After all these years I still find launch day stressful and I don’t sleep well the night before. Has something been forgotten? Will there be a leak, which would mean another expensive lift-out and in again? Will the cooling water system prime itself?
But, today, things went well. The weather was perfect and probably as fine as I’ve experienced in March in Fleetwood. Typically, Bubble is launched in driving rain and a blow and the experience is miserable but today it was really quite pleasant. Simon and Josh arrived exactly on time and everything went smoothly. Just enough Micron 350 was left to paint the six squares where the cradle pads had been and I painted the bottom of the keel too. In a warm breeze there was a better chance than usual that the paint will dry a little before immersion.
The only moment of anxiety came when I started the engine but the seawater pump failed to self-prime – one of the launch-day fears. I had filled the strainer with fresh water, having experienced the problem on previous launches, but still nothing from the exhaust. I realised that when the seacock for the cooling system is opened the water in the strainer just flows out through it to sea, so I closed it, filled the strainer again and restarted the engine. This time all was well so I opened the inlet and the system was fine.
Catherine arrived once Bubble was on her berth and we took advantage of the weather and lunchtime high water to have a three-hour shakedown sail in gorgeous weather. We enjoyed lunch aboard out in the bay.
I am happy that all is well, the various underwater jobs are all sound and that Bubble is ready for the challenges of the next few months.
There’s a video of the launch and the sailing immediately afterwards here.