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2013-10-31

Slick or sleet: The horrors of Haulout 2013

While this was taken on November 1, a day later than Hallowe'en, it illustrates how even a "moderate" gale of 40 knots or so can create havoc in the channel just outside of my club's basin. Conditions like this are not particularly rare.
Photo copyright Eric Jacob.
What could be more appropriate for an October 31st post than to list the horrors of hauling out? As I write, there's a warning of a 45-knot (gusting 60) gale that's supposed to lash Toronto while I am herding a bunch of Halloweenies on a search for sugar. And I still have a boat in the water.
But first, the equally windy tale of the boat that is not still afloat.

Every baby needs a cradle.
Usually, I am driving a safety boat over the two days of my club's launch and haulout process. This year, some welcome work meant that while I could test a new foul-weather jacket under real-life conditions (it passed with high marks), I would not be able to actually be on station for the Saturday haulout. So my wife and I put the cradle up (above), brought the boat over to the seawall, and I wished her well with a 0700 h call (still mostly dark at 0700) in increasing wind and rain.



Funny, this worked in the spring...
First bit of horror came with the realization that the former sling marks (see red tape on top pipe rail) have altered, no doubt because the new engine and gear aboard has shifted the center of gravity. Mrs. Alchemy was called over to  consult.


No one looks happy, a bit of a theme in a cold gale.

 Eventually, air got under the boat...

This will change yet again when I shift that load of lead "trim" out of the bow.

Note the "cinch belt" keeping the slings from sliding around and terrifying the villagers.
Once down, it was clear that staying mostly still at a dock does the bottom paint no favours.

Ew.
On the upside, with a number of the larger boats (ours is a large boat, but has never been among the club's larger boats) off to winter digs featuring a TraveLift, there's some welcome space between the boats and I don't have to put the ladder off the stern.

Most of this will in fact dry up and flake off. Or I will fix the power washer which has blown a gasket.
A rare, if semi-obstructed, side view of Alchemy. The paint job's holding up thanks to Mrs. A's summer two-part touch-ups.
What big fenders you've got!
 So as the weather got worse...
And out of focus.
...and worse...
Not present...the 20 foot surge over the end of the runway at Future Boat Club Killer Airport.
 ...the decision to defer the small boat retrieval out of the Western Gap until a calmer Sunday was taken, and a sodden but successful Mrs. Alchemy splashed home before hypothermia took hold.


Whoops. Time for a brushdown.
The boat bottom is surprisingly mucky, as is the prop. I will apply some elbow grease to see if this is, as I suspect, superficial fouling. 


Dermabrasion, steel boat style
Meanwhile, the Old Girl is still afloat. I'm scheduled to haul out for Valiente's winter storage at the redoubtable Uli's Pier 35 on Sunday afternoon, but the above-noted gale tonight and tomorrow argued for some seamanlike prudence in the form of lashing and doubled dock lines.
Boom lashed, tiller lashed, bimini lashed and boom pointed at direction of gale.
After a pump-out of the existing rain and some lashing of the bimini frame and tiller, I checked the state of charge of the batteries (100%) if the bilge pump needs to work while the power is down (or the power cord is worked loose). I know from experience that water WILL sluice down the mast, particularly from the expected SW direction of the gusty weather.

Bow lines doubled.
Doubled springs and stern lines and reposition big ol' fenders.
Midship spring and doubled bow lines to port.

We'll see if she's still there on Sunday. I would think so.
So while I didn't have the time for a late-season sail, my boat partner Clive did, and apparently enjoyed himself.  I'll keep my fingers crossed that the boat will be undamaged when I return on Sunday and that the Hallowe'en Gale is more treat than trick.

Not seen: the actual sailboat sailing in the south-eastern part of the harbour. Looked nice.
UPDATE: November 3, 2013: Aside from the climatic dice-rolling that saw the overnight temperature in Valiente's cabin dip to 0.2C, the lake did not seize and Sunday was bright and only faintly breezy. A good day to redline the engine (based on some possibly fictional idea of "blowing out the carbon/oiling the rings, etc.) and get to Valiente's winter quarters for the 40th time.



Behold a rare video, taken by boat partner Clive. It is very boring, except for the fact that it demonstrates how slowly one should move when tugging four and half tons of sloop.

Blurry because it was very much dusk at this point. She's pointed more or less into the wind for a change.
After some intense and Clive-aided cradle assembly, Honda genset-running and sling-positioning, and a measure of the usual standing around and waiting in the surprisingly busy confines of Pier 35, the old girl was hauled without incident, rapidly winterized in engine and bilges, and will be visited in a few weeks for further lashing and prep. Despite a degree of under-utilization this season, which was predictable due to various workloads and external events, she had a good summer, and the new standing rigging is keeping the mast up and the sails pulling.

2 comments:

Robert Salnick said...

You fresh water folks have no idea what fouling is... ;)

Rhys said...

Clearly, Robert! But the contrast between the blue boat, which faces south, moves a fair bit and has VC 17 ablative antifouling, versus the steel boat, which has Petit Vivid "hard" antifouling and didn't budge this summer, is interesting and contrasting.

I already own the squeegee and snorkel for the day we hit salt and have to dive on the hull to scrape off the goo.