You wouldn’t smash a champagne bottle on a Van Gogh or a Picasso, but on Friday afternoon at the Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway, the occasion called for nothing less.

Leslie Cockburn christens the new ship. — Steve Myrick

With a hefty swing, Leslie Cockburn showered the shiny Irish green hull of Artemis, designed by Nat Benjamin, with bubbly foam.

“We’ve always thought that Nat’s boats were works of art,” said new owner Andrew Cockburn. “It’s incredibly exciting that we’re going to have one for ourselves. Thrilled, just thrilled. It’s more beautiful than even I fantasized about.”

The extended Cockburn family were among approximately 100 people who helped celebrate the official launch of the new vessel.

Construction of the 31-foot gaff-rigged wooden sloop with a distinctive canoe stern began last September. Before the launch, it took Mr. Benjamin several minutes to list the names and thank all the people who had a hand in the creation of the sloop.

“She’s designed to be a pocket cruiser, for coastal cruising,” Mr. Benjamin said. “Although she’s perfectly capable of going greater distances, trans-Atlantic, whatever. I think she’s going to perform very nicely.”

Ready to test the waters. — Steve Myrick

With the christening accomplished, Artemis slowly slid down the rails with a large cargo of Cockburn family members and Gannon and Benjamin shipwrights aboard. The crowd broke into applause and cheered when the vessel bobbed free of the cradle.

Artemis is the 86th design drawn by Mr. Benjamin, and 72nd boat built by the renowned yard on the Vineyard Haven waterfront.

Ross Gannon was asked if it ever gets old.

“No, not at all,” Mr. Gannon said. “Every one is different, even if it’s the same design. You learn, you get better.”

More photos of Artemis launch.