Today is launch day! We are so excited and extremely nervous at the same time! It’s been crazy getting to this day and lots to learn and logistics to figure out. Launch is scheduled for 11am today. Borrowed my brother in-law’s truck and trailer the night before and we woke up at 6am to get to the marina by 9:30am.

Rough start

Lori needed to go directly to Ottawa after the launch so we brought two vehicles. Stopped half way to get gas and Lori parked to the side waiting for me. Just as I was leaving a large semi truck pulled in right next to Lori and boxed her in. And then proceeded to gas up. Lori was able to get another car behind her to move and she didn’t have to wait too long.

Then we got to the boat yard. This is what it normally looks like:

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The yard should be almost empty since most of the boats have now launched. But this is what we saw when we arrived.

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There was some sort of fishing derby going on and the yard was full with trucks, trailers and campers. As I walk toward the boat I see one person waiting in front of his boat. His appointment was for an 8am launch and it was now 10am and he was still waiting.

Things got better

Vic was there and we started working on getting the boat ready. Getting dock lines and bumpers out. Making sure all the thru hulls were closed. Getting engine ready to start (e.g. fuel, keys, batteries). Vic was great, I’ve never done this before and he had it all figured out. Down to the point of asking the crane operator to put the straps a little back to ensure the forestay doesn’t hit the crane’s front bar.

And the crew arrived 20 mins early to lift the boat in.

Lift in

The lift in started with a truck and trailer to pick up the boat right on the cradle. Amazing to see how skilled these guys were navigating the packed yard.

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The boat is then transferred to the large crane.

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Boat switched to cradle and the boat is brought to the end of the pier and lowered into the water.

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As the bow reaches the height of the pier, we walk on the bow and board the boat.¬†And then we are lowered into the water. At this point, we need to check below decks to make sure there are no leaks. I’m still trying to figure out all the plumbing and where all the thru hulls are. And now asked to start the engine.

  • Main battery engine switch turned on (red key)
  • Insert engine key and turn on
  • Engine blower
  • Pull throttle back to 100% and then forward to about 80%
  • Hold glow plug for 20-25 seconds
  • Press start button
  • After engine starts, slowly reduce throttle
  • Check stern of the boat to ensure cooling water being pumped out

Now we are asked to make sure the engine and gears are working. Need to put in forward and then reverse with light throttle. After that checks out, they remove the straps and push us back away from the pier.

At the helm for the first time

We are now at the mercy of my actions at the helm and we are slowly drifting backwards. I kick it in reverse to gain a little bit of speed and we start slowly accelerating backwards. The gear changes and accelerator was smooth and easier than I thought it would be. I then put it in gear again and start pushing the boat forward again. Now I have to steer for the first time. It’s not the same as what I’m used to, it’s not like an outboard, the prop stays in the same place and the rudder defects the thrust. It’s easier than I thought it was going to be but it behaves slightly differently. I didn’t have time to experiment with this, I just had to direct the boat to our slip and not hit anything. End result was success. No scratches or dents!

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First time on boat alone

This is an amazing milestone, the previous owner had left, Lori was on her way to Ottawa and I sat on our new boat and appreciated it, truly appreciated the fact that it is now ours for the first time. Now I panic, there’s so much about this boat I have no idea about. I know how to connect the shore power. But there’s three batteries, three separate keyed switches, one rotary switch, one DC power switch, one circuit breaker panel with both DC and AC switches.

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I had to google Reverse Polarity Light. And eventually figured out that I needed to turn the battery rotary dial to either 1, 2 or both and have the DC switch by the batteries turned on. I couldn’t figure out the refrigerator, there’s no switch on panel. No switch on the compressor and only a temperature dial on the fridge. I spent at least 30 mins trying to figure this out. Later I spoke with Vic and found out there’s another hidden switch in the battery compartment.

And then I had to figure out plumbing, should the valves for the thru hulls be on or off. Again, back to google and decided to keep them all closed until I returned with our experienced friends tomorrow morning.

With so much to learn and some difficulty finding answers, I’ve decided to start creating a CS34 Owners Manual on this site.

Lessons learned

  1. It’s good to let everyone know that it’s your first time and you are nervous. But this also means everyone that heard this is going to give you their advice on how to do things. When I was docking I had three people telling me three different things. Turn left! Put it in reverse! Turn right! If you ask for help, tell one person that they are going to be the one you are going to listen to and then ignore everyone else.
  2. There is so much to learn. I’ve been researching, googling, watching videos, reading books on sailboats and their systems. But there’s so much to learn and each boat is slightly different. It’s daunting. Break it down and learn your boat one system at a time.