Solo-Launching of ‘Sassy Gaffer’…

As of today (May 12, 2016) at 18:00 EDT, the Com-Pac SunCat 17 “Sassy Gaffer” is back in the water and moored to her assigned dock at the sailing club (in the attached picture she is seen this afternoon while temporarily moored to the side-dock at the ramp).


Here is the account of the day events, which after all these years I can still attend – I am happy to admit it – without reminders or hesitations and entirely single-handed (I guess that – as Dr. van Helsing puts it in “Draccula: Dead and Loving It” – “…I still got it!“):

  • Ahead of the launch:
    • Get fuel for the outboard engine
    • rig fenders to the assigned dock in the marina
    • make sure the floating docks are in position at the ramp
  • Load in the car:
    • the outboard engine (with safety cord and anti-theft device)
    • the RudderCraft tiller and rudder
    • mooring lines
    • fenders
    • external fuel tank with fuel line
    • wooden ladder (to board the boat while on the trailer)
    • the hitch paraphernalia
    • the wading boots
  • Drive to the wintering yard
    • Remove tarp
    • Remove plastic bags used to block through-holes
    • Rig the hitch with the tongue extension
    • Unfold the tongue extension of the trailer
    • Attach the trailer to the ball-hitch
    • Hook up the safety chains
    • Attach the electric plug for the trailer lights
    • Check the brake and turning lights in the trailer
    • Check the air pressure of the trailer tires
  • Drive to the ramp & prepare the boat
    • Remove electric connector from the hitch (brake light bulbs may explode otherwise)
    • Install outboard in bracket
    • Attach ladder to the side of the boat on the trailer
    • Install fuel line and fuel tank (may need to “dive” into “lazarette”…)
    • Install tiller and rudder
    • Attach the mooring lines (both sides) – leave bow line within reach in the bow
    • Attach fenders (both sides, but none ahead of the reference poles in the trailer (they foul against these poles upon launching)
    • Tilt up the outboard
    • Tilt up the rudder
    • Secure the centerboard in the elevated position
    • Remove the ladder from the side of the boat
    • Invert the anchor at the bow (during launching it tends to foul with the winch of the trailer)
    • Get the boat-hook within reach in the cockpit
    • Put on the boots
  • Back the boat and trailer into the water
    • Park the car at the ramp with the rear wheels wet just below the axle
    • Go in the water and step on the trailer tongue
    • Release the chain securing the bow to the trailer
    • Release the trailer winch gradually and ease the bow aft
    • Unhook the strap of the trailer winch from the pad-eye at the bow
    • Grab the bow line and step on the side dock
    • Secure the boat at the end of the dock using the bow and beam and stern lines
  • Drive the trailer out of the water
  • Return to the boat at the ramp side-dock
    • Lower the rudder into the water
    • Lower the outboard into the water
    • Start the outboard
    • Check forward and aft gears
    • Release the mooring lines (bow and stern lines first and from the dock, beam line last and from the boat)
  • Pilot the boat to its dock
    • Cleat mooring lines
    • Switch off  outboard
    • Elevate outboard  out of the water
    • Tilt ruder upright
    • Return anchor at the bow to its normal resting position on the bow roller
  • Return to the car
    • Remove the wading boots
    • Re-attach trailer electric connector to the hitch
  • Drive the trailer back to the yard
    • Unhook the trailer
    • Fold its tongue
    • Secure its wheels
  • Drive home
    • Park the car
    • Remove hitch extension
    • Take a shower
    • Have a beer
    • Write this…
  • For another day…
    • All required safety equipment
    • All non-required safety equipment
    • Ring buoy and floating line
    • Tools and Parts
    • Install “Windex”
    • Hoist the mast (check forestay, shrouds and turnbuckles)
    • Rig the sail (and sail cover)
    • Install Bimini
    • Install boat batteries
    • Install solar panel and charge controller
    • Check all lights
    • Hand-held electronics (GPS, VHF radio, APRS radio, sounder, anemometer)
    • Laptop computer
    • Autopilot
    • Ham equipment (radios, antennas, telescopic mast, etc.)
    • Port-a-potty, etc.
    • Force 10 BBQ (w/propane tanks)
    • Butane stove (w/butane cans)
    • Galley stuff
    • Provisions (Water, Food)
    • Additional anchors and rodes (Delta, Rochna, Fortress)
    • Bring the dinghy
    • Flags!
    • Documents & Charts
    • Sail away!

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