*Afloat at last*
Well it finally happened; Taqua II was launched last Friday 18th November
at the port of Bloscon, Roscoff. This of course marked a major milestone
for a project that lasted rather longer than I expected or wanted, but
better late than never.
The run up to the launch was intense, with the big move from Mérillac to
Roscoff on the 11th of October. I called in Capelle Yachting for the
transport to Roscoff and wasn’t disappointed. Vincent the driver and Jeremy
who worked with him as escort were extremely professional and good natured
which took a lot of stress out of the occasion for me.
I also had a good group of friends who turned up on the day to help load
the boat, mast and all the other kit.
To get the boat high enough off the ground to back the trailer under, I
used the pair of timber sheer legs with a couple of chain tackle either
side that I’d used to load the hull when I moved it from Quedillac. This
time she weighed considerably more of course, so I decided to add a
scaffold tower either side aft of the sheer legs with another pair of chain
tackle and slings. I had confidence in my makeshift lifting arrangement but
I was very relieved when the boat was finally supported and strapped down
on the trailer.
I left early the following morning and caught the convoy up just outside
I soon realised that I’d made the right decision to bring the boat to the
port of Bloscon. Gaël Le Cléac’h of All purpose sails and rigging had
everything organised with the guys in the yard and within an hour the boat
was unloaded, the keel bolted on and sitting safely on the cradle.
Over the next few weeks I got the lower rudder bearing fitted and the
rudder installed amongst other things while Gaël was organising the
stepping of the mast and rigging.
We managed to get a weather window between the gales on the 9th of November
and the mast was stepped and rigged and ready for launch.
I was eager to get Taqua on the water but we had to wait for the same
weather system that had delayed the Route du Rhum to clear before launch.
The Friday turned out to be perfect, windless with clear skies, a good omen
Arthur Malterre a video journalist from the Télégramme came down to record
the event and a short interview on the pontoon.
It was a great moment for me after so many years of effort and normally the
launch would have been the end of the storey more or less but in the
context of my preparation for the GSC I was only too aware that it was just
the end of a chapter.
So now the real hard work starts and I’ll be back in Roscoff next week to
finish the last of the things on my snagging list (for the moment), before
we go out and start sea trials.
Before I sign off I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has shown interest
and support for the project and for all the messages of support, and also
good luck to all the other skippers with their own preparations.