August 15, 2017
The long anticipated day finally arrived today… after all this time Exit has returned home to the water where she belongs! Even the overcast sky and constant drizzle of rain could not dampen our spirits for this milestone event. The night before we had arranged with the yard to raise her up another five feet in the air so we could drop the centerboard and put on a final coat of anti-fouling paint. They put Exit in the gigantic two story tall diesel powered sling and hoisted her up as the last boat of the day, leaving her there in the sling overnight so we could make the final preparations.
We had planned on staying in a hotel for the night, as the deck was now about twelve feet off the ground and we were sure the office would frown on us sleeping in a boat while it was in the sling. However, the only hotels available within a one hour drive were going to cost us $200… so we decided to not ask the office if it was okay to sleep aboard and opted for the backup defense that we had not been informed this was not allowed. Sometimes it’s better to just stay ignorant!
Now, as Exit swayed gently in her dual slings, suspended inside a massive rolling hoist that made our 46 foot boat look tiny, we eagerly walked alongside, slowly making our way the 300 or so yards to the launch slip. As the crew carefully lowered her into the water Kris and I had ear to ear grins on our faces, regretting only the fact that we didn’t have a bottle of champagne to celebrate the big launch! They towed us to the outside of one of the docks via a small dinghy and tied us up there, where we would be allowed to stay free of charge through he rest of the week if we chose to – a perk included in our haul-out terms.
The rest of the day was spent trying to sort out some of the systems we had to be in the water for before we could operate. We constantly found ourselves grinning and announcing to each other, “We’re on the water!” Everything went smoothly and, to our relief, the refrigeration/freezer system worked fine (though it took about five hours to confirm with the extended time it took to get the temperature down).
The only real drama occurred at one point while we were checking the fridge motor and compressor while it was running. We noticed a small but continuous drip of water coming from a hose. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that the hose clamp that was in place had actually rusted all the way through and was there but not doing anything. No problem… we had a giant zip lock bag full of hose clamps. But, just as I was getting ready to slip the replacement clamp on, the hose burst off and, with the pump still running, a massive volume of water began gushing from the end of the hose. Already our first on-the-water-oh-shit-moment!!! Fortunately, I reacted with the decisive precision of an experienced sailor… or a little Dutch boy… I yelled “HOLY SHIT!!!” and stuck my finger in the hole while Kris ran to the switchboard and turned off the pump.
The crisis was quickly resolved but it drove home just how easily a small problem could become a disaster on a boat – in the open ocean with both of us on deck not realizing what was happening, a major influx of water like that could quickly threaten both the vessel as well as us. Water outside the boat good… water inside the boat very bad!!!
Despite all the hurdles, challenges, trials and tribulations, Exit is finally back in the water, we’re aboard her, and she’s all ours! Now we all we have to do is get her out past the marina breakwater, hoist up the mainsail, and do some sailing.