” 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.
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 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.
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.