Crack O: Wet Bottoms

Team Crack of Noon puts the ol' girl in the water for another summer season in Newport's J/24 Fleet 50.

Sailing World
Crack of Noon launch
The two-beer, cross-harbor delivery from Sail Newport to Newport YC on the J/24 Crack of Noon.Dave Reed

"Why is it that it's pissing rain every time we put the boat in the water?" Stu asked as we caravaned to Sail Newport, where Ian (Scott) was delivering his J/24 for launching. We wet sail the Crack Oh, so once it's in, it's in for good. Which means we're not as smooth as the usual Thursday night launchers.

But after 20 some years of putting her in, it's still a routine. Always with its variations. This time, as the rain pelted out backs, we hoisted the mast on the jin pole, started pinning the shrouds when Ian realized he's led the forestay to the spreader bracket when he reassembled the rigging a few weeks earlier. Back down it goes to the deck. Fix, rehoist. Uh oh. How'd the lowers fall out of their tang slots? We'll deal with those later. . . But otherwise, everything fit as it should, we found the cotter pins in the sink where we left them, Ian had meticulously patched the hole that I (Dave) put in the boat in the last days of the summer season, and in the V-berth, still in its carboard box, sits the new 3DL jib for our veteran trimmer Herb McCormick, who's back on the bench after a year sailing around the world, north-to-south. There wasn't much jib trimming, Herb told me when he returned home last fall, just button pushing. Something tells me we'll have to whip ol' Herbie into shape something quick.

Next week, we do it all again, as we say. Summer J/24 sailing is on. We have high expectations as usual, a goal not to slump midseason, and of course to drink our share to keep alive the tradition of Thirsty Thursdays. We're off to a good start, and as one of the few boats on the harbor, we've already won the most important race of the season: the race to get in.