Test Launch of Northern Cross

(Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of today’s test launch of Northern Cross)  

Here’s how it went down:

At about 4:15 pm this afternoon, I decided it was time to get Northern Cross in the water to see if it would float.  After filling the gas container with 4 gallons of premium gas (and watching the gas gurgle out of the gas line connector), I realized I’d never purchased the Yamaha fitting that screws into the gas container to connect up the gas line.  There’s always something waiting to get you, even at this late stage.  So, I set the container upright which minimized the gurgling of gas upon the ground, and drove to Cabela’s to buy the needed fitting.  This trip took an hour, round trip.  After attaching the fitting, hooking the boat back up and driving to the boat launch, it was now after 7:00 pm.  Sun goes down at 7:45.  It didn’t matter, we were launching Northern Cross no matter what.

After backing the boat into the water, I attached the gas line and squeezed the bulb to fill the line with fuel.  We were now ready for the moment of truth…would the outboard start?  I’d previously added premium synthetic motor oil to the engine.  Floating gently at the dock, I hit the starter…the motor started instantly.  I had expected it to turn over a few times to get the fuel into the carb, but it fired instantaneously.

The purr of the motor was amazing.  It sounded strong, deep and solid.  I let the motor idle for several minutes to allow the oil to work its way around the motor.  Then, using the dock lines, we repositioned the boat for launch, dropped the shifter into gear, and slowly pulled away from the dock.  It was amazing!  To finally feel the boat in the water after hours of building…it was the culmination of all that preceded this moment that made it so special for me.  And, my dad was with me in the boat.  He has been my constant consultant, engineer and builder advisor for the past year as I worked on this boat.  I was so pleased to have him with me for this special moment.

Many adventures will now follow, with many photos documenting our adventures.

My initial impressions are:

  1. It floats
  2. It planes at multiple speeds
  3. The outboard sounds deep and strong
  4. It steers easily by simply shifting one’s weight
  5. The steering wheel stays exactly where you leave it
  6. The boats seems to hold it’s course very well on the water
  7. It’s a bit stern heavy when motoring with only 2 adults (moving weight forward helped trim the boat)
  8. It seems to move through the water effortlessly and at very low rpm’s
  9. The motor is very quiet.  It was easy to carry on a conversation at moderate speeds
  10. It exudes a strong feeling of efficiency, just as Kilburn said it would
  11. The torsion axel trailer carries the boat gracefully along providing a buttery smooth ride
  12. The boat pulls so easily, you don’t know it’s behind you.  I wouldn’t hesitate pulling this boat cross country at highway speeds.

I can’t wait to get the upholstery work done and get it out on the water again.  This is a very special boat and I believe it will serve my family well for many many years.  

Up next:

Final fittings to secure things like:  the coolers, motor cover, fire extinguisher, etc.  Attachment of dock lines, fenders and tow line.  Addition of a repair kit with tools and basic survival equipment.