Launching “Sassy” COVID-Style

Ready for her eleventh season…

This year “Sassy Gaffer” celebrated her eleventh season in the fresh inland waters of the Great White North. But first, she had to be launched. However, the epidemic of COVID-19 by the SARS CoV-2 Coronavirus hindered her return to the water because all ramps and marinas throughout the province remained closed. Finally, come early June, permission was given for the marinas to start populating their docks.  The picture above shows Sassy on June 14th with her mast and sail already rigged and hoisted. The one below shows different stages of the launching the previous day.

Approaching the ramp / At one of the docks at the ramp / At her slip in the marina…

Sassy had emerged from under her tarp two days before. Usually, it takes several trips to the marina before she is ready and commissioned. But the club was keeping most of its doors locked with the only access to the docks being through the main gate for the yard. This more than doubled the cartage distance between the car and the boat. Hence, this year, Sassy was fully fitted before she left her winter quarters. This was expected to increase her displacement at the launching ramp, which might cause the rudder to touch bottom if lowered before she would move into deeper waters, but this had a simple solution: she would first have to be brought alongside one of the docks at the ramp instead of being motored astern straight from the trailer (another possibility would have been to steer her aft the trailer with just the motor and deploy the rudder down once drifting in deeper waters, but the first approach was deemed safer).

Speaking about the rudder… on inspection at the yard, it was noticed that the pintles had some lateral play at the gudgeons and that the locknuts o the two pintle-bolts needed to be tighten, which was readily done. However, a lateral play for the rudder still persisted. Sassy is fitted with a Com-Pac SunCat Kick-Up Rudder Assembly by Rudder Craft (in fact, the picture in the above Rudder Craft link actually shows Sassy’s stern…!). The foil in this type of rudder design is held within a metal sheath, itself attached via two brackets for the two pintle-bolts that attach the whole contraption to the gadgeons at the stern of the boat. These brackets are themselves attached to the metal sheath via two bolts each. The two bolts affixing to the sheath the bracket for the lower pintle-bolt were loose (see the two red arrows in the left panel in the picture below). The locknuts for these two bolds are boxed inside the metal sheath and can only be reached from down below. Tightening the the lowest of the two was not much of a problem. However, in order to give access and tighten the upper nut, the lower bolt and nut had to be completely removed. This required the assistance by a professional mechanic and his magic tools. Luckily, Sassy has been wintering in the yard of a garage that happens to have my son Alex as one of its leading mechanics. The picture below also shows Alex’s hands expertly handling the appropriate tools for the job. Thank you Alex!

Tighteninng nuts and srews at the pintles and gudgeons…

A couple of hours after posting this article, “Sassy” was already in mid-Lac Deschènes:

First sail of the season: Sail coming up! / Sail is up!!

Just 5 NM in 2-hours… but a huge first sail, to replace the blues of the COVID-19 pandemia with those that fill the above pics… 😃