Merrilee II Launch

Two plus years of work have at last culminated in ‘the big reveal’ as Larry and Kerry get the last bit of anti-fouling paint applied. The last critical bit of equipment has been re-installed. Radar, radios and galley gear will be done while she floats. In fact, the 6-cyl, 120 HP Ford Lehman diesel engine has not been fired since she last floated so there’s plenty of work left to do before we take her out for a real cruise. I doubt she has ever looked so lovely. It’s almost a shame to let her get wet. But, that’s what boats are for! So, back to her native element.



Of course, as in Coleridge’s famous poem, ‘all the boards did shrink,’ and so she took on water at a daunting rate. The bilge pump kept ahead of the ingress so no major worry. None the less, we did have the big, gasoline powered dock pump standing by, primed and ready to go. Kerry drew anchor watch for the first night, Bob for the second.

It was a substantial move, the biggest we’ve tried in a decade, maybe ever. It went without a hitch. No one yelled, no one broke into a sweat or even mussed their hair. Two sets of Merrilee II’s former owners showed up for the splash and both said they were delighted, thrilled even, with the work done on her. Indeed, she looked magnificent.

Tom Plain of Alltow displayed his usual skill and made look easy. That guy can spot his 40 tonne rig and its 40 foot trailer within a quarter inch of his intent, first time, every time. It is a treat to watch him work.

Merrilee II Launch Date

Merrilee II Launch date set for Sunday, 1 December 2013. We expect the truck to arrive at 10:30 am. By then we must have cleared the access and removal route, moved Iona to the outside of the floats and then to the Number 2 Road boat ramp. made final inspection of Merrilee II and placed aboard dock lines, life jackets and extra pumping capability as her planking will need a couple of weeks to take up following two years of dry storage. Considerable interior work remains on Merrilee and she is not yet ready for sailing. But, if we are diligent and fortune smiles on us she will be navigating on the water under her own power by spring.

Shipyard Sketch by Jorge Royan


Britannia visitor and sketch artist, Jorge Royan, sent us a copy of a sketch he made this summer. His drawing depicts the old planer located in the Shipyard Building. The details of the line shaft system and flat belt drive details are clearly visible. Gracias, Jorge.

(click on image to enlarge)