March 9. We arrived in Beaufort (Core Creek Marina) last night to get ready for our maiden voyage as the proud new owners of 'Solas'. We spent the night on her (in a parking lot, up on jackstands) in order to be there for an early launch next door at Jarrett Bay boatyard. We were feeling pretty special.
Right on schedule, the Travel-Lift came rolling (ooohh sooo sloowllyyy) across the yard to pick us up. We jumped in the truck to get to the launch slip around the corner.
Now, if you remember the survey day picture, you will notice an empty, peaceful dock and bulkhead area with a beautiful 'Solas' standing all alone. Not today! The launch area was packed! Boats lined up along the entire length of the bulkhead, a rusty 75 ft shrimp trawler taking up half of the passage - and they have to launch us stern first into the only remaining 50 ft slot (see below) just out of the travel-lift bay. Meaning that, at best, we are going to have to back out of the 600 ft long channel. Backing is not one of my talents. Believe me when I say that the picture does not tell the story in this case.
So, we figure, we will at least wait until a few of these boats shuffle around and make some space. No chance. The boatyard has another launch ready to go and we need to move!
'You want to get her started and check her for leaks, Captain?' Oh wait, that's me!
The rest of the departure story really needs to be told in person so you can see the facial expressions and desperation. Short story, after a few semi-graceful pirouettes and lucky breaks, we cleared the harbor. All of the boaters smiled and waved - or laughed and waved - whatever. We were off on our 15 mile trip to Oriental.