Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer 2013

After a long few months of the Surf Boat soaking up the spring rains, it was finally time to take off the tarps and do some finishing touches.  Pascal Antionetti, over at Nantucket Community Sailing, dropped off the beautifully refinished spars which allowed Eric Holch to sit down and figure out the rigging.  He basically disassembled a Marshall Cat rig and used the ropes and blocks to make something work for the surfboat.  At this stage, a lot of this rigging work was guess work, but in the end we found it to work very well.

I did some final touches on the interior of the Surf Boat.  I added a few more backing blocks to support the thwart brackets, added a block and purchase system onto the centerboard, and drove home a few more screws that needed driving.  Most of my focus, however, was in the launching of the boat and making sure that when she went it, she would not sink to the bottom.  To do this, I allowed some rain water to fill up the boat and sit before draining it out.  This allowed the boat to swell a tiny bit more, but also show me where she was leaking.  I went around with some slick seam and covered the spots that looked like they would be more of an issue.

On a clear June afternoon, Eric Holch, Bill Fredericks, and Pascal Antionetti met me down at the launch ramp to splash her for the first time.  John Stanton and film crew where there to make some movies of the boat going in.

My initial idea that day was to get the boat in the water, make sure she didnt sink, maybe row it around a bit, then get it on the mooring.  Once in the water with the mast rigged and with a little elbowing from Bill we decided that it was too nice of a day to just leave it at that.  We got to row her, steer by the oar, rig both the main and the jib, attach the rudder and get some amazing sailing in as well.

The boats performance far exceeded any expectations that I had.  She actually sailed well and tacked through the wind with no issues and was light on the helm.  I cannot tell you how internally happy that made me feel.  After years of neglect, then months of hard work, an old Surf Boat from the 1940s was now sailing around Nantucket Harbor under my hand.

And soon I was to turn it over to Eric and to his son Sven who would run the two week Sea of Opportunities Program this August, which turned out to be an incredible success.

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