Roach's Launch!!! 19th June 2007!!!
It’s easy, when more then a month and half has passed since her launch, to sit at home forgetting all the hardships and stresses it takes to launch a wooden yacht.
My selective amnesia has already started to take effect, and I can’t really recall the month of solid work it has taken to get Roach launched. The days were long and often I would end up so tired that getting back home I would be in a tranced daze. Infact, it is one of these fits of exhaustion, that I failed to notice a train on the level crossing when leaving the yard, that I almost ran into it. Well it is not as bad as it sounds. It is an unmanned level crossing and the train did NOT hoot to warn its impending arrival as it should, and it was travelling very slowly. But it did teach me a lesson – you can take this wooden boat obsession too far.
There was the time, trying to build the cockpit floor that I travelled all the way to Norwich in my Mum’s open-top jeep in pouring rain just to pick up a sheet of Lloyds A1 marine plywood I won on e-bay.
Then there was the stepping of the mast. The rigging wires that all ended up too short. “How could that happen?” I wondered to myself. The rig has been restored to original and I followed the plans. On close inspection the chain plates had been moved by the previous owner to new locations to allow for the non-original portholes on the raised cabin sides. Don’t assume anything on an old wooden boat!
Every little bit of Roach has it’s story. From the winches, to the paints chosen, to the rigging and sails. And all of a sudden it is all in front of me 4 feet in the air ready to be dropped in the water. All these little stories had become one at last.
My idea of champagne and dressing her up in code flags was not even considered as I ran around doing last minute checks and painting the bottom of her keel with antifouling. But before I could say “Wait – I need to take a photo” the Everson’s guys had dropped her in. They finish work at 4pm you see and HW was at 3.48pm.
Splash, in she went. Well it was not a splash as she went down very very slowly. The rigger was joking that the same problem would happen with my waterline as happened with the rigging wires. She would not sit to her lines.But she did, to the millimetre. Thank you Mr. Dallimore for your very accurate construction plans.
A huge leak from the engine intake was gladly just a not-tight-enough jubilee clip. Whilst I sorted this out 4pm must have passed, as when I poked my head up through the companionway, the canvas straps had been removed, the yard staff had disappeared and I was all alone with this new floating world of mine.