Sailing Adventures: Shake-Down!

Motor & Leak Check

The Little Dipper has made it into the water on 3 occasions since the time of writing. We had several family members visiting a week ago, and I wanted their help since it’s the first time I’d ever launched a boat (among many other firsts).

It was nice to have so many friends and family around to watch the “maiden voyage”

For the first time in water, we just wanted to check if it was floating well, and how well the motor was working.

We got into the water and my father performed the renaming ceremony using a PBR. Renamed from the “Suckling Pig” to “The Little Dipper”.

Hopefully the ceremony was good enough for Poseidon…

Luckily, the Little Dipper has no visible leaks, and the motor rolls over with a single pull. What a success! It was pretty exciting to get out on the water.

Raising the Mast

The following day, we were eager to try and sail. The raising of the mast was quite difficult, because I approached it in the dumbest brute force way. And that way was to just lift it without fastening any of the stays (cables) or using anything to help hoist.

We onto the water, and the trip was quite short. The boom wasn’t set up properly, and so we made the decision to head back to shore. The boat launch is pretty busy, so I didn’t want to take up the dock, so we just pulled the boat back out.

Raising the Sail

Determined to move under wind power, we embarked once again a few days later. The raising of the mast was much easier by having 3 of the stays fastened and the mast holder that I built was quite helpful.

Unfortunately we broke a rivet holding the spreader to the mast, and I realized that is already had another missing rivet. So there was a large delay since we had to head all the way home to get supplies (and to the store).

It was already getting late and there was a storm in the horizon, so we didn’t have a ton of time. We didn’t hook up the jib to save time (Also I figured only using the main sail would be helpful easing into things). There was one problem – the swing keel wouldn’t drop.

I had the idea to wait for the wake from a big boat, and turn into it to help shake the keel loose. After a few minutes of waiting, we were able to make the move, and to our somewhat surprise, it worked!

We raised the main, and were sailing. We were extremely fortunate enough to have ran into some friends who were doing a shakedown of their own motor boat, and they were kind enough to take some pictures, radio us some pointers, and warn us of the storm.

Moving under the power of the wind!

We sailed for about 30 minutes before having to head back. Sure it was a lot of work but I think it was worth it! I’d read somewhere (I think it was a YouTube comment) that you don’t go into sailing expecting it to be easy or no work.

Sailing is beautiful both as a participant, and as an observer.
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