Thor, Josh and I launched the boat last Saturday. It was a zoo at the east basin ramp due to “free fishing” day. But after some waiting in line to use the ramp, we quickly launched, and Thor and Josh did the first test run of the boat. It has been at my house for a few months getting a new bottom job, new motor, foam floatation in place of the original built-in fuel tank (and in the bow compartment), re-rigging of the engine controls and wiring, and many other little details to make it usable by the club. Thor and Josh reported no real problems on the trip to the west basin marina.
On Tuesday this week, Steve Huserik and I intended to take it out to get a little more time on the motor as a second shake-down outing. We intended to just hang out in the area of the starting area if all went well. Angi and Toby were the signal boat crew in the AYC Whaler; but before they got out of the marina, the motor quit. So they flagged us down as we were leaving, and as the race start time was approaching, we decided to transfer the flags and anchor gear to the new boat, and headed to the starting area. The Whaler’s anchor is a bit small for the new boat, and with the strong ebb decent wind and wave action, it took a couple tries to get it to hold satisfactorily, but we finally did so in time to run the starting sequence. (Two boats racing and four boats on the course)
A few comments about the boat. The engine ran flawlessly. We only used about 1.5 gallons of fuel for the evening (although we stayed anchor at the line rather than follow the fleet since we only had three gallons of fuel on board). The boat certainly smooths out the rough water better than the Whaler, being a deep-vee hull design compared to the flatter bottom of the Whaler. There is more freeboard, so the ride is drier. There is significantly more working space for race committee activities. With four on board, we weren’t crowded. The throttle linkage is off the motor that originally came with the boat, and is not adjusted correctly yet, and is very stiff, but workable until appropriate replacement and adjustments are made. The deck is self-baling, and there is a bilge pump under the deck. The deck essentially stayed dried the whole evening (except for some wind-spray on the way out to the starting area). There is no radio, depth gauge, bow roller for the anchor line, properly sized anchor, appropriate fuel tank, and other sundry things need to make it fully functional. But it did a great job on its first trip out on the course, and did its first rescue (towed the Whaler back to its slip after the race).
As far as the name, we thought it may be less confusing to call whichever AYC boat is doing signal boat duty as “White Knight”, and if we have both out for some reason, we can call the stand-by boat “Boat Two” or “Course Boat” or some other appropriate name. Most other race venues refer to the starting line boat as “Signal Boat” or “Committee Boat” or “Race Committee” without reference to whatever boat is being used for that purpose.
Angi heard that the new boat is much more visible on the course than the Whaler.
- Jay McRostie