After the launch on Friday, the Gyrfalcon stayed at the dock in Port Townsend through the weekend. This was for several reasons: first to make sure that the planks were tight, and there was no significant leakage (there is always a small amount of leakage when a wooden boat is returned to the water until the planks swell), and second because the sea trial for the new bearings and the re-aligned shafts was scheduled on Monday.
Nancy and I spent the weekend on the boat. It was great to be home after 6 weeks of living out of suitcases. We made dinner in our own galley, and spent most of the weekend cleaning. The boatyard at Port Townsend is very dusty, and every horizontal surface in the Gyr was covered with a not-so-fine coat of grit.
Early Sunday morning, Nan drove me to the Seattle airport so that I could catch a flight. The rest of this blog is written by her, since I was on the east coast during the return voyage.
I spent the day at work catching up. Early Monday morning, Captain Ralph and I left Seattle in the Go-Fast-Boat (the 20 foot Zodiac) for a quick (2 hour) trip across the Sound to Port Townsend. It was choppy in the beginning, but just past Point No Point, the water turned glassy smooth. Going across in the GFB and towing it back meant that, when we brought the Gyrfalcon back across the Sound, the car would be in Seattle, not in Port Townsend. The logistics of having the boat in one location and the car in another can become quite complicated, especially since it is a 5 hour round trip to pick up the car if it is left in the wrong place. We often felt that we were living the old tale of the fox, the goose and the sack of corn (http://riddleshub.com/fox-goose-corn/).
On the way out of the harbor for the sea trial on Monday, I finally got to pilot the boat for the first time. What a blast! I backed her off the dock, turned her around inside the marina, drove her out into the Sound for the sea trials, and then brought her back and docked her.
Captain Ralph said to me, “I wish I had a pulseometer. Your pulse is way up.” I’m sure that was true, but I was very focused and calm inside.
The sea trials went well. Joe and Leland went out with us, and checked and rechecked the bearings. One of the bearings still runs a little warm. Since our return, Leland has come over to Seattle to tweak the orientation, and plans to join us on the first leg of our trip in July (Seattle to Port Townsend) for another session of adjustment. We may need to re-align the shafts before we take our long trip in July, since there may have been sufficientchange in geometry when the boat was placed back in the water. As of last week, the bearings are not running dangerously hot, but I think all concerned would be happier if the bearings and alignment were perfect.
Captain Ralph and I stayed in Port Townsend for the night after the sea trials. On Tuesday morning, there was a mad rush to take care of last minute cleaning, rechecking, calibrating, and other odds and ends. Our friends and fellow CYA members Rick and Cathy Randall came up from Bainbridge to lend a hand for the return voyage.
You have to remember this is a very large boat that requires multiple people for safe operation. You need a captain to steer, an engineer to keep the engines and other systems operational, and several deckhands to deal with fenders, docking and going through the locks. We think a minimum crew of three is essential – more if available.
I brought the boat back across the Sound—more good practice piloting the boat. The trip across was uneventful. Rick, being an analytical sort, kept detailed records of bearing temperatures every 20-30 minutes across the sound. At the end, he produced a detailed record complete with a drawing of where the bearing tended to be the hottest. Cathy made a valiant effort to stay awake (though, like me, she finds boats very relaxing) and volunteered for galley duty. Captain Ralph took the Gyrfalcon through the small locks. The Gyrfalcon pretty much fills the small locks. The Gyr had a bit of difficulty getting away from the wall while pulling out of the locks. We’ll need to experiment with different ways to orient the boat while pulling out of the locks.
The Gyrfalcon arrived at its permanent mooring around 4:00 pm, where it was met by a ground crew of friends and advisors, all of whom know the best way to tie the lines. Once the boat was secured, I took Rick and Cathy downtown to catch the Bainbridge ferry back to their home.
As the day was ending, I got the shore power connected and collapsed. It was an exhausting but rewarding couple of days.I was much more comfortable driving the boat, and I got 2 days of qualifying time for her 100 ton license. I needs a total of 180 days, of which 90 has to be within the last year. We figure it will take me 2 years, if we go out almost every weekend. We are willing to make that sacrifice.