Thanks Mike for the best wishes. You are indeed right about being scary the first time you see your boat hoisted out of the water.
Here is the tale of yesterday afternoons adventure:
Boat tied up at the boat yards dock, I sat nervously waiting for the boat yard hands to come down and tell us what to do.
I looked at the lift slip ... all metal on both sides. Crap. What if our fiberglass pushes against it? Instant tear.
Before any more thoughts could glide through my mind, I heard a deep body shaking rumble. It was the lift system being driven down.
It emerged from behind some trees. An awesome looking machine. A movable giant 3 dimensional box, powered by a manly diesel engine, with the power to lift more than 75,000 lbs. Being a boy at heart, I wiped the drool from my chin.
With amazing deftness, Stumpy (a legend at Lake Lanier for his boat yard knowledge) navigated the hoist down the guides and deposited the slings in the water.
I walked up to the other boat yard guy, Blake, and said:
"I have no f-n clue how to do any of this. What do I need to do?"
With a smile, "just put your boat in the sling."
That was my cue.
Mustering the confidence deep inside, I went back aboard Ariel while Blake and Val untied me from the dock.
I motored the boat away.
Making the turn, gulping air.
I came in at an angle facing up wind (huge gusts today of around 30 knots) and with precision that surprised even me.
I gingerly put Ariel right in the middle of the sling with Blake's helping hand.
The slip walls were about 2 feet away on either side. I would have swore, looking in, that there was only an inch of clearance.
My part was done! Wahoo!!! Now the rest was with the experts.
Ariel began her rise from the water ....
Hearts were still racing with excitement. Watching your boat head out of the water the first time (as Mike noted) is scary.
Up she went! We got our first glimpse of the underside of the boat while out of the water. She looked beautiful.
Blake washed off all the lake funk.
We did observe some small blisters, but nothing unexpected or horrid looking.
After the washing was done, we spent a few more moments really looking her over (Stumpy and Blake were cool about letting us look her over, not pushing us to hurry up ... given that they've done this thousands of times, they knew we wanted to check her out at that moment).
Once I felt I had seen all I needed to, I nodded to Stumpy and he climbed back on to the cool boat lifting machine and drove Ariel over to her temporary spot on the hard.
As she sat down on her hulls on the blocks (metal braces), there were no odd squeak sounds of something coming apart.
Blake helped push up the center boards from underneath, while doubling nicely as a block!
Ariel is resting as comfortably as a boat can on the hard.
The first phase of the Atlantic transport is now complete! YES!
Tomorrow we will go back out and start taking down the sails and boom.