The vessel is prepared to be launched on a slipway
. Both sides of the ship
are supported by angled
supports filled with sand. When the supports are knocked down, the sand spills out and only
four brakes hold the giant. This
is when the countdown begins: if the vessel is not
launched into the water
in five minutes, it can become warped and all the work will have
in vain. At this time, the captain presses the button, the brakes are removed
and the vessel slides into the sea. Two tugboats are already guarding it in the water to
take it ashore, where the hull is stuffed full of all kinds of equipment. Vessels have been
test-launched in this manner for more than 100 years.
Only the Brodosplit shipyard still
uses this old-fashioned technology.
Nobody else in the world does this anymore, as they
prefer artificial pools.
Before being launched, the ship is christened. Once a
bottle of champagne has been broken over the side of the vessel, the godmother cuts the rope
with an axe and sends the ship out on its first voyage. Why are women most often chosen as
godparents? Because women bring ships good luck, according
to Croatian shipbuilders.
Another old tradition is to imbed a coin, or even
more than one, into the vessel for
good luck. For instance, a minted silver
coin is imbedded in the bottom of the Flying
The next step is equipment testing and finishing. Finally, the last stage
consists of five to six test runs, each of which lasts from one to six days.