On Wednesday, April 14th the weather was good enough to put the Batboat in the water.
Two of the trailer rollers were in bad shape so the boat kind of mounted on it lopsided. I bought the replacements already that week and had been itching to replace them.
That morn the sun was out and the almost warm air on my face made me not wait for anyone to help me out. Across the street are the Zilwaukee boat ramps. I hitched it up.
Lession learned that day was the next time I launch the boat I should wait until the docks are put in. I climbed over the car and got into my trunk to push the boat into the water.
All worked out well. The Batboat was in the water for almost 2 hours and only took on about a gallon of water. Pretty good for a vessel with lots of rot.
The tailer rollers were kind of tricky to get off but after a sprint back home for my metal files I replaced them with the new ones quickly.
Members of the Zilwaukee Department of Public Works were there on break and shouted out comments on how cool the boat was. Another man who was on lunch with his young son asked if he could have a photo and said it was a "sweet" boat.
Man, this Batman Batboat brought on many other smiles.
Two unforeseeable, but comical, mistakes happened at the maiden launching. It turns out that the trailer is not exactly square, therefore, trying to back it in the water in the tight squeeze between the pier and dry-docked dock took some time and one of the turn signals hit the pier and broke.
When I was hand maneuvering the Batboat onto the trailer from the pier I wanted to leave one rope still tied in case the Batboat drifted off the trailer a bit before I could secure it from inside my car trunk. After a few moments cranking the bow rope into place I got preoccupied with something else, then started the car and pulled the vessel out of the water while it was still tied on the pier.
Ping! Snap! Pow! What just happened?
The taught rope tore through some of the Batboat deck detailing, the poor cleat sprung off and flung into the depths to Davy Jones' cleat collection.
I picked up the shattered Batboat pieces of off the lawn of the picnic area and headed back home.
The Batboat is on display in my driveway.
If you are in the Zilwaukee area come on by and check it out. I am dismantling it probably in the next couple of weeks to make ready for its fiberglass restoration and new look.
Sascha Schneider (1870 - 1927)
3 weeks ago