Boats are meant to be in the water but every now and then you have to do something to them that requires sitting on land for a period. Our home is suddenly up in the air and rather than hear the water lapping at the hulls we hear the Travelift, all the other yard vehicles, power tools and endless cell phone ringtones. Instead of a distant horizon, the view from the cockpit is of the waste fuel shed two feet away with a tin roof that rumbles in the wind.
Despite the fact that we spent ten years in a boatyard with our last boat, this is a completely new experience. We’re not here for the long haul. We’re not building a boat. We’re just here to get our rudders fixed and do some normal maintenance. And while this too is part of the liveaboard experience, we’re anxious to get going.
The rudder repair started well enough. One rudder came out quickly and made us feel we’d have an easy time of it. But oh, the second one! It took nearly a whole day to get that one out and ended up needing some persuasion from a torch. Then we were presented with a conundrum when we saw that both rudders have a line of corrosion at the point of the upper seal.
No one was sure what to do, but after some consultation within the yard and with the Manta owners group we all agreed that doing a cleanout and epoxy filling and polishing would do the trick. So that will happen tomorrow.
Meanwhile we decided that we ought to paint the bottom while we’re out of the water, but as neophytes we had to find out what kind of paint to use, how much we needed and how to prep for it. We also need new sacrificial zincs for the saildrives, and that involved its own research, sourcing and ordering. Everything we do has its own learning curve. I know that in a year or two much of this will be second nature but right now every day is the very beginning of something and even when it’s frustrating, I’m enjoying every minute of it.
Late this morning we heard that Sea-Tow was bringing in a motor cruiser that had run aground and had an injured person aboard. A rescue wagon and ambulance drove into the yard as the boat was brought in but happily the injury wasn’t serious and the man was able to leave the boat under his own steam.
Jack spent much of the afternoon sanding the hulls in preparation for the bottom paint. He was nearly finished when a huge thunderstorm came rolling in with the hardest rain I can ever remember experiencing. Jack stood under the boat waiting for the storm to pass but soon it became clear that this one was staying for a while. When he climbed the ladder to the boat he was covered in black toxic sanding dust so I sent him straight to the showers. Meanwhile I discovered that I hadn’t completely latched a couple of portholes and we had water streaming in on the port hull. We no sooner got that taken care of when we remembered we hadn’t pulled the plug on the dinghy. It was nearly full of water and hanging off the end of the boat almost out of reach. I crawled over the cockpit lockers and bailed in a full layout position until I got the water level low enough to reach the line on the plug. Jack handed me a boat hook and I managed to finagle it on the line and pull the plug and the water came gushing out.
OK, now what?
Some days it goes like that, one thing after another.
The rain finally moderated a little and we ventured out on the bow to take a look. The boatyard is nearly flooded. The rain continues. And so does the work.