Well, the big news items ARE:
- we're away from the dock - and motoring all about -
and now back safely on the mooring in the middle of the bay
- and the Woronora got itself off the mud and back out - at the next high tide.
The day started out pretty early at 4am - unable to sleep - and going over the things I needed to do for what was technically - our 'maiden voyage' (although for everyone else it was just another boat leaving the dock).   So I just got up and started to do few last minute jobs - that should have been done ages ago.&nbssp;   And as far as Penny was concerned - well - it was just all totally wrong that we should be up and about at that undogly hour.

I have really been hampered these last couple of days - what with an unexpected failure of a drain plug in the exhaust line - that let 30 litres of seawater spray out - directly over the gearbox.   And after I removed the 6' section of stainless exhaust pipe (with a lot of trouble) and welded on a new fitting - the following morning (yesterday) when Diesel Mechanic Graham came to give the engine the 'eye-over' while we test ran it for a while - I discovered that water had gotten into the big marine hydraulic gearbox - via the dipstick hole - and the 20 litres of oil inside looked like 'coffee milk).
It took me almost 3 hours - sitting cross legged (which I really suffer for later) beside the gearbox - and sucking out every last drop with a syringe hand pump - then reaching in and wiping it out completely to shiny clean.    Another 20 Litres of new oil ($100) - which will probably need to be replaced a 2nd time soon - to remove the last of any water in there - and we were up and running again in the afternoon.
Graham with a lifetime of diesel experience - reckoned it was one of the smoothest running Gardners and gearbox installations he'd seen in a long time - and was really impressed with my whole engine room layout and the complete accessibility of the engine.   You can walk right around the main engine and even sit on a milk crate beside it to work on something - there is a full 7' of headroom as well.    As I tell everyone  - I designed it ALL - to fit ME.   Every part of the yacht - even the whole underfloor bilge the length of the yacht is totally accessible and big enough for me to nearly walk through bent over.
Here is a photo of the 20 L of ruined oil - I removed - I put it in milk cartons - and you tell me - if it's not 'coffee milk' - it's supposed to be diesel OIL.   That's what happens when there's water in the oil - and the gearbox is run for a while - it all heats up - and gets blended together.   But later on it will cool and separate out, and the water will just rust away the inside of the gearbox.
Vicki and Robert arrived bright and early before 7am - ready for the 'Big Cruise' - and within minutes - it was all go on the deck and on the dock.   It's about the first time in all these months that it all started 'before' time - and with plenty of dock hands available.
No photos were taken of the actual departure because I was busy at the helm - 'drivin' the boat' - and the others were all doing things too.
We were firstly going to try and pull the stern across by rope and spin me around - but as I engaged the gearbox in reverse and started to force our way back out of the dock and the big hole we'd made in the mud - Cliff decide to swing the bow across the end of the dock instead.
So when we were backed straight out and the nose was clearing the dock - it was swung around to port (left) and then pulled across towards the other dock.   We then got one of my big ropes from the bow - and tied on to the small but powerful work tug (that was only relaunched 2 days ago).    It then - with all it's might - 'tugged' the bow of the yacht around - and ever so slowly - the entire yacht came right around - and before you knew it - we were pointed out the channel and underway.
At the end of the channel - the tug - stopped and let go the tow rope - and we were on our own.
The plan was - that I would take the yacht for a good run for an hour or two - wherever - and while I was away - they would remove the large work boat on the big 6 ton mooring - and when I came back - we would go on to it.
You would have to say - that the yacht goes 'great'.
As soon as you engage forward or reverse - that big 4' bronze propellor
gives the boat a huge drive and even at barely above idle
is soon moving at a couple of knots.
You have to also realise that once that 75 tons gets moving
it's momentum will carry it forward a long way - when you pull back to neutral too.
It turned in a tight circle of little more than 150' with forward power - and by using forward and reverse I was able to almost pivot the yacht in it's own length
which will only take a little practice.
The boat went effortlessly through the water - steered well - and was easily doing 5-6 knots
at only about 1200 revs.   There were no leaks ANYWHERE - either in the engine or propellor shaft.   Not one drop has come in the 'Rodney Custom Designed' shaft seals - where the propellor goes out the stern tube - and the bilge is completely dry.
