Friday 8th. May, 2015 – Launching Day 

Tom took this picture on his telephone – I had forgotten my camera (fortunately or it would have got very wet)!

I was up and about by quarter to five and Tom, Rachel and I set off in Tom’s car, towing Olivebank at 5 a.m., arriving at Amble by seven and having Olivebank ready to launch by eight.

We got our key and our pass from the marina office and launched about eight fifteen, an hour and three quarters after high water. The launching was not altogether without incident – the launching area is just that: a slip into an area of water, with nowhere to tie up once the boat is in the water. Thus we found ourselves with Tom on land having lowered the boat into the water off the back of his car, Rachel in the boat and me in the water holding on to the boat while Rachel lowered the engine and started it up – it has to run for at least five minutes before it can be set in gear, otherwise there is a great risk of a stall (and we had to pick our way between all of the yachts moored close by). Unfortunately in my enthusiasm to hold the boat for Rachel, my waders filled with water and I couldn’t get on to the boat until we had brought it back into the real shallows, and I had to steer the boat into the marina while extremely wet (not only that but the centre-board wouldn’t drop and steering was extremely difficult as there was nothing against which the engine could bite).

However we made it safely to our lovely new berth and while I tidied the boat up, Rachel and Tom walked into Amble to buy me a pair of dry trousers! Back on the boat we keel-hauled the hull to free the centre-board and everything should now be perfect for our maiden voyage (which will have to wait until after Christian Aid Week).

With everything shipshape we went off to Amble for breakfast – a wonderful meal served by the staff at SeaSalt, breakfast in a frying pan and everything you could wish and even more.

We drove home and I had a wonderful feeling of having achieved something – even if it was only having got a boat into the water. But now it is done and the summer sailing programme can get underway.

Rachel dived straight into her kilt-making classes, I had a late lunch in the farmhouse and then sorted out some of the detritus left after the getting of the boat ready for its trip south. In the evening, after our evening meal, Rachel and I watched some television before bed (after, of course, taking Mix for a walk. We have to make sure that both Rowan and Mix know how important they are because tomorrow our numbers will be swelled by a new puppy, Bramble. But more of that tomorrow!


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