Sunday, April 30, 2006

My last post was a little hasty, trying to catch you up all at once, and without the benefit of photos. So here is a quick retrospective, with some shots of the Manatee on her way to her infamous sea trial....

Here she is, still in Sam's workshop yard. The mainsail is up: it still needs a little adjusting to get it to lie flat. The first time we raised the sail, I thought it would be way too big for such a small boat. But rigged like a Sunfish, it doesn't swing way out and make the whole boat tippy. Under sail in a stiff breeze, it couldn't raise the outrigger out of the water.

To get her out of the yard, we couldn't go throught the gate so we had to carry her over the fence. Sorry Sam. It took six men to handle her. I should have guessed then that she was going to sit low in the water. I want to thank the guys at Island Expeditions for helping me: Javier, Carlton, Rio, Bobo (Kerry) and Duba (Kenroy), and of course the bossman, Leif for loaning me his guys and the use of the truck.

We got out just in time before Godzilla arrived and laid waste to the whole town!

If you look closely you will see a human finger over the left hand of our little visitor, a green iguana about two feet long. Jaime is a bit of a crocodile hunter, and is always catching lizards.

She is all rigged up ready to go. I think we mounted the outrigger too low.

Yup. It was all I could do to keep her from filling with water over the starboard gunwhale.
We took her ashore and readjusted the trim.

Here she is in front of Island Expeditions operations centre. The mizzen sail is up to keep her bow pointed into the wind. I am afraid I don't have any pictures of her full of water: I just wasn't thinking of taking pictures at the time.

Just to show you that she does sail. She cuts the water smartly, with very little leeward drift and can beat fairly close to the wind. She does, however slowly fill up with water, as waves slide in over the sides and water breaking over the bow leaks into the forward compartment. She is also a touch bow-heavy, which will have to be countered by loading the heavy stuff in the stern compartment. I will also put in a drain hole through the forward bulkhead, so that excess water can drain into the cockpit where i can get at it to bail it out.

All of this is very dry and technical. What pictures don't show you, is the thrill of seeing all your work (so far) finally bearing fruit, all of your questions and concerns finally coming to the test. It is an excitement mixed with dread, disappointment and renewed vigour as you plan how to fix the little problems that have arisen. And add to the regular challenges two new ones: that I have to do the rest of the work myself, on the beach, and that I am running out of time and money. What I have now has to last me for the duration of the voyage. But I'm up to it. Life is an adventure.

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