Visiting Ecuador

Launching Day And Final Preparations

The Travelift backing into place to lift up Nine of Cups.  

Saturday, March 20, 2004 (First Day Of Spring)

Today will be a major milestone—after months on the hard, today Nine of Cups will be launched. The shore-bound residence will become a cruising sailboat once again. This is a very important and necessary step if you're planning to go on a sailing trip!

There were chores to do, of course, stowing things, rigging things, other preparations. At 2:30 p.m., the marina workers came over with the Travelift and hoisted Nine of Cups clear of the ground. After a somewhat tedious drive to the end of the launching slip (I don't think the Travelift driver really knows how to drive), they lowered away and Nine of Cups was in her element.

It was a little difficult getting into our slip, since it was a med-moor slip with long mooring ropes leading ashore from the bow and from the stern to two mooring balls. Naturally, when you're trying to maneuver in tight quarters, the wind pipes up. As the staff was trying to secure the mooring lines, the boat drifted towards Cosmos, the boat next door. We finally got secured with no damage and no bruised egos. Nine of Cups really felt like a boat again, heeling and tugging at her lines in the afternoon breeze.

We spent some time doing more rigging. The headstay had been removed so the boat could fit in the Travelift, and reinstalling it was a real pain. We had to rig up several lines and grunt and groan before David could finally ram the clevis pin home. That evening, Marcie cooked a delicious meal, and afterwards, full of supper and wine, we sat around the table telling stories and enjoying each other's company. Marcie presented me with a special treat, my own bag of yummy M&M's, which are a dear luxury in Ecuador. But we were back in the water again, and the beginning of our voyage is a scant two days away. Oh, boy!

In the left picture, the workers are positioning the lifting straps. They put paper between the straps and the hull so the shiny hull wouldn't get scratched. In the right picture, they are taking out the jackstands even though the keel is still touching the ground. The Travelift takes up most of the weight, but they don't seem to like lifting the keel well clear of the ground, as in other marinas.

Pulling out of our parking space on the way to the launching well.  

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