Very special thanks to Stewart for helping cover launch costs; a true gentlemen! Thanks also to Mezzo Man and David, who also donated funds and both hail from the United States. Without their generous help, I couldn't have launched yesterday, and I wouldn't be writing today with the news that not only did Constellation launch after all these months, but she floats. Thanks to Rob, Karin and Al from the boatyard who assisted enormously, whether by helping paint my topsides, to offering advice and tools, and even refuelling my gas canisters for free.
Thank you also to Jack from DNR-Production who flew over from Germany to film and assist. Jack is the first friend I've had come and see whether my boat actually exists after all these months, and it was really nice to see a familar face.
Thank you to Jeremy Rogers yachts for sending over a rudder pintle at the last minute, and letting me pay for it next week because none of my credit cards work. Finally, thank you to John and Kelly at Pantaenius for helping me get Constellation insured - The only people who would go beyond the pale in helping me obtain worldwide 3rd party insurance.
The evening before the launch I was still working on the boat, creeping around the hull with a Tesco's desk lamp, finishing off the paint, and ensuring the skin fittings and new transom pintle were secure and water tight. I woke up early, and finally had a chance to see if all my rudder construction was succesful, and I must say, I was fairly proud of myself when it all came together. Thanks Dad for being a wood worker, even though I'm not, because I must have picked something up along the way. The paint was still wet on the cheeks when Constellation launched, and needs another coat, which I'll need to paint on from a tender in the water. If you look carefully at the photos, you can see the waterline on the rudder still has pink panther pink on it.
Its been an enormous journey finally getting in the water, and now things are really set to start moving along. For almost 12months now, this entire project has been just a concept and a website, however now things have been pushed forward to a new level. The only thing that stops me from going for a sail right this second, is a new starter battery. And I must admit, that feeling is quite intense, because now that I carry my house on my shoulders, I have a new feeling of freedom quite unlike anything I've experienced before. I admittedly have some obstacles in my way, such as money issues, and the fact it would probably not be particuarly safe is I started off tomorrow, but it is the potential that is worth mentioning, and for that feeling to arise, a lot has been sacrificed to get here.
Thank you again to everybody; now the hard work really begins.
Two hours before launch, the rudder still wasn't on.
"Jaaack... Tell me nothing will go wrong!"
Constellation being backed onto the crane sling platform.
I had to finish off some of the antifouling on the hull while in the sling, and as I was underneath, she slipped (note the rope between to the two slings) and I came very close to moving at the speed of light in utter fear of being crushed. Special thanks to the rope that stops the slings from dropping 3.5tons of boat.
'Round she goes
The photo set now jumps straight to being moored, because as soon as she was in the water, I was onboard checking the seacocks furiously to see whether water was pooring in. Not a drop, the boat is completely watertight from the bottom (I still have window and cockpit leaks, but they're above the waterline).
I had a small pontoon party.
Which ended at the Jolly Sailor.