt solar panels. That will allow me to run the refrigerator with the boat on the mooring. On Tuesday morning, I’ll row out to the mooring and attach the mooring pendant and put the boat on the mooring.

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