SPLASHED: In Early May! First Time Ever

Lunacy launched

Lunacy got launched and rigged at Maine Yacht Center on Monday. I was up there yesterday and managed to get all the sails on before the rain squalls started up. As you can see from the photo up top, I’ve scored some new canvas, courtesy of Richard Hallett: a replacement purple dodger, a new bright red sail cover, and a new bright blue sunshield on the headsail. At last this is close to the canvas-color configuration I envisioned when I first got the boat, lo these many years ago. (Please note: the canvas multi colors match those of the name graphic, the logic of which I’ve explained before.)

Every spring I’ve launched a cruising sailboat in New England, I always swear I’ll be afloat as early as possible in May. But something always happens–endless varnishing projects (back when I had boats with brightwork), or some awful unforeseen time-consuming repair (most commonly), or simple mission creep (stuff taking much longer than expected)–and usually I’m lucky if the damn boat is in by mid-June. So I’m feeling pretty pleased about this. Apprehensive, too. As predicted in my last post on this subject, the blizzard should be hitting any day now!

We did have one unexpected hiccup just prior to launching, which cost a few days. As part of the rudder-skeg welding project, I asked MYC to install a new bearing where the rudder stock pierces the transom scoop. The old poured-epoxy bearing, of questionable provenance, had to be chipped out prior to the welding anyway, as it was very close to where all the action (i.e., heat) was. MYC proposed inserting a plastic Delrin bearing, which sounded perfect to me.

Newe Delrin bearing

Here you see the new skeg root with finished fillets, post primer, prior to bottom paint being applied. The new Delrin bearing can be seen inside the tube that penetrates the transom scoop

Jean-Claude's skeg

This is the alternative solution adopted by Jean-Claude Fontaine, who owns one of Lunacy‘s five sister-ships and had a similar problem with the external skeg weld failing. He fabricated a whole new skeg and carried it into the interior of the boat, where it was tied into the internal framing (Thanks to Jean-Claude for sharing the photo!)

After Lunacy‘s rudder was reinstalled, we found it was binding terribly on the bearing and it was very hard to turn the rudder. On closer inspection we realized the bearing tube is a little out of whack and isn’t perfectly parallel to the rudder stock. This, I reckon, was why a poured-epoxy bearing was installed in the first place. Fortunately, it only took a couple of days to remove the plastic bearing and pour a new epoxy one around the stock.

As noted earlier, MYC is a very good place to ogle OPBs (Other People’s Boats). This is American Promise, Dodge Morgan’s old boat, which was launched while I was there yesterday.

American Promise

That’s a brand new cabinhouse on her. The plywood core of the old one was thoroughly rotten, so MYC removed it over the winter and built a new one.

American Promise minus cabinhouse

American Promise with her house off

American Promise rudder

Promise also needed work done on her rudder. They had to cut a hole in the storage shed floor to drop it

Back to my new dodger. I had Richard modify the design a bit.

New dodger

I asked that the window be made smaller so that I could fold the dodger down without mashing it all up at the corners. It’s not quite as spiffy looking, but it’s much more practical. I still have a good view of the mainsheet traveler, which is what I mostly look through the window at anyway.

Here you see the dodger with its side-wings on; in the photo up top those are off. I normally only put those on when thrashing to weather in gnarly conditions.

I’ve still got a bunch of work to do on the boat, so I’m hoping to get up there tomorrow. I’ll be wearing my snowshoes just in case.

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