Saturday, April 9, 2011

stop curling your sun-drenched toes buddy- I've got wings

This tiny clip is probably best watched in full screen mode, but don't hold your breath for a plot. It merely represents a moment of surprise and pleasure, when the little electric pod did everything I had hoped for it, but with even less fuss than I had expected.
At this point we had already discovered that the boat would float. Always a good start. More than that, the centre-board pin was not leaking. More good news. But all of this is to get well ahead of myself. Not unusual.

I was standing outside my workshop an hour before this with a gusty, enthusiastic northerly busily rearranging what is left of my hair. I'm thinking; 'I'm going to test the results of a year of work in this?' Plan A was just to see if she floats, with an extension plan based around seeing how much I had stuffed up the installation of the electric pod. My lack of confidence was to be dealt with by the presence of a petrol outboard, to save face and give an impression of someone who knows what he is doing if the pod fell off, or fizzed excessively, or failed to move the boat against the wind or current, or jellyfish or some other obstacle sent by the powers that conspire to keep my ego in check.

They all failed. Everything worked.

Which meant that getting on with sailing would have to be the next challenge.

By the time we launched the wind had magically fallen away to a lazy blow, the sun was out and she had been rigged easily within 20 minutes- and I was being slow, precise and careful, it being her first time and all...(without the outboard and with some practice this figure will no doubt improve, especially if I feel like moving a bit more quickly).

I decided that given the morning's anxiety about gusts, I'd start with motor and lazy mizzen, progressing to jib and mizzen if all went well, but the idea of raising the main was not given much consideration until after about ten minutes of relaxed sailing in a gentle breeze, up went the main from the comfort of the cockpit, and without leaving my seat. Such luxury.
I was absolutely gob-smacked (after the luck of having such success with the pod) to find that all systems worked, and despite my own short-comings as a sailor, Annie was having a lovely time anyway.
She was a delight. Tacked easily despite me, light on the helm, lots of nice places to stretch out a naked foot and wiggle the toes in sunlit sheer delight that I was alive and THE DAMN THING WORKED. Arm over the coaming, breeze in my face. Jib furler easy and very helpful, main sail pulling us along, despite the pod, even in a very light breeze.

One or two gusts came out of nowhere, and there I was with two sheets in one hand, my son on the phone in the other, and the mizzen seeming to just let me do my own thing without any great demands on my attention, when all of a sudden, I looked up to the main that seemed suddenly very big and quite capable of something very powerful, and Annie said 'stop curling your toes in the sun buddy, there's plenty about me to see yet. I've got wings and I've got lungs and if you play your cards right we'll have some day'.

Julia and I had a really lovely, lazy sail, and then I had a blissful potter on my own. Love it.

Thanks for the design Mr. Welsford.


  1. Oh Rob, that video was priceless! The lovely Annie sweetly moving along under motor, with the out board at rest. I wonder how many other boaters fell over in shock.

    The thrust from the drive looks great as you accelerate away. More video please!

  2. Wot Dale said Rob.
    (has really been only a year? including nutting out the electronics & redesigning a tabernacle!!)
    Alan J

  3. Excellent. Congratulations is far too small a word.

    If I were closer I'd bring you a six bottles of something cold and hoppy.

  4. A big congratulations Rob! Absolutely beautiful. I wish you many many years of the bliss and happiness that you enjoyed on launch day.

  5. Congratulations! She looks great!

    The electric pod is a mite odd to see in action (she is clearly moving under power, but the outboard is not deployed). It looks very convenient.

    God bless!

  6. robert congratulations annie looks awesome and that electric pod is fantastic
    may you have many adventures in what is a wonderful looking boat
    well done rob

  7. May I add my enthusiastic congratulations, a wonderful job. Annie is sure to bring many more hours of pleasure.
    At the risk of an untended insult I've always thought a good description for Navigator is a "stout little boat" perhaps not appropriate for a boat named Annie though. Have fun Rob.


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  9. That's nice, Rob. Real nice!


  10. Well, what a great group of individuals to be corresponding with. It would be worth building a boat just for the people you'd meet in the process.
    Dale has seen the build when it looked all woody, and will no doubt be at the working end of the tiller before too long.
    AJ lives in another state, and has made some lovely kayaks, but the word is there may be a Houdini in the pipeline, and I sincerely hope that I will have the pleasure of some time on the water with him. Eyeinhand is a sensational photographer, and a friend of the maker of 'slipjig', and is one of those in USA that I'd love to spend some time with.
    Joel and Domunvitae both have beautiful Navigators in the process of being built, and both have great blogs, very much worth a visit. In a sense we will be members of the same club when we all have variants of the same boat on the water, even if we are spread across three continents.
    Steve is also a member of that club and his blog is evidence of the adventures to be had in a Navigator with a bit of planning and courage. M2c1Iw is also from another state from me, and is building a wonderful 'Coquina'. He and AJ and I have been corresponding electronically for a few years now, but we have yet to meet.
    Should I mention that 'von haus' is my lovely daughter-in-law, and that I've no doubt her deleted message will be delivered in person? Then there is Doryman- one of the outstnding mensches of the blogosphere who first alerted me to the fact that a boating blog can be a vehicle for down to earth human values that may, collectively, make a real difference in a cynical world.
    I am so lucky to have such company.

  11. Congrats Rob! It looks great ! I wish you will enjoy it. You deserve it.

  12. What an exciting milestone, she looks great in the water! All the work, excitment and nervousness paid off. Can't wait for the video footage of sailing in the enthusiastic northerly.

  13. Am I too late to say Congratulations?
    A trip to see family in Scotland means I've been off line and I missed it!

    One more beautiful boat on the water, enjoy.