If you have read our previous blog post ‘Trials and Tribulations of Zoras First Few Months’ we explored Zoras journey from the time we purchased her and how we worked tirelessly for her first big milestone, and a very testing moment for us crew…HER LAUNCH. Some of you may or may not have known but Zora had not been in the water for over 20 years, lets recap a little bit in time. ‘It was the year 1998 and after a trip around the world under a Swiss skipper Zora almost sank. A fire had taken her, engulfed her sea spirit and gutted her interior; she became another abandoned wreck, a lost soul among the scrap pile. Along with 15 years of neglect it meant that she had to be rebuilt from the ground up. After our purchase our goal throughout the first few months was to reclaim her sea spirit and give her those sea legs she once lost all those years ago’. Re-homed into our (amateur yet willing) hands in February 2018 and after much of the steel work was complete, and a fresh coat of primer was laid down. The next 8 months were spent sanding, painting, rigging the mast, wiring the engine and getting the boat ready for launch. An exciting yet nervous deadline was picked.

Launch day came in August 2018, on a warm and sunny afternoon. We arrived early in the yard for final preparations, where her leg supports held her tall in the yard over the years had to be wielded, primed, and painted. All of which was done at lightning speed by a great group of support from family and friends. It was an anxious wait, as the sun beamed down among her freshly painted blue coat, the sea glistening, calling her home. In the distance, roughly around midday, the 100 tonne (beaming yellow) arrived and her moment of glory was now becoming real. The captain of course was franticly, yet professional piecing together last minute preparations, all while a small crowd started to gather. Friends, family and those that had generously helped us over the 8 months came to see this memorable moment. A buzz began to fill the yard.

The crane was positioned, the straps were secured on, the space was cleared for her to be positioned in the water. It was time for launch time. The 100 tonne crane moved her without a hitch, a build up was over in a matter of minutes, (in fact first mate Niamh, nearly missed this prestigious moment for Zora due to capturing photos and video footage). She slowly glided forward, the crane hanging directing her over the water. And with the hand signals and directions shouted among Rhys and the crew, Zora sat among the glistening waters or the first time in 20years….but would she float? It was a nervous time as we waited in apprehension for hopefully not a slow sinking of steal to happen. It was all good. A small dingy towed her out all the river bank and down a passage to her new home, for the next few weeks anyways.

And there she was sitting high and mighty (mainly due to lack of ballast) in the water, floating, no leeks, her mighty mast marking her place among the other boats. The crowd followed her down to her new home and we crossed the path of two other boats to first ‘step aboard’ Zora, a proud crew and a strange sensation made for a memorable evening. A beer or two was had…. it was now time to plan her next big milestone. Her first sea venture up to her new home, and the next few weeks were spent preparing for a small voyage to a new home, roughly 8 hours of sailing away in Kinsale. From Baltimore to kinsale….. it was time to get her ready……

– Niamh