22 June, 2017

Hello Rachel

Location: Deltaville, Virginia, USA

Well. Here we are again. Launching a boat. For a change. Hmm...

We got back from Vietnam and spent a few weeks in Blacksburg, tending to our house, spending time with family and getting ready to leave again. Then we headed up to Deltaville with Houdini the RV and Wanda the Honda to spend some quality time with Rachel the Catamaran. After 52 days of pretty much constant work, we launched today. And we're happy to announce that we actually stayed within our budget (just barely), despite a couple of surprises. Good thing we don't bill ourselves for our time!

 We knew the refrigerator and air conditioner didn't work. Fixed in two days. We knew the batteries were dead so we replaced them. We knew the running rigging (the ropes that control the sails) was shot, so we replaced it. We knew the whole boat needed lots of elbow grease as it had not been used for 3 years...the list goes on.
 Our friend Anna helped us with some "up high" jobs.
 Mark working on one of the rudders.
 At least we had a short commute.
 We knew the centerboard lines needed replacing. When we started doing so, we discovered several other issues that required removal of the centerboards. So we had the yard bring over the travelift and raise us from 4" to 4' off the ground so we could pull them out. Then we had to grind off all the old bottom paint, repair several places, recoat them with a special barrier coat, then apply bottom paint. This caused our launch date to slip by about two weeks.

Repaired board ready to apply barrier coat.
 All sealed up.
 And now it's time for the bottom paint.

The 25hp Honda outboard, our main engine, also wouldn't start. After spending a lot of time on it, finding and fixing a particularly tricky wiring issue, Mark gave up on it and we took it to the local outboard repair shop. Two days later we got it back running perfectly.
 Just like old times several cruising friends passed through while we were there, putting boats on shore for the summer, launching boats, and just plain stopping in to see us as they were passing through. We were envious when they sailed away, but we had some wonderful times in the screen room having cocktails, cooking on the BBQs, and socializing.
 Finally it was our turn! We launched the boat today and went for our first sail in near perfect conditions. We were able to tack the boat well, and were able to sail closer to the wind than we managed to on Rachel the Tayana. At one point, close hauled, we made 7.3 knots! Can't wait to see what she'll do on a reach.

Feelin' good!
 We have sails again.
On the dock.

We know this is all a bit technical for those of you who are non-sailors but suffice it to say that after 6 weeks in the boat yard (thank goodness we had Houdini to live in) we have made the great escape back into the world of sailing. New Rachel is happily sitting at our friends' dock waiting for us to do yet another good cleaning and take care of a few minor issues. After that, we'll take her out and do some cruising on the Bay so we can get used to each other on the water.