Friday, December 01, 2006

Element is Afloat!

Element at anchor off Deer Island, Biloxi, Mississippi

The launching of Element finally happened Wednesday, after a much longer than anticipated refit. The whole thing, from trailering to the Gulf coast to offloading the hulls, assembly, rigging and sea trials went smoother than I ever expected. To this I owe thanks to all the great help I had from my good friend Artie Vaughn, of the sailing vessel Halcyon, and to Bill Barker and his son Houston, who traveled all the way from Colorado to participate in this launching and to buy my Hitia 17, Segundo Vez.

We arrived at the beach in Biloxi shortly before 9:00am and took our time to carefully move the hulls to the water's edge and assemble the boat and stow all the gear. Since I don't intend trailering this Tiki 21 except to bring it home for maintenance, I was more concerned with taking great care to get everything right than to try and see how fast I could get the boat from the trailer to sailing. We enjoyed conversation as we worked and took a break for lunch, but by 2:58pm, all gear was on board for an overnight excursion and vehicles and trailer were shuttled to the parking lot of the marina where the boat will be docked. We then shoved off and motored upwind to get away from the broken pilings of the many hurricane damaged piers along the beach before raising the main and jib and bearing away on a beam reach. Other than some issues with the main and jib halyards not working smoothly inside the mainsail sleeve, the boat performed as expected and felt much like sailing the smaller Segundo Vez.

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