Chapter 80

REBECCA is launched!

4/7/81 at 11.30a.m. – Tide 1122/1.8m. REBECCA launched by Rebecca and secured to fitting out berth Morris Marina – floats on marks and looks like a dream as expected.” First entry in Rebecca’s Log Book

I planned for Rebecca to launch the boat with the usual bottle of champagne smashed on the bow with the words “I launch this yacht REBECCA and may God bless all who sail in her” as the brakes are released on the winch and the cradle rumbles down the slipway rails until the vessel floats free of the trolley and is then restrained by lines tying it to the trolley uprights. Smashing the bottle does not always occur so to make sure I scored around the bottle with a hacksaw and placed it in a stocking so it could be swung into the bow with the broken glass retained in the stocking.

It turned out to be a lovely day and the turn up pleased and surprised me. Ian and Jason came up from the Gold Coast and collected Dad on the way. Betty’s mother came with Helena to see Johnnie’s boat launched and Betty and David called down. There were others from the Yacht Club and from work, from adjoining boat building sites and a group from the Johnsonian Club which I subconsciously thought of as an orphan’s home where I enjoyed many an evening.

Food and drinks were not important issues on my list for that day and there was no real planning for food but the drinks miraculously appeared on a table so I must have stocked up with beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks and crushed ice from the ‘Hemmant Hilton Hotel’ and we did not run out of these.

The first entry in the yacht’s Log Book read:

4/7/81 at 11.30a.m. – Tide 1122/1.8m. REBECCA launched by Rebecca and secured to fitting out berth Morris Marina – floats on marks and looks like a dream as expected. Launching was premature but it had to go in this day for sentiment and to give a boost after such a long slog. *1/4 stern tube leaked and raised floor board…no problem though. Lay along fitting out berth at Morris Marina for a few weeks doing minor work. *(This refers to relaxing in the saloon late afternoon and seeing the floor board float. The stern tube had a 1/4” pipe fitted to pump water into the ferrobestos bearing. This had not been sealed off and water was slowly flooding the bilge. The bilge was pumped out and the pipe sealed off.

Day 1. Lesson 1. Whatever can happen will happen. I thought everything had been double checked.

This was a milestone in my dream – build my own boat and sail it around the world. I started on the construction in January 1976 and launched REBECCA on the 4TH July, 1981…..5 ½ years of part-time work and a labour of love.

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