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2013-05-04

The other half splashes

Ready for launch and surrounded by other boats


Having established that her new PSS Shaft Seal is, so far, dripless as advetised, I put Alchemy restoration aside last Tuesday to launch Valiente, the other half of my Swiss Navy-sized fleet.

All things considered, not bad for a 40-year-old: a real Boat I Like to Sail


The collision of appalling, barely spring-like weather and its affect on finishing a bunch of needful tasks to make Alchemy watertight for its own launch postponed dealing with Valiente far longer than I had hoped: I could have sailed into our summer berth April 15th instead of 17 days later...hell, the bottom paint was done on April 9th...but I suppose it could be worse: it could be snowing.

An old-school stuffing box will remain on Valiente, as you can't clap a PSS on a direct-drive Atomic 4
Aside from the usual hurry-up-and-wait routine which is to be expected at a busy boat yard in May, boat partner Clive and myself had little in the way of trouble, although his elderly Honda 800 generator blew a fuse trying to power my 10 amp Guest battery charger, and he volunteered to get my Honda 2000 from my house, which involved Toronto traffic so dense that it delayed me on an unloaded bicycle...my offshore readers from this area can feel good about avoiding that downside to an otherwise very nice place to come from. We did the usual last-day-ashore stuff: servicing the thruhulls/seacocks, tightening hose clamps, particularly on hose below the WL, and bringing various chunks (like the Portabote and the boom) out on deck to free up space in the cabin.

Like threading a ten-ton needle
I've posted plenty of launch and haulout pictures in the past, but this time, I have some nice shots of the redoubtable Uli and Clayton maneuvering their impressive gear in what would appear to be extremely close quarters. This rig of hydraulic lift trailer and forklift is about sixty feet or 19 metres in length. From my bow to that gate is about one boat length (35 feet/11 metres). Uli, the yard manager, is driving backwards much of the time and is doing six-point turns...yikes, watching this is a tad nerve-wracking for the uninitiated. I am almost used to it, and Clive, who parks giant passenger jets in narrow airport gates as part of his day job, exhibited frank admiration for the way these guys work efficiently and with clearly well-practised spatial orientation.

The hydraulics are pressurized by yet another small Honda motor. It looks like it's off a lawnmower.

The entire cradle is raised off cinder blocks, only a few inches or so, and is pulled free.

And that's why I don't lower the fenders.

Here you can just make out that the pulpit of one boat is brushing at my aft port lifering as Valiente is hauled out of the crowd. It is not an exaggeration to say I've seen boats pass within one inch/2.5 cm of each other. The economics of boat storage depend on close quartering.

Not seen: The wind had picked up a bit and my stern swung alarmingly close to that shrink-wrap
After a ten-minute trundle around the outside of the ill-defined boat-stowage grounds, it was up, up and away time into a blue sky rarely seen this year until the last week or so.

The first duty...look for water coming in where it shoudn't be.
The engine started right away, although it stalled briefly when put in gear. There was an annoying and fairly significant leak from the newly replaced basket filter to which I attribute a poorly seated gasket ring. Throw in the anticipated dripping from the stuffing box, which tends to need a few days immersed to swell to its nominal "slow drip" state, and I am glad I had the bilge pump in working order. By the time I tied up after a 20 minute chug across the harbour, there were a few dozen litres below.
That ladder will be shortly replaced by a mast
Not a worry, however. I fixed the basket leak and tightened the stuffing box a little until it settles. We'll see if both remedies work the next time I motor, which will be to put the mast in next week.

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