June 25, 2020

Papillon at Anchor in Prinyer CovePapillon at anchor in Prinyers Cove

Article by Don Hudson

Our group of 12 sailors, who wintered our boats at Prinyers Cove east of Picton, had given considerable thought to a measured approach, not being in a hurry and with the sequence of steps well defined.  Masks, distancing and gloves, with hand sanitizer available continues to be mandatory.  Although the group proximity limit had been increased to ten in Ontario by June 12th, the 5-person model seemed very workable so we stuck with it.

The crane rumbled in at 0800 with four designated sling crew waiting to rig the crane.  Our crane signal person stood back, on the watch for anything needing adjusting.  Skippers/owners were watching from a good distance, 40 meters or so.

 The sequence: two crew on each sling carried the free ends to Papillon, my C&C 37, walking about 5 meters apart.   Advantage #1 was apparent. No sling touching the ground and no twists in the slings.  Off to a good start I thought.  Ready to hoist, the sling handlers stood 3-4 meters apart from side to side and bow to stern so the distancing was looking good.  As Papillon left the cradle, 2 crew took the tag lines, bow and stern while the other two went to the pier to make sure fenders stayed in place. Again, distancing was maintained.

Papillon InteriorWith bow and stern lines secure, two crew left the pier and I boarded and did the interior inspection.   With all dry inside, my last job was to unhook the outside sling ends. With slings clear, the engine is started and I am underway. 

Advantage #2 became apparent.  Our usual procedure had been to taxi skippers back to the pier by dingy to assist but this creates a proximity problem with more than 1 passenger in a small inflatable.  With permanent sling handlers there was no need for skippers and crew to return and with wind forecast to exceed 20 knots on the nose by noon, we were off to Picton by 10am.  The slings were already at the next boat as I left the pier.  I was able to reconnect the backstay, haul in fenders and carpets by 10:20 and head off into the chop in a group of three, remembering that cold water and hypothermia need to be taking seriously.  Papillon was on the mooring in Picton Harbour little after noon, safe and secure.  Perfect.

PapillonPapillon on mooring in Picton Harbour

Emails that night indicated that all skippers were very happy with a slick, problem free launch. Summary: 12 launches and two masts hoisted in twohours..  We have all agreed to continue with this approach in the future, our new normal.  

Cheers and stay safe!         
Don Hudson,   
"Papillon"

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