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Wow - it’s been a massive few weeks, months and years but the final countdown until we launch is underway. At this point stress levels rise at the same time speed as the excitement, however some of the nerve wrecking moments, like lifting her with the crane and putting the keel back on are done and dusted already! I’ve shared photos of it on Facebook and Instagram but I’ve promised a video, so here it is.
Of course it wasn’t just a 5 minute exercise to get everything prepped or to put her back on her keel on the day. It’s been weeks and weeks of getting ready to move the keel, move the boat and then of course getting ready for the big day, organising the crane, making sure we have enough materials etc. So in other words, there were quite a few stages involved in this phase. The very first one was moving the keel on the Friday to the slipway and then prepping the keel over the weekend for the big day. Here are some pics:
We also spent the weekend getting the boat ready to move to the slipway on Monday. A huge day for us as she’d been sitting in her spot at the back of the yard for nearly 3 years. Many hours of blood sweat and tears to get to this point, so as you can imagine, to us, this was quite a huge milestone reached! Here are a few pics of the move:
Once the boat and keel were both on the slipway it was time to have everything ready for when the crane lifts the boat. Firstly, the crane lifted the boat, then the yard had to move the trailer out from under the boat. The keel was sitting on the cradle down the slipway which then was winched up the slipway to under the boat. The yard uses the loader which operates a big hydraulic winch system to do that.
While this was happening Peter started mixing the epoxy and the Norsand crew started spreading the epoxy on the keel plate and around the bolts. The crane then lowered the boat slowly onto the keel bolts, while we used lines off the bow and stern to help with the positioning over the bolts. Once she was sitting on the keel, chocked and the first few nuts were tightened, the crane was able to leave. Here are some shots:
This was obviously a huge moment for us and a part of getting the keel back on accomplished but the job was far from over! We had to wait for the epoxy to cure before we could do the sikaflex seam on the joint, sikaflex all of the outside bolts in (we had only used a few to help position the keel), backfill the keel bolts from the top with the epoxy, touch up areas we couldn’t prime or antifoul prior to moving the boat and getting the rudder back into place and the steering reconnected etc. As usual - a million jobs...here are some pics:
A special thanks goes to the awesome Norsand crew! Without them this wouldn’t have gone as smooth as it did! Thank you Craig, Neville, Rob, Muzza & Shane for the awesome work! A huge thank you to Kevin, the brain behind the slipway operation and an engineer of a kind, for working out all the logistics of the movement of the boat and countless valuable advice along the journey over the last few years!!! We can’t thank Jo &Murray and their entire team at Norsand enough - it wouldn’t have been possible without you!!!
Less than a week to go until we launch - so watch this space - it’s getting exciting!!!