Toto Launch Day!

This past weekend we finally launched the first Toto. This project started at the end of November, 2014 and we launched into the Pamlico River near Washington, NC on Saturday, April 25, 2015. It’s been a 5 month journey to get here. I was really hoping to nearly have both boats complete by this point, but it’s been a very cold winter which slowed down the project a lot. This weekend was the Marine Market in Washington. Tanya had a class to go to on Saturday, so I decided to bring the girls camping despite a rainy forecast. I bought some new straps from REI and some rack pads and loaded the Toto on the car.

Loaded and ready

Loaded and ready

I also bought the hood straps from REI which you can see sticking out near the headlight. It’s a clever little mesh loop which bolts under the hood to an existing frame bolt. Normally they are just tucked in under the hood and then you can pull them out when you want to tie a boat on the roof.

After checking out the Marine Market which mostly meant the girls jumping in the bouncy house and going down the big blow up slide, and then grabbing some lunch, we walked down to the Estuarium education center where they were building some stitch and glue boats. I would have liked to check it out more, but the girls were impatient to head over to the park. We spent some time on the swings and enjoying the view of the waterfront despite the grey, drizzly weather.

Waterfront park

Waterfront park

Upriver

Upriver

Downriver

Downriver

Estuarium

Park & Estuarium

I finally dragged the girls out of the park by bribing them with ice cream and then it was off across the river to the camp ground. We stayed at the Twin Lakes RV park and marina, which was a nice RV park with lots of shaded parking spots for trailers, many of which were right on various canals out to the river. We set up the tent and then headed down to the boat launch.

I haven’t gotten a final weight on the boat yet, but it is very easy to lift over my head from the top of the car – a real pleasure compared to our heavy fiberglass canoe. We plopped the boat in the water, threw in the cushions and got the girls in for a picture.

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Paddling off by hand without me

Paddling off by hand without me

As advertised, the boat is a little tender. You’re not going to be paddling standing up, but my fears of all of us falling in where unfounded. The boat was plenty stable and held the three of us just fine. The girls even started rocking it back and forth for fun.

It was already after 5 pm by the time we launched, so we just did a quick 20 minute, 0.8 nautical mile trip down the canal out into the Pamlico and back before the girls were cold and tired of being wet.

short little paddle

short little paddle

It may not have been a long trip, but it was pretty cool to have the first trip be into the Pamlico River. I would love to do a multi-day trip down the Tar River into the Pamlico, but that’s an adventure for another day.

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