It's never been easy to explain why I have two sailboats, nor has the phrase "but one of them is in pieces" garnered much sympathy. But them's the facts: I never sold my first boat and have enjoyed it through the (literally) long years of Alchemy's rehabilitation.
Also, we don't own a car. I ran the numbers, and owning two sailboats is cheaper on a yearly basis, all-in, docks and insurance and winter storage, oh my. Clearly, however, the time is drawing nigh when I have to acknowledge, now that Alchemy is officially mobile and getting her mast back in next spring's priority, that I may have one sailboat surplus to our needs. More on that soon, but in the meantime, what our little navy has as a commonality is the need to spend winter ashore, so here are some 2014 sling shots.
|The non-dock-side is where I keep the crappier of my fenders. If you were at a finger end, you would, too.|
Alchemy came out, as has been customary, first on October 25 in my boat club's general haulout. The keen-eyed will note that for reasons best known to the yard honchos and perhaps the crane operator, Alchemy, which has consistently been hauled to her cradle bow to the west, needed 180 degrees of spin (that's the RYA training talking, that "degrees" reference). Having already "hovered" in place for some minutes, awaiting my turn to be slung, I managed a respectable coming-about under engine control. I am so far quite pleased with the "out of the box" performance of my VariProp, and its four blades, even in "dead slow forward and aft" were able to turn Alchemy's bow and stern effortlessly. It remains to be seen next season if I need to tinker with the pitch settings. Frankly, I got sufficient stares of disbelief from some of my club's members to indicate they were astounded to see Alchemy moving at all, never mind with a degree of competence and control.
|Always alarming a sight, even in excellent conditions for photography (it was a touch windy).|
|That charming solar arch has to be rejigged: I made an error in leaving enough room for the twin backstays to get through.|
|Note most of the conscriptees standing well back: Nobody wants to be under our boat "just in case".|
|She's come unslung: Alchemy's berth until April 2015.|
Valiente came out today (November 4, 2014) under less benign conditions. Firstly, the keel or prop got fouled when I cast off from my marina dock and I couldn't get the Gori folding prop to deploy properly in forward. The wind pushed me sideways while I was attempting to shift the suspected sea grass off the drive train, and a light thump on a dock end put a fresh scratch on the gelcoat. Then, having found thrust (it wasn't an engine fault, more "marina can't be arsed to mow the weeds" fault), I ventured eastward across the harbour in rising winds that were 20 knots, forecasted to gust past 33 knots, straight into the channel where I was to haul.
|Not my flag, but I will own up to the Portabote.|
The two men, Uli and Clayton, who comprise the entirety of the Pier 35 staff, were muttering dark imprecations of doom and invective against the gods, the weather and "the stupid boaters who left things too late", otherwise known as their customers. Alas, I felt compelled to point out that I had been scheduled to get hauled on that very day (I wanted to go the previous, calmer day, but had been dissuaded) and had in fact arrived an hour early.You go to Pier 35 for the price, not so much the charm, but they like me enough to hand me lines off other peoples' boats. Otherwise, I'd just be standing around waiting for things to happen.
|Six boats were hauled while I was present. Clearly, I'm not the only guy who likes post-Hallowe'en sailing.|
|Look at all the crap I still have to drag below!|
|Fate: Uncertain. Bottom: Washed|
Unfortunately, that sort of intelligence boost could me an end to my need for Pier 35's overwintering services. With just one boat, I can stay at the club, or rent out our whole house, move aboard and try out "Winter in the Water!" at the marina at which I've been keeping Valiente.
We shall see. I wouldn't want to rush things.
|Clearly, more to clean up and stow, but the motor won't freeze into irreparable chunks now.|