Friday, 24 August 2012

Afloat !

Spray was launched this morning at 11 am and is resting comfortably (we hope) on her mooring in the Auray River.  Everything went smoothly, despite scattered showers and a stiff breeze.

Spray hanging from her ball in the Auray River.
We now believe what we have been told: if you wait until everything is perfect to put the boat in the water, you’ll never put the boat in the water.  At least our remaining problems are not ones that require the boat to be on dry land.  

Since the last update, our gremlins continue to play hide-and-seek.  Two days ago as we were putting on the last coat of bottom paint, we noticed that the joint around the keel was still sticky and gooey.  After 2 months of drying time, we thought this a bit odd and called the boatyard guys to check it out.  They declared that the sealant had failed to cure, which, according to the Sika company, is a “phenomena” that happens in about 1 in 10 batches.  (Now honestly, is a known, regular 10% frequency really a phenomenon?)  That was easy enough to fix but fortunately we had already postponed the launch date.

Our last big mystery is the alternator failing to charge the batteries.  The electrician said he’d never seen anything like it, and suspects the regulator.  We have a date next Wednesday with the experts in Crouesty, the largest port in the Gulf of Morbihan area.  Fortunately, it’s something that can be fixed with the boat in the water, so no excuse for a launch delay.

3 burners with 30mbar pressure regulator.

The gas stove now works with our new French fittings.  We had anticipated not being able to use all 3 burners at the same time, since the new pressure regulator is 30mbar and the original German one was 50mbar, but when we fired up the burners, we got a good strong flame out of all 3.  Crazy Germans.  (wink at MV !)

The bow plate has been installed (zoom in on 1st photo above) and we added an anchor-chain connector (Junction KONG) so that the chain and anchor retract smoothly in the bow roller.  Because the hole in the anchor stock was not a simple round hole but an oblong one, the junction tended to slide down when not under strain, so we had to fill the hole with some clever seamanship.  Time will tell if it holds up to chaffing, but it works well for now.

Anchor-chain connector.
We finally removed the last 2 names of the boat from the transom (Zephyr and Er Gwennick) and put the SPRAY sticker in place.  We opted for a metallic silver color that we thought would be evocative of sea spray shining in the sun, and unfortunately this is the case, rendering it a bit hard to see when the sun hits it at a certain angle.  We also renamed the life buoy but I suspect Zephyr is still written on the inflatable annexe.  A battle for another day.

And for our next trick, 3 days of REST !  We’ve been working very long days non-stop for the last 3 months and my body’s alternator, like Spray’s, has entirely failed to recharge my batteries. 

A big thanks to all who gave advice, equipment, and a helping hand in getting Spray into the water over the last 3 months:  Antoine and Caroline, Remi, Daniel, Roland, the Le Borgne Crew (Nicolas, Patrick, Yves, Alain, Eric, Betty, et Helene), the E3 electricians Patrick and Philippe, Jacques (we tested out the annexe this morning - it's perfect - thank you !), and last but foremost, Guru Bob.