Back in the water again
Tuesday morning, Tadpole and I finished work on the patches on the inside of Black Magic and painting on the patches and filler on the bow. Tuesday evening, Pat was planning to come up to the lake with a sailing friend who owns a Thistle, who up until recently worked as a bartender – we’ll call him Sam – so late Tuesday afternoon Tadpole and I wanted to get the boat in the water so that, weather permitting, we could all go sailing.
Under looming clouds and building winds, we let the trailer into the water, and we discovered that the trailer didn’t have to be very deep at all for the boat to float free – the front V needed to be only about three inches below the surface of the water. This is good to know for future retrievals of boats, since it means we can do well even on ramps that aren’t so steep. The design of the mount for the front tire also performs well – it’s not an easy pivoting mount, so it requires a lot of extra time to unbolt the tire from its carrier and then mount it, with all six lug nuts, on its axle. But the stability gained is worth the extra time; this trailer is going to roll straight backwards, never turning, never stalling because of a wobbly wheel.
Our biggest problem had nothing to do with either the trailer or the weather. There was a group of Girl Scouts in canoes who were launching from the shore next to the boat ramp. This was a much younger bunch than last week (Tadpole’s comment about the earlier bunch: “Oh, bikinis!”), and they were just beginning to learn how to handle canoes, so we had to watch out for them. There’s a Girl Scout camp in the Jemez Mountains, near Cuba, and the camp has started keeping some canoes here at Heron Lake to provide an aquatic program. I can envision the New Mexico Sailing Club cooperating with the Girl Scouts so that, in addition to canoes, the girls can also learn sailing – hey, we now have four Sunfish for them to have fun on, plus a couple of Lasers, a Windmill, a Sabot, and a Snark.
Anyhow, getting back to the boat launching: We got Black Magic into the water with no difficulty whatsoever, even as the winds were building. Tadpole and I were just getting the trailer reconnected to the truck when Pat and Sam arrived at the marina and came over to the ramp with Syzygy. If they had only showed up twenty minutes earlier, when the trailer was still in the water, we could have put Syzygy on Black Magic’s trailer and hauled her out to work on that centerboard. But storm clouds were gathering, and I didn’t want to spend time unbolting and rebolting that tire, especially since we had a temporary letting-up of the wind that would let Black Magic get safely to her slip in the marina. So Tadpole and Sam took Black Magic, Pat took Syzygy, and I dropped the trailer off in the parking lot above the boat ramp and then drove the truck around to the marina.
About the time I got to the marina, the skies let loose, with rain, wind, and lightning. It was clear we weren’t going to get in any sailing. So we cooked up supper (Sam raved about the burgers – more testament to the quality of meat from the Chama Valley Supermarket), and we watched the rain fall. Finally, the rain abated, and Pat, Sam, and Tadpole took the truck south (Tadpole has music lessons on Wednesdays, which means he takes the cello and bass, which means he and Pat take Babe, the truck), while I got El Caballero. Unfortunately, they seem also to have taken the camera, so I can’t post pictures of the boat repairs yet.
I’m not completely satisfied with the repairs on Black Magic. The patch over the cleat-gouge in the bow is dented in. Next time we get the boat out of the water, I want to sand and then apply more filler, doming it outward so we can sand it flat and then paint it later. But at least for the moment, the boat is in the water, and it does appear to be seaworthy.