Our Thursday started as so many days do with a bowl of porridge and a cup of tea. This day was a little different though as we'd removed all of our stuff from Christopher's house except our bedding with the hope that we would not be going back to use it that night.
We killed time in the morning making final preparations and tidied up.
As agreed, Perry with his crane arrived at noon and without a buy your leave proceeded to set up his crane. He clearly was set on getting the job done.
As Perry normally transports heavy machinery such as bulldozers, his truck is not designed or equiped for moving boats.
We had come up with a cunning plan which involved strapping the cradle to the boat as she got lifted onto the lorry. This meant that the cradle would once again support her on her way to the sea. As we wanted to avoid the whole lot toppling off when going round bends or on surfaces with camber.
Duncan made clamps out of plywood and steel plate which we bolted through the stanchion bolt holes. These could then be used to tighten down the boat to both the cradle and the truck as we moved. We did this with ratcheting heavy duty straps.
Without much ado the boat was lifted by the crane's straps with a spreader bar avoiding her getting crushed and placed on the truck, tied down and ready for off.
Claire; "This is better than TV" high praise indeed! We attracted lots of attention as you'd imagine, several cars stopped to watch and a few of the police came out to make banal coments. They weren't generally a particularly friendly bunch towards us.
All untethered detritus flew off over the first half a mile; skillfully dodged and retrieved by the Neitzel family who were a little quicker off the mark than us. This was Ruth's fault as she'd been concentrating so hard on the boards to avoid snagging any low hanging wires she neglected to do a proper safety sweep. In our defense we never imagined he'd go so fast nor had we noticed it was rather windy out!
After around a mile and a half we were caught up with them and stopped at traffic lights when Duncan noticed the loose end of one of the ratcheting straps trailing on the ground. Very quickly this went under the truck wheel pulling it with a force so tremendous that it sheared the webbed strap material. This then caught up in another strap, trailed and the same thing happened this time the ratchet pulled apart and broke. Duncan was flashing his lights, I was yelling and banging on the window and the driver pulled over.
We were able to repair one of the straps and had to do without the other as the driver was unwilling to call Perry over to get another. At this point amongst the horrible stress Duncan made a fun discovery; he was able to shim up onto the boat by climbing the gudgeons and pintales (hinges) of the rudder.
Ivan called him an ape, I called him amazing! So once again we set off, this time even more nervous and with us driving in front of the truck keeping our speed right down to a maximum of 30mph!
We'd asked our friend Tracie to take us some photos of Impetuous passing over a big road bridge that crosses the bay, she went one better and took a video. There are a few others on you tube labelled Impetuous posted by Tracie Boyd if you're interested though we haven't had a chance to check them all yet!
After a hairy turn into the marina across several lanes of traffic we were finally there and we breathed a collective sigh of relief. The boatyard lifting her into the water was a breeze as they do this all the time.
Finally we were in; a quick whiz around all the seacocks and thru hull fittings confirmed no leaks and we were ready to start a new chapter. This experience was so different from launching Duncan's wooden boat 'Star Shell' when each time he wonders how long it may be before she sinks! Our friends Steve and Tracie came on board and we took a moment to have a well deserved beer.
Tracie took their dog ashore and waved us off for our maiden voyage which began hilariously with Duncan putting her in gear and us moving backwards; the throttle/gear cable was wired the wrong way round! So having put her into reverse, we proceeded to go forward with gentle ease and grace; the engine sounding pleasantly quiet and problem free.
We took her out a bit in a wide sweep and tried a few steering manouvers before heading back in to take our chosen mooring spot alongside a scruffy looking bit of canal (we're hoping we'll get away with being a little messy here).
So here we are and we couldn't be more delighted. It feels every bit as wonderful as we thought it might to finally be in the water.