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She floats!

After many days of intensive planning and study, my son and I got our new
SJ23 in the water, yeterday, and it went very smoothly. Not easily, but
smoothly. Labor Day weekend is not a good time for such. Too many people,
everywhere! In addition, the temperature was 93F and there wasn't a breath
of wind while we were rigging her. Seeking relief from the intense heat and
glare of the deck, we would climb down, but found little improvement on the
tarmac. We resorted to the air conditioned car, frequently, and it took us
a lot longer to accomplish the task than we had expected.

On Saturday, we hauled the boat 225 miles to her new home. On Sunday, we
rigged her, launched her and sailed her. Not bad for a couple of amateurs
with a strange new boat and trailer with a thousand unknowns.

I rigged a temporary mast crutch so that we could rest the mast at a fair
upward angle, to ease the raising. After studying Clark's method and
talking to 6-8 members with experience, we decided on a modification of our
own. We ran a line from the port bow cleat through a block at the head of
the boom/gin pole, then back to a block lashed to the starboard bow cleat
and back to the genoa winch. We also rigged Morley lines to the toe rail,
of 1/4 inch nylon for the stretch. All went smoothly, without a great deal
of physical effort, and no problem, whatsoever, in keeping the mast aligned
with the centerline.

Launching was exciting, of course, but the main unknown, the Mercury
outboard, fired right up and I was able to power the boat off the trailer
easily. After an hour of additional work in the slip, we took her out for a
short trial under sail. The 6-8 knot wind was dying quickly, but we sailed
around under working jib and main for aboout 45 minutes. Love the feel of
the boat! Tracks very true,is very easily driven, leaving a wake when no
wind was visible, and feels very stable.

For those who might be new to the mast-raising process, here are a few shots:


A 17-gun salute to everyone on the list who offered us the benefit of their
experience. You made the job much easier, much less frought with worry. We
are very, very glad to have that first rigging and launching behind us, and
are looking forward to a lot of great sailing in the future.


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