Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fish out of water

Like a bird without wings, like a snail without a shell, like a teenager without a cell phone, we yanked our poor boat right out of the water.

Well it has to be done occasionally and we figured it was time. We'd been spending an inordinate amount of time cleaning off the seaweed, barnacles, crabs, and little sea lice that were creating their own ecosystem on the hull of the boat. Fascinating as the life is, it slows the boat down and can cause more serious problems with watermakers, fridges, and the hull itself. When we'd scrape them from the hull, the creatures would scramble for any shelter they could find. This usually would be us. The sea lice would cling to your body, sometimes stinging or biting like an underwater mosquito. Often I'd pull little crabs out of my ears after cleaning the hull. No, bottom cleaning is not a fun job. I'd much rather change diapers and clean a baby's bottom than clean the boat's bottom. Well there are sailors out there with infants doing both...poor souls...but back to our haulout.

We spent the week before lining up paint and painters. Sailors are a sucker for the promise of not having to clean bottoms. "Oh, this stuff costs 3 times as much, but I won't have to clean the bottom at all for 2 years?...I'll take 4 gallons please." Kaching! There's one like me born every minute.

We found some painters who did a great job and were expensive by local standards, but still cost a fraction of what we spent on paint. Then while we were out of the water, I got to focus on all the other little maintenance items that are hard to do in the water, like changing zincs, cleaning thru-hulls and lubing the prop.

This haulout was more like a railroad train than the usual travelift. In a travelift there's a big tractor with beams and two huge straps they hang under the boat which they lift you out and drive with you in the sling until they set you on your keel with a bunch of little jackstands to keep you from tipping over. This setup, by contrast has a short length of railroad track going down into the water and a railcar that they lower into the water using a system of blocks and cables and a 20 HP electric motor. Then you drive the boat into the car...kind of like pulling into a slip. You tie off securely to both sides, your keel rests on the floor of the car and they pull you up with the elctric motor.

There we sat angled a bit backwards for two days while doing all the work. We even lived on the boat sitting strangely still at this odd angle of repose. The kids had fun going uphill or downhill while walking the length of the boat. But it didnt' feel natural and the boat feels much happier now back in the water. It did turn out to be a good way to haulout. There were no straps or jackstands to mess up the paint, only a few spots on the bottom of the keel that we couldn't paint. Well, those little spots should be all I have to clean for the next two years according to my paint salesman.


Ramona said...

Hey Tim,
'Sounds like the lazy guy's was to do a haulout - but hice. I'm all for it. What you accomplished in two days took us six weeks. That must be some kind of miracle paint.

Nice story!


Anonymous said...

We liked the story. It was a very nice way of hauling out. Oma says it is very funny, I think so too.

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