READY FOR LAUNCH

Passage Maker - - Electronics -

It was in Jan­uary when Ama was fi­nally ready to leave the school’s large tent. I spent sev­eral weeks work­ing on the de­tails re­quired for Ama to take to Port Townsend Bay. Three friends at the time were help­ing once the school got her onto a trailer and over to the Point Hud­son Ma­rina yard where I took over fit­ting her out. The next weeks and months in­volved in­stalling bronze and stain­less deck fit­tings, brass in­te­rior hard­ware, my lovely old 6-inch Dirigo flat­card com­pass, new and re­con­di­tioned bilge pumps, a frus­trat­ingly com­plex elec­tri­cal sys­tem, depth sounder, VHF, fore-and-aft fire ex­tin­guish­ers, and count­less other nec­es­sary things.

The day of the launch was fran­tic, what with ty­ing up many loose ends, yet the an­tic­i­pa­tion of the launch cen­tered my ef­forts. Around 200 lo­cal folks, friends, and fam­ily wit­nessed the launch of the largest ves­sel the boat school had ever built. The lo­cal pa­per had in­ter­viewed sev­eral of the peo­ple in­volved, so many lo­cals knew what was hap­pen­ing that day. A good friend from the East Coast, fel­low boat­builder Peter Wat­son, had wo­ken the crew on the Point Hud­son boats that morn­ing, warm­ing up his bag­pipes for the launch. I bed­ded and snugly screwed in the three tall bronze let­ters A-M-A where I had drilled the tran­som the day be­fore, care­fully let­ting no one see her name be­fore the ac­tual launch in or­der to honor a mar­itime tra­di­tion, and su­per­sti­tion. We had three Port Townsend Brew­ery kegs al­ready in place with two tapped and tested for the cel­e­bra­tion. My re­marks for Ama’s ded­i­ca­tion were swirling around in my head.

The ac­tual launch felt mag­i­cal and many there were moved to sing Ama’s praises; my wife and I most of all. I got to tell the story of Ama’s nam­ing, and to thank ev­ery­one in­volved. The bag­pip­ing started, Ama was low­ered, then re­leased, and her first voy­age of 200 feet to an ad­join­ing dock was a suc­cess. Sadly, I was un­able to take our friends and ev­ery­one who had helped build Ama for a trial cruise around Port Townsend Bay, be­cause

Top: In ad­di­tion to her green en­gine, Ama sports the op­tion of sailas­sisted cruis­ing. Bot­tom: The au­thor and Brid­get Buyer share a mo­ment of joy as Ama nears com­ple­tion.

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