We launched on Sunday 20 June 2010! What a great day it turned out to be.
The day dawned with a heavy fog but by 8am it had cleared with a fresh breeze blowing in from the west. Our GIS had been loaded up on the trailer the previous day and already hitched to the car, so all we had to do was jump in and take off.
We arrived at Taylors Beach (Port Stephens NSW) to be greeted with a fresh south westerly of approximately 20 knots, so I decided that we'd better have a reef tied in for our first sail. Kim's parents, who had given us a 1948 Australian penny for under the mast, suddenly produced a 35 year old champagne for the christening! Wow, was it good, unlike any champagne I had ever tasted. I'll post a transcript of the ceremony in a subsequent post, but we had quite a few intrigued locals over to watch and help.
We named her Hakuna Matata! Means "no worries" in Swahili, and made famous by the song in the Lion King. We had decided a couple of months ago not to call her Shesha, for a number of reasons.
You would never have guessed it was mid winter on the water. Both water and ambient temperature were 20 deg C and a warming sun prevailed, so we didn't even need our warmies!! The splash was small, and she floated mighty high and we were soon off, lucky to be taking off on a broad reach so we could get over the shallows with just a few cm of board and rudder down. Once out in the deep, we were moving pretty quickly, with Kim sitting on the centre seat on the lee side and me on the gunwale. We cruised up and down, trying out all points of sailing. First impressions are how easily the Goat moves and the quick, unfussed acceleration when a gust comes, but at all times she was comfortable with the two of us and one reef in.
After an hour or so, we were signalled that a hot coffee was awaiting us on the beach so we pulled in. The tide was now fully in so the shallows were no problem any more. What happened next was hilarious. I was holding the boat in knee deep water and as Kim climbed out, a gust of wind hit us. Her foot caught on the sheet, and before we knew it we had managed to capsize her on the shore. Kim fell in and was well and truly dunked, much to the mirth of the gallery on the shore. It was a funny moment.
After bailing all the water out and warmed by a cup of coffee, I ventured out alone, still with one reef in. Kim by now was all rugged rugged up in dry clothes and with her dignity restored, but decided that was enough for one day.
However, the wind had died a bit and was probably down to 15 knots. Still, she was well behaved and I felt quite safe and in control sitting on the gunwale. I even threw in a couple of gybes without a problem. Time now to come in and remove the reef!
No sooner was I out there with full sail, than the wind abated some more to around only 10 knots, with just the occasional gust of about 15 knots to make things interesting. With full sail in this breeze, I really only had to hike out using the hiking straps 4 times as the gusts came through, and then it was down to sitting on the middle seat for the rest of the afternoon as the wind slowly dropped, and I only had an occasional opportunity to perch on the rail from then on.
Getting her out of the water and trailered up again was made easy with plenty of interested assistance from locals and folks out for the day having barbeques in the park beside the beach. There were no other sailing boats out there that we saw.
Driving home, we had a good laugh again as we remembered Kim's dunking, which of course was all my fault! I can't wait for next weekend, where we'll be taking her onto Grahamstown Dam, which is a large fresh water reservoir, well known for it's even breezes due to the low lying topography all around.
Oh, I forgot to mention, the camera took a dunking too when the boat was swamped by Kim's little episode, and it doesn't work any more I'll have to take the card to work tomorrow to get the pics off it. Luckily, it was a a pretty old, hardly used and cheapish 3mp Kodak and not my Fuji.
It was a pretty awesome day, so I now know how Christophe and John felt last w/e