Copyright (c) Marc Dacey/Dark Star Media unless otherwise indicated. Above photo (c) Marc Dacey. Powered by Blogger.

2014-11-04

Sling shots

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).
While the prop itself is a little dirty, in general, the anti-fouling held up, despite the lack of ablation my dilatory diesel work could supply.

That charming solar arch has to be rejigged: I made an error in leaving enough room for the twin backstays to get through.
There's plenty to do this winter; even if I possessed laurels, I could not rest upon them, nor do I have the impression they make a decent sea berth.

Note most of the conscriptees standing well back: Nobody wants to be under our boat "just in case".
The jury-rigged diesel can, for instance, will give way to the arrogantly named FilterBOSS system acquired lo, so many seasons ago. And water and batteries, oh, my. And more welding. Some holiday this has turned out to be.


She's come unslung: Alchemy's berth until April 2015.
The jobs with Valiente are more in the way of cleaning and tarting up in anticipation of selling her. Regretfully, but after several family dinners at which I've unsuccessfully tried to give her to various in-laws and relatives (just until we return, mind), I have come to the sad conclusion we must part. And given her unfashionable, if still fast, lines and even more dire brown plaid interior and non-condo-like amenities, I don't expect to increase the cruising kitty overmuch. Still, having only one boat will further focus my efforts. Too bad I've enjoyed this one so much.


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.
Things did eventually happen, and despite some irregularities with pad placement, or rather boat placement requiring pad adjustment (yes, I am sure they are numbered correctly!), winter squatting was achieved.
Look at all the crap I still have to drag below!
Not pictured (because I have to work at least part of today) was my $100 ($3/foot LOA) power wash. Frankly, dragging down my own power washer and a genset and a length of hose via bike cart has lost its charm for me, and this is a rare splurge. I even evinced a double-take from the Pier 35 guys, who with their customary drollery, informed me "you are finally getting smart".
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.
UPDATE 2014.11.06: Sloop winterized, main stripped off boom and bottom power-washed (yeah, this year I actually paid to have that done because it's a big drag to cart down both a power washer and a genset to run it to The Yard That Hath No Outlets). I would've done more, but the rains, they came.

4 comments:

Silverheels III said...

Good work Marc. Which marina would you attempt winter liveaboard?

Rhys said...

We are thinking of Marina Quay West, because the streetcar has been restored and Lucas would need to commute to Grade Nine at an as-yet undetermined high school. I also have an "in" there, having kept Valiente there for a number of years.

"Attempt" is right! There would be a LOT to do before that could happen...but it's an option and the rent bump from renting out the whole house would more than cover the cost of living aboard, which in turn would focus the mind.

Silverheels III said...

Don't know if you've ever read this...k\
http://searoom.com/winter-liveaboards/

Rhys said...

Yes, I read it some time ago, Ken, and it's a useful primer on how to do it. I don't know if I can pull it together to live aboard for a Toronto winter, but I do think it would a) reveal what it's necessary to bring, b) show the most efficient way to live in a relatively confined space and c) allow us to "test-fly" tenants in the rest of our house while still being able to rectify problems from only a few blocks away. Your essay is re-bookmarked, and thank you.