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Blue Gum's Launching  

October 3, 2013. Its been 12 years of hard work, and finally Alan Mountford's Falcon 24 was ready to be launched. Just a matter of getting her papers in order, insurance, and then getting her out to her mooring. Should be no sweat given the fact that Blue Gum has successfully moved from New Zealand to Australia, survived the floods of 2011, had a complete makeover of her foredeck and cockpit and has an interior that makes the rest of us feel inferior.

So, Alan thought he would share with us the final days leading to launch. Best to get a good drink as you read this. His emails are consolidated and edited. Pictures to follow

Hello Ron,

I booked to launch Blue Gum Monday 30th Sept. Hope all goes well and will hopefully get some more photos. I had a lot of trouble finding an insurance company who would insure the boat. No Australian Insurance company I approached would touch me. Reasons given :

We don't insure boats more than 20 years old. (Blue Gum is about 35)
We don't insure boats less than A$1000 per foot of length
We don't insure boats on swing moorings

None of them were even interested in giving me a quote. I even went to one in person and took photos with me - to no avail. I wrote an e-mail to the editors of two boating magazinces here explaining my experience and both replied saying it was a common problem. Since the cyclones and floods of recent times it seems that insurance companies have changed their policies. Seems they are more interested in the almighty dollar than providing a service to the boating community.

One of the boating magazines forwarded my e-mail to an insurance company that has only recently begum operating in Australia asking for their comments. This company is called Pantaenius and operates in USA, UK and Europe where it is the biggest marine insurer there. I received an e-mail from Pantaenius as a result of the forwarded e-mail asking me to contact them - which I duly did. They requested a survey and reccommended a surveyor which I employed. (see attached report)

To cut a long story short I now have insurance. :-) I never in my wildest dreams ever thought getting insurance would be a hassle. Last weekend I obtained my boat licence. In Australia to use a boat with an engine of 4 hp or more you need a licence and the boat has to be registered.

So, on Monday morning the truck arrived to pick up Blue Gum as planned. Loading went smoothly and then we were off to the Marina. When we got there we were told that the travel lift had a punctured tyre and would take all day to fix! Anyway we got the mast stepped and then they told us they could launch using their forklift. The forklift is HUGE!, Never seen one so big! They attached strops to the tynes and lifted Blue Gum like that, then dropped her in the water (photos below)

Note her offset port side prop


My mate and I did a few small jobs then motored her out of the marina and up to the mooring. When we got there found we were unable to pick it up. It appeared  the top part of the mooring may have become tangled with the lower part as we couldn't lift it....So headed back to the marina only to go aground!!! because I attempted to go the wrong side of a speed marker The marker was not shown on the chart and I didn't know the area.

Fortunately we were able to get off backwards OK and continued back into the marina. Got permission to leave the boat there until the mooring was sorted out. Went and saw the manager of the marina next door who services the moorings and next day he untangled it for me.

So yesterday, on October 2nd, we were finally able to put Blue Gum on her mooring. I have to say, Ron, that she looks really pretty with her modified forward cabin top as you will see when I am able to send you some photos. I left the camera aboard unfortunately.

Now I have to finish building a plywood dinghy. The rubber ducky I have is a pain in the proverbial to row - as I found out coming back from the mooring. I much prefer a rigid dinghy and the design of the one I am building is one I have had before.








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