2022/05/19 Maiden Voyage!

” I christen thee, the Motor Vessel John R.”

And, with that and the smashing of a bottle of alcohol-free beer (John’s drink) over the bow, we gently put the Ninigret 22 into the water at the boat ramp on the neighbouring island Thursday. Sal did the smashing (she has a natural talent in that way) and I climbed aboard just as the trailer wheels went under water. Our good friend, SD, was there doing and worrying some of the procedural details – which is good. Without him, we may have screwed up (we’re naturals at that, too). The John R floated precisely at the water line it was designed for. Mike did good.

The trip to the boat ramp

But maybe not so much on the steering installation. As mentioned previously, the steering operates opposite to intention; steer to port and you go to starboard. Counter intuitive steering is quite mentally challenging to a 74 year-old naturally inclined to screwing up – and this was the maiden voyage, no less! So, I just went slowly and carefully to get from the launch ramp to the nearest dock. And that was good, too…..except for actually getting near the dock (which usually requires some helmsmanship) and yesterday it was blowing briskly from the west – OFF the dock. I could get no closer than about six feet…….but a couple of dock lines and SD pulled me in. Whew!!

Sal came back down to the dock from rinsing the car free of salt water and passed SD and I a bag with sandwiches and beers and he and I headed up coast at a reduced rpm because the motor needs ‘break-in’ time. Ten hours at fixed speeds. Sal went back to the ‘yard’ and dropped the trailer. The plan was for her to then travel up that same neighbouring island logging road to our other boat and then she would get in that boat (the MV ‘Pumpkin’) and come down to meet/rescue/find us depending on how things went.

The seas were good – a light chop that occasionally gave us a little spray over the bow. Not enough to make the sandwiches wet, tho. We had a 45 minute run. It was good.

The Christening
The Launch

The boat rode well, very stable. We slipped along at 9.0 knots at 2900 rpms so, when the engine is ready to go full-on (5500 plus rpms), I should get 17 knots or more. We were going into a headwind so that slowed us a bit but we had an ebbing tide going in our direction and that helped us…….so, I think I will be able to cruise at 15 knots easily enough and maybe push ‘er to 20 if I use full throttle. That is just fine. Pumpkin does 20+ knots but this new boat can do 15 in a heavy chop. Pumpkin, being a planing hull, has to go slow when the weather is up. It is all good. But not yet done. I still have to get that steering swapped over (already on it today) and that is currently a mystery and will remain so until we put it back together and test it. We still have some required deck fittings to mount and, of course, there are the other bits, pieces and construction finishings to do. This is still a work-in-progress. I will keep you apprised.

The Homecoming

Late breaking news! Steering swapped over this afternoon thanks to daughter getting right in there and just goin’ at it. WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Btw….you may be wondering: “What did you do with the dogs?” Answer: my daughter is visiting and she has a dog. SD came to help bring the boat home and he also has a dog. Four dogs at a boat launching is an invitation for Murphy to have his way and they are an additional irritant-waiting-to-happen. We left my daughter with all the dogs. And they had a great time together and I did not miss them in the least.

The Co-captain and his boat

12 thoughts on “2022/05/19 Maiden Voyage!

  1. Lots of excitement! Glad things went so very well and that the steering issue is now resolved also. I imagine the new boat will make life easier. I just love the look of the boat. You tell your story with such flair!


  2. Congratulations, she really is a beauty! And naming her after John will bring her (and you) good luck. I agree with Frederic, you do know how to tell a story! Throw in some nice pics and I am drooling again like a puppy…..damn it is such a wonderful place you have over there! So what was the issue with the steering? Some minor modification, given the speed at which your daughter resolved it? Enjoy the boat, I am sure plenty more stories will follow!


    • I’ll get some more pics soon. I just wanted to get a blog ‘published’ as soon as we got ‘er home…..well, got ‘im home…you know what I mean. The steering ‘system’ is unknown to me in a small-boat context. It is referred to as a rack and pinion style (of which I am familiar in a car but not in this situation) but, when I was looking at it, the ‘rack’ just seemed to ‘float’ in the space behind the wheel. This system can be installed backwards simply by putting the pinion on the wrong side (easy to do). SD, my daughter, even You Tube all said, ‘just turn the rack 180 degrees’. And that instruction just did NOT make sense to me. How does one turn a rack floating in the air? So, as I sat there puzzling, my daughter just jumped in and took it all apart, spun the rack 180 and then left for the community food delivery. But, by doing that, something twigged and I ‘saw’ the answer and finished it off. I just had a blind spot until I didn’t. That little mental quirk will likely reoccur more often over the next few years. And that should make for even more adventures….


      • You had a blind spot? After wine a fine dinner and then some Scotch I took you to JR and made you touch the parts to be changed while running a dialog of how to. I guess that its my fault that your blind spot showed up the next day, but it was good food, booze and company. 😇


        • Hey! Blind spots are blind spots and they happened to a guy whose hearing is poor and whose brain is functioning but not as it used to. I am lucky I can spell your name, SD. And that is only because your dog is called the same – Sadie!


    • John R can easily carry six adults plus me, luggage and groceries. Say, 2000-2500 pounds tops. But, more to the point, it can handle two dogs, a wife, groceries, me, tools and fuel with ease in any kind of sea (around here). The cockpit is capable of loading even more than I would feel comfortable with – it is over 8 feet long and five-plus feet wide. This little boat (22′) has low freeboard (dogs love that) and is flat from mid-station aft. It has quite a wide stance and that also helps with stability. I think (knowing nothing at this point still) it is the perfect design for an OTG home ‘supply’ boat. What I like about it is the speed! A displacement hulled boat would not exceed 8 knots. A planing hull can go as fast as the size of the engines and your wallet. This is the semi-planing compromise. It can do double displacement speeds and half the gas-guzzler speeds. Honestly, with a nice brisk Nor’ wester in our face on launch day and only going half speed (9 knots), it was a really nice boat ride and it did not feel slow at all.


      • Sounds like the perfect ride for the location.
        Well done.
        And a salute to the builder. Its a fine looking little boat.


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