Final preparations for Rebecca’s Launch
By now I was working to my limit. The boat was coming along well and when there were problems I engaged someone to do the job. There is never a shortage of labour for hire on a boat building site when owner builders find out they are over spending.
The ice box, or refrigerator freezer box, had to be built into the galley between two bulkheads. It had to be curved at the back to match the hull shape, have top opening lids for access and be large enough to be able to fit the two tanks or freezer plates inside the box. It also had to be able to be disconnected and moved a sufficient distance to check what conditions were like behind it. Corrosion in a steel yacht is usually from the inside out and I built the hull such that access to the hull could be gained by removing panels and not wrecking joinery etc., this was the case with the freezer box. It could be moved to check the hull but could not be removed from the saloon or galley, unless you cut it into two sections, so its construction was a milestone and I was fortunate to have someone else do this.
The box ended up with three inch thick Corthane foam cut to shape and fibre glass inside and out made as a single unit which could be bolted in place between the two bulkheads, be kept clear of the hull and provide a bench area in the galley. This was money well spent as it was built in a week whereas I would have taken a month part-time.
The mast and boom were varnished and fittings made for the mast-head, spreader supports and mast tabernacle. For the standing rigging I decided to use galvanised multi-strand wire with stainless steel thimbles and then calculated the lengths required and had the rigging made up. Another job completed.
Now all items had to come together it was a case of planning for July 4th. There was a high tide of 1.8 metres at 11.22a.m. enough to float the boat free of the trolley. The approximate draft was 6ft.6ins. or 1.9 metres at the rudder so, by letting the trolley run to the end of the rails the boat would float free, so I booked the slipway for a week. A large mobile crane was needed to move the hull from the building site to the slipway and erect the mast while the boat was on the slip, so this was ordered well in advance for the 29th June. I cannot remember the specific details but must have taken a couple of weeks recreation leave for this period as work in the office was consistent with the Grain Committee meetings and an inspection in Rockhampton in March. Then there was the reality of having a yacht in the water…where do you leave it and again, I was lucky for Hugh to have a spare mooring between two piles in Doboy Creek so I could lease them when ready.
So the first six months flew; the jobs were completed, the shelter and frame dismantled and the crane erected the mast after walking and lifting the hull into the cradle. The shrouds and stays were connected to the turn buckles and tightened to secure the mast and to all intents and purposes REBECCA was ready for launching. I did not intend making a big issue of the launching but let the people I had contact with over the years, and probably bored with details when asked “how is the boat” know the dream would be a reality on the 4th July. It was not a case of a formal invitation, rather a comment, “I’m launching the boat on Saturday, 4th July about 11a.m. at Morris Marina Slipway – at last”.