Get in the Water!
28 June 2019 - one of the most exciting but stressful days of the campaign thus far! Months of hard work and time has gone into renovating and upgrading Ciao Bella and it has all lead up to this moment - the moment she was reunited with the sea.
The whole team put their books down from studying for their Skippers tickets and headed off to the boatyard. We got there nice and early so that we could get some last minute boat work done before the cranes arrived. With all of the equipment packed, halyards run, stays attached and the prop for the motor fitted - we were ready to raise the mast! This process took many hands and a lot of organisation to coordinate the crane, angle the mast correctly, and fasten the stays to secure the mast.
Once we were certain that her mast was sturdy, Ciao Bella was lifted from her temporary cradle. The whole team held their breath as we watched her lowered slowly into the water. The team hopped on board, started the motor, and pushed off to head to Durban Marina.
But then... Disaster! In a puff of black smoke, Ciao Bella's motor stalled. The team starting to panic as our dear Ciao Bella started to drift towards some rocks on the side of the channel. Luckily, Hearn came to the rescue and quickly bled the engine - to remove all the air pockets caused from her being on the hard for so long - and had the engine running again, just in time! Without any further problems, Ciao Bella made her way to the Durban Marina where she will be moored until her big delivery to Cape Town later this year.
Ciao Bella's launch wouldn't have been possible or as successful without all the help of Yacht Lift Pty Ltd!
While the team was still on holiday from university and had successfully completed their Skippers courses, it was time to focus on getting Ciao Bella sailing!
We spent the remainder of our holiday fine tuning the mast and the rigging, sorting out marina administration and official safety checks for the boat. Luckily we managed to fit in one sea trial before heading back to university.
The team's spirit soared as we hoisted Ciao Bella's sails and got to enjoy what was the first of many sails on this magnificent boat. With only one minor problem of loose jib tracks, we had a very successful first sea trial!
- Emma Clark