The yacht is completely watertight - all the skin fittings are perfect.
It sits - big and solid and stable - and the wash and waves from even large cruisers passing had little effect on it - it is extremely comfortable motoring about.
We went under the Captain Cook Bridge and circled around between the bridges for quite a while checking the handling and engine and then headed back towards the mooring a couple of miles away.    When we got back - having been motoring for maybe 1 1/2 to 2 hours - the boat was still on the mooring so we decided to pick up another that was empty and wait.
Robert did a 1st rate job with the boathook and easily got the mooring rope
as we gently drifted perfectly to it.
We settled down in the middle of the bay - on a glorious day - clear and sunny
with just the slightest breeze - ideal conditions - the yacht was barely moving at all.
It was only about half an hour later that the big barge and the small tug came out - and secured the large workboat to the front of the barge and started to push it back in to the shipyard.    Ed Lewis came over to us - and told me to use both the big ropes on the mooring - and was pleased to hear how well the yacht had gone - he told me that the yacht was sitting about 6'' out in it's full length on it's painted lines - but otherwise - looked pretty good.
This side is a bit of a mess from it's 3 1/2 months at the dock and rubbing on the rope fenders - and I will need to get around there today - and retape over all those uncovered holes I couldn't get at - up against the dock.
But this side where we've got quite a few of the plates on looks pretty good.
The yacht sits prominently in the water
 and looks as I designed it to look, all those years ago
As you can see from the photos - the yacht looks great and is sitting quite well - it will only require me to 'trim' the boat a bit - by relocating some weight aft - plus - put some water in the other mid and aft tanks.   At the present moment - and since we've been in the water - I have continued with the practice of onnly putting a few thousand litres of water on board - and only into the most forward large water tanks.   These tanks are full width hull tanks located about 3/4 of the way along the hull and more than 20' forward of the centre of the boat.
I filled them again last Sunday - and they hold easily more than 2000 litres - which is 2 ton right there - probably more - in the forward section of the yacht.   If I were to transfer the water to the middle tanks - more aft - it would make a significant difference to the way the yacht is sitting.
Also - I intend to remove half of the 135 m of chain in the very nose of the yacht in the anchor well.   All the chain there weighs over 500kg - and I don't need to have more than about 60-70 metres for general use.   About 250 kg of that chain can be fed out into the runabout - and taken to the stern of the yacht and placed right between the aft steps - which will immediately result in a 1/2 ton overall weight transfer at the very ends of the yacht - and will show in how the yacht sits.
Once again Robert did an excellent job with the big boathook and with Vicki relaying instructions - we had no difficulty easing up to - and picking up the large mooring ropes - and then the yacht was safely secured to a 6 ton block - not far from the converted liveaboard Ferry  - and right in the middle of the bay - in good deep water.
Feeling pretty pleased with ourselves - and quite exhilarated with the day - and how well it was all going - we settled in to enjoy lunch and the beautiful scene that we were now a big part of.
(this photo was taken with Robert's 3 MP phone camera - pretty good quality for a phone eh?
and he then immediately sent the photos to my email via the phone from the deck - just amazing)
It was a beautiful warm day that soon had Robert stretched out and snoring in the cockpit.
With Penny and her rabbit still looking for some play.
Later in the afternoon - I ran them back ashore in the red runabout - and I really want to thank them for coming along - because as luck would have it - the others who said they'd be there - all got tied up - and we were on our own.
And they both did a fantastic - calm  - and trouble free job of helping crew the yacht.
The whole day went just as it should - the yacht performed just right and we moved the yacht about with ease - as though we'd been doing it for years.
For the final word on the day though - I will hand you over to - you know who . . . . .
And for anyone who was just waiting to see whether - we 'sank or swam'
well it's safe to come out and visit - and Penny loves the company.
just floating about

This original Email has been uploaded to our website and is located at:
please pass the link on to your friends. 
All original graphics and photographs are the copyright property of Rodney Field 2008.   If you wish to use any of the material other than for personal communication with friends - please contact me at rodneyfield@thedogpaddler.com

Other Newsletter Emails are available to view at our website www.thedogpaddler.com
by clicking on the following link: