Success! (or BeBop is Born)
Finally after 9 months of refit on the hard BeBop is floating peacefully at her slip. It's been a insane past 7 days and the next 3 are going to be a nail biter too with Hurricane Ernesto bearing down on Tampa Bay where I live. On Friday when I hauled in the storm was tracked 500 miles to the west of here. Go figure eh? We'll see if I still have a boat (and something to write about for that matter) in another 4 days.
Ok where to start...where to start....
Tuesday I was fired from my job of more than 2 years. I guess the best attendance in the dept and best performance record in the department don't mean squat when you refuse to kiss ass to your manager. It's no big deal and I totally saw it coming months ago. Being the contingency planner that you all know me to be.....I planned ahead hehehe. So for those of you still in the world of cubicle slavery, I'm doing just fine without the stress. I say quit and do what you want...It's very liberating. To my former manager whom will no doubt check my blog....Hey man!! Thanks for setting me free. ^_^ I'll still send you photos from all the cool places I travel to...While year after year you are still sitting in a windowless, colorless office working to make somebody else rich instead of enriching your own life.
After getting fired I spent the rest of the week doing the final preparation to launch BeBop. I tried to get Half Note ready for the trip but just didn't have quite enough time, so I decided to launch anyway without a dinghy available if need be. I'd have to swim to shore. Thursday all day was spent rigging up the mast and with Rich's help moving it onto BeBop into it's storage position for transport. I had the S$^& scared outta me too by a lighting strike that hit only one house away and set a palm tree on fire. It was so close that I felt the electricity pass through me. (wow) Lets do some before and after pictures.
Nine months ago the day I bought her.
This past Friday. Lot's of blood, sweat and tears.
The big launch day. You guys are going to have to forgive me now as I don't have nearly the number of photos that I wanted to due to the weather. Lack of a dinghy means no exterior pictures outside the ones taken from her slip. But it's ok...it will give me some more pictures to post in the future.
Friday early, Brolly a friend of Rich and I and long time follower of my blog volunteered to help launch BeBop. He came over at about 8:45 am and off we went to N.O.A. by the Gandy Bridge where I scheduled the haul in. At 6 bucks a foot it was cheaper by 50% than what I paid at Brunswick Landing Marina in Georgia to get her out. All was going well until they had just lifted BeBop off the trailer and a storm squall hit and left her on the travel lift for 15 minutes until it stopped. Sorry no pictures here..the camera was onboard the boat safe and dry. After hauling in when the rain slowed down to a drizzle we hopped onboard, checked the through hulls and once it was apparent we didn't have any leaks we motored about a mile down the channel and anchored in about 5 feet of water close to shore. There we spend the next 2 hours raising the mast while at anchor, tighting down the standing rigging and setting up the running rigging. Off in the distance we could see the next squall line comming in. We thought that we would have to sit it out inside but it remained calm long enough to get it up.
About noon we upped anchor and got underway via the kicker until we pasted the main channel marker for Tampa Bay and raised the Mainsail. No more than 5 minutes after that the storm squall hit us with 25 knot very gusty winds and lots of rain. The seas were pretty calm for the wind but one accidental jibe later it was apparent that sailing a monohull is way different than the hobie cats I'm used to. Brolly and Rich took turns going down below while I manned the helm. Here is a good picture of Brolly and I in the cockpit during the squall. Notice he's smiling while I'm trying like hell not to have another accidental jibe, run into something, balance the boat, hold a course and adjust the mainsail lol. It was raining very hard and we all got soaking wet. Take a note...foul weather gear is a very important piece of gear to have onboard.
After the squall passed and we could see where we were going again, Rich took the helm for a bit as well as Brolly and we made ok time through Tampa Bay with only one incident of a near accidental grounding. Tampa Bay is pretty big but shallow and even a mile or more from shore it can be less than 2 feet deep so even BeBop can't go into all areas around here. That was a minor scare with misreading the chart and in less than 5 minutes we found deep water again and continued on our way.
Rich at the helm.
Brolly at the bow.
After passing under a secondary span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge which had a vertical clearance of 65 feet, we approached the first of two drawbridges that we had to go through on the way to BeBop's slip. On the approach I called on Channel 9 to the bridge tender with no answer twice on the VHF. As I started to do a ring around the rosie maneuver and signal with the horn, I throttled back the outboard to idle speed and it quit running! It was quickly apparent that there was about a 6 knot current dragging us towards the bridge and BeBop's doom. I quickly told Rich to deploy the dansforth on the bow while I tried like hell to get the engine to start again. Rich got the anchor deployed just as we were about to smash into the bridge pilings. As soon as he felt the anchor dig in he started yanking on the anchor rode trying to keep BeBop from hitting. We just caught the outboard which was knocked sideways by the piling. Another inch and the engine and mount would of been gone. Close, too close. It later turned out that my VHF handheld couldn't transmit and the main VHF couldn't receive. The outboard was also later discovered to not idle while in gear. How messed up is all that? Using one radio to transmit and the other to receive we navigated the second drawbridge without incident and arrived at BeBop's new slip about 50 miles, 1 storm, 1 near grounding, 1 near sinking (and heart attack) later. Here is a before and after shot. The first is just before haul out in Georgia 9 months ago.
At her slip Saturday afternoon.
As you can see it's been a rather exicting week here. I'm falling asleep as I'm writing this so I hope it all makes some sense. I'd like to say once again sorry for the lack of pictures like going through a drawbridge etc but me and the crew were just too busy to get to it. No worries there will be plenty of pictures to come in the future.
This about wraps up Phase I of the project. Starting with the next entry I'll be into Phase II which includes getting the trailer sold so I can put something resembling a power grid onboard, learning how to sail a monohull vs a hobie cat and some overnight voyages to get used to her underway and develop some new skills. Stick around. Still plenty to do. Until next time...Fair Winds....