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Out and At 'Em

Yesterday was "Haulout 2008", the painful ritual in which one's vessel is hoisted high into the hostile element of air and rudely plonked onto a device with the comforting name of "cradle".

Ours was very nearly the first boat out, being at one corner of the yard, as I had requested proximity to both the crane and the workshop (newly rebuilt and visible in the background of this otherwise grim scene of para-wintery grey.

Oh, how it rained and later, how it rained and blew. Only half the boats got out Saturday, and the crane crews and boat owners stopped hauling Sunday at 11 am when the wind hit 25 knots and stayed there, kicking up three to four foot waves in the channel from which we haul the southernmost two rows of boats (and they tend to be the bigger, heavier, more deluxe models. Tanks like ours are tucked in the back!).

Seen here is the rudder providentially hanging out over the walkway, making it easier to remove it for painting and checking the welding. The other reason to remove the rudder this winter is to pull the prop shaft so that it can be checked for straightness and so that a thrust bearing can be welded for the universal coupling and so the prop can be more easily mounted.

The nuts on the mounts look rough and I might as well have the thing off while I can. I will also debate the merits of plugging the rudder holes: currently, the rudder fills with water that is dramatically shed when the boat is hauled (why is the boat peeing, Daddy?), but it can be left optionally empty or filled with oil. I have heard both things are done, but am unclear as to the reasoning of one method over the other.

During haulout, I got to drive the club's "crash boat", a 20 foot f/g fishing boat with a 90 HP Suzuki on the back. Used normally at race marks or as a base from which to pluck junior sailors out of the drink should a gybe go wrong, at haulout it's used to circle in the Western Gap on the south perimeter of the club, watching out in case people pushing boats away from the unforgiving sea wall (they use long poles with carpet squares) while waiting for the crane slings take a tumble. Yesterday demanded a measure of attention, as the waves were making the boats buck in the slings until they cleared the water, and the crash boat doesn't have any keel to speak of, making the ride rolly indeed.

I've offered to help next Saturday, and so may ride that pony again.

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