She's in the water. She doesn't have a mast, but that's ok. We know where it is. She doesn't have quite a few other basic things, in fact, but she's floating. That feels good, very good.
Here at Port Napoleon, power and sail boats are lifted in and out of the water as a matter of daily routine. The travel lift is the star attraction, its towering blue frame drawing the eye like a ferris wheel. You take a ticket for the ride and wait your turn. When you hand over your 18 tonne baby to the travel lift guys - who are not unlike carnival men - you engage your head, and try to ignore the agitation of your heart. Other people's boats strung up in the travel lift are just passing curiosities, but yours is....well, she's different.
When it came time for her to be moved towards the travel lift, Alex was nowhere to be seen. He'd gone to confirm which pen we were going to put her into. I untied the ladder - that bloody ladder - and set her free to move. The man in his machine pushed her towards the water like a boy pushing a toy on a table. '
Once she was hoisted in the straps, the anti-foul guy came back with his paint and brush and patched up the bottom of her keel, which she'd been resting on during those 11 months, and the bare spots where she'd been held by the arms of the cradle.
Her engine kicked over on the first turn. There were some problems manoeuvring her. The folding prop, as it turns out, crabs to starboard in reverse (all propellers favour one or other side, and I won't continue with that imagery) and our previous two boats crabbed to port. That threw Alex - I think it must be a bit like reversing in a left-hand drive car (which I can't do very well yet). Luckily he had Matthew, who has a reputation as Port Napoleon's demon helmsman, on board with him - I missed the boat, of course. She's in her pen now, and inconceivably given the state of the interior, we'll be moving aboard her on Saturday morning, for a long time.
There are a lot of loose ends still to tie up. The davits need to be fixed to the boat, the new bowthruster and windlass wired up, the engine serviced, the HF antenna attached to the backstay... I could go on, but Marcus was installing two bookshelves when I left the boat an hour or so ago., and that made me happy. That's Markus the rigger, who originally trained as a cabinetmaker. Books make a big difference to a boat's interior.
We carried a lot of books on Kukka, but on this voyage we have defected to Kindle, for obvious reasons. I did however bring my hardcover set of Virginia Woolf's diaries with me. There are some books you don't like to sail halfway around the world without....you could, but why would you want to (to bastardise a quote from our very good friend Mike about his fabulous wife Alisa)?