After months and months of working on Ariadne it was finally time for the launch. I could have put her in the water a couple of months ago but decided to do some extra jobs to get her that little bit closer to being race ready. In my usual fashion it was all a bit last minute, having had the splash date for a couple of weeks, the days leading up to it were spent working until the early hours to get the last few things sorted.
High tide wasn’t until 3.30pm so the launch wouldn’t happen until at least a couple of hours before that but she went into the slings at 9 to make sure we had plenty of time in case there were any hiccups. I finished off the antifouling around where the supports from the trailer had been, and also discovered that the heads intake which had been blocked back the trailer support so I hadn’t seen it until now, it was completely blocked up with old antifoul and a load of barnacles that had decided to take up residence there. The heads intake is a blakes seacock and has a grate over it so it doesn’t take much to block up the tiny holes in the grating. A wire brush and a small screw driver did the job nicely and I was able to finish off the painting. I had an old tub of antifoal from the last time Ariadne was painted, so it must be at least a year and a half old which I used up first before starting the new tin which is exactly the same make and colour shade, except the problem was that one being that much older it was quite a bit darker so her hull is now patchy unfortunately.
It was a pretty big day, the launch of Ariadne so my family came down for the event. There is something very nerve wracking about seeing your boat being slung about in slings, fortunately Ariadne had a very good crane driver which helped steady the nerves. Once she was in the water, I drove her round onto the pontoons by the slipway, discovering that there wasn’t enough water coming out of the exhaust. I had had the engine running the previous day with the engineer that works in the yard here, but as Ariadne was on the hard we took off the raw water intake leading to the impeller and using a hose and bucket ran up the engine. So there was no problems with the engine, but once she was in the water I realised that the raw water seacock was not fully opening. The handle on the valve itself was moving without a problem which I had previously checked but it was the ball inside the valve that had gone, luckily Alan the engineer had a spare one so Ariadne went back into the slings and the ball valve was quickly replaced and she slashed again.
Once back on the pontoons, my Mum, Dad, brother Nick and I ran around the boat getting the last few things ready for an afternoon sail. Dad had brought cake, Mum bought champagne, so a little celebrating was had and a perfect first sail. Glorious hot day, champagne sailing, must be a good omen of things to come.