Roger, our carpenter landlord and Ivan, our Bulgarian friend who is working on another Alajuela 38 nearby, have both been instrumental in the success of our project.
Ivan is a fount of knowledge on all things Alajuela; particularly on design and history; he has loads of books and has done a lot of research which we draw upon often. Roger has been there with us day in day out whilst we were on his land; lending an ear for our conundrums, offering helpful advice, lending us tools and on plenty of occasions outright teaching us how to do stuff.
We have learned so much from them both that this was their day...
We called Ivan this morning to tell him that today was the day and his reply was characteristic;
'I've been to check; there is no wind',
He can be a bit of a glass half empty kind of a guy.
Then we called Roger; his reply was also pretty characteristic;
'Great, we'll meet you at two, can I bring my boys along and should we bring anything? Perhaps some ice?'
So it was sorted.
Roger kindly picked up our new (old and battered) spinnaker pole for us at the junk (sorry 'Texas boaters' resale) shop and then picked me up at Blackburns, our marine wholesaler to give me a lift back to the boat. We'd decided to splash out on brand new jib sheets as our older ones were not long enough for our immense genoa.
We headed out around three and motored out of the channel flagged on all sides by roaring 'cigarette' boats which had been racing and playing poker in Galveston this weekend. These things have typically two to four engines in them, go up to 80-100mph and make a colossal racket (oh, and consume upwards of a gallon of fuel per minute flat out).
As we pointed our way out of the channel, these powerful boats were all over and were being photographed by a very low flying helicopter.
Once we set our sails it calmed right down, the engine was off by the second channel marker and we were whizzing along at 6 knots.
Then followed an absolutely blissful few hours of sailing. We weren't really going anywhere; just sailing about, trying her out and enjoying the afternoon sun.
There was just the right amount of wind...
Just the right amount of warmth...
Just the right amount of sunshine...
The right company...
Oh, and just the right amount of wind.
I was unceremoniously dumped (my idea) in the dinghy to bob around and take these photographs while Duncan and the others sailed her on all points of the wind.
Everyone had a go steering her and a bit of rope handling but mainly we all just sat around beaming at what a beautiful day it was to be on such a beautiful boat.
Rogers' wife Lynn brought us Mexican food and we all sat together in the cockpit as the last remnants of sunlight fell out of the day and up rose the full moon.
It could not have been more perfect.