We began the launch process on Thursday, by loading the world's newest Oughtred Grey Seal onto the trailer at the Workshop on the Water at the Independence Seaport Museum, which has been her home for the past three months. Since Thursdays are a big volunteer day at WoW, lots of helpful hands were available to move things along.
|Lagniappe suspended by WoW's two gantries.|
|A boy and his trailer|
|Ready for the trailer|
|A full crew, Jerry, Newt, John, and Robinson and me watch Lee work.|
|Ready to roll|
|Dave, Robinson, and Lee hold the plunger bell in place on the through hull.|
We had hoped to put her in the water at low tide, and head back up river to the Museum dock where I'll rig her, but unfortunately Butch didn't have enough water until two hours past low tide. By then, it was mid-afternoon. We decided to put her in, check for leaks, tie up at Butch's for the night, and head up river at the following slack tide on Saturday.
|Taking the straps off at Butch's|
|This will not do.|
|Butch gets ready to do his thing.|
At 2 o'clock on Friday afternoon, we had enough water to float a smallish boat, which was enough. Butch expertly picked her up off the trailer and set her down in the water.
|Those slings may be ancient, but they will hold this vessel.|
|Going down with the ship. My first ride.|
|Tied up for the night at Butch's. Look at that waterline!|
Slack tide was at noon, and we wanted to hit it for two reasons. First, it would give us a plenty of time to reach the Museum dock at Penn's Landing on the rising tide, and second because Butch's is located on a fairly narrow stretch where Little Tinicum Island divides the Delaware. Consequently, once the tide gets moving, the water fairly roars past Butch's, making departure for a small low-powered and untested sailboat-to-be a bigger challenge than we wanted. Adding to this was a 20 knot breeze from the SSW that promised to "help" us leave Butch's.
We departed at 11:50 Saturday morning, with me at the helm (obviously for the first time.) On board were Jeff, who was navigating us through the swift and bar filled area, my boatshop buddy John, and my wife Joan. It had turned out that I was the only non-"J" person on board, but then again I was the captain.
|Jeff on the foredeck guides us out of Butch's and into the current.|
|I know that bouy is out there somewhere.|
|John pops out of the forward hatch as we approach the Walt Whitman Bridge.|
I'm taking the weekend off, but Monday, the mast gets stepped as we begin phase 2.