Friday, March 21, 2014

Working on Boats

On our bike rides Adam and I often drop in at a local marina to see what's going on. This time of year, there's a lot going on! The warm weather brings the sailors out of their holes to work on boats, prepping them for spring/summer water fun.
We tootled around Sailcraft Marina the other day and I finally got a pic of of this massive power boat/trawler. Some of you perhaps haven't seen many boats out of the water. They're a bit like icebergs -- more under the water line than you might expect. It dwarfs the boats around it.
The hulls of even normal-sized sailboats are overwhelming when you stand right under them.
I've shown you this contraption before, a travel-lift. This is a small one -- it handles 35 tons. They make ones that do 1000 tons. It lowers and raises boats into and out of the water.
This little darlin' is called a j-boat. It's purely for racing fast.
Here's its inside -- huge cockpit and almost no cabin because it's all about manning those sails, not taking naps. They don't even bother with a back on the cockpit because when you race, you assume you'll get wet.
Sailcraft and Deaton's Yachts yards are packed with boats right now. Everybody's getting ready for the season. They've even doubled up the boats docked in their marina.
This is where boat owners can store their dinghies ... or as Adam said, "This is where dinghies go to die." That flabby one on top sure looks dead!
Yesterday we were back at Sailcraft and noticed the travel-lift in action. I'd never seen it with a boat in the slings.
 The operator/driver, who has his controls on one of the 'legs,' steered it perfectly into the tracks that run on either side of the water well where the boat will be dropped.
 This sailboat is about 34 feet. It's just been freshly painted.
 The new paint is protected from rubbing by the slings. It rather reminds me of photos of cows being hefted by helicopters.
 All around the boat yard the whizz of saws and the thump of hammers rang. Sailors were working. This fellow is painting his hull.
 But the spots where the boat stands hold the boat up can't be painted ...
 ... until it's up in the sling. Here the owner of the 34-footer touches up those spots before she goes into the water.
 And we turned around and noticed a little speck toward the top of a tall mast.
 Yes indeed, it's a man, working on his mast. These sailors tend to their boats -- low and high.
 This year we must tend to our own little boat. It's over 40 years old, and some items need repairing as a safety issue. So today Adam brought her across to the wildlife ramp, just 3 blocks from our house. It's a free dock for daytime use.
 He removed the boom and I put it in the back of our van.
 Then he began working on the shrouds that hold up the mast.
 When they were loosened he laid the mast down.
 Then he and I together carried that mast down the street, three blocks to our house, and placed it in the side yard. I don't have a photo of the two of us carrying a boat mast down the road for obvious reasons ... but I can assure you that this is simply the kind of thing you see in Oriental that you don't see many other places!
Three pelicans enjoyed following a crab boat, hoping for a snack.
We took our de-masted sailboat for one last spin on Smith Creek, just motoring. Soon Adam will motor it over to Sailcraft and that travel-lift will pick her out of the water. The folks at Tryon Yachts will bring her over to our house, and she'll sit for a bit on four boat stands in the yard.
Adam will replace hoses, clear and repair scuppers, put lazy jacks on the mail sail, paint the hull (dark blue) and possibly the deck, putting new non-skid paint  some deck areas. He'll do small repairs and install the new fixed blocks on each side, and care for the woodwork too. I'll keep you posted. But no sailing for us, for about a month, and I'm sad about that. April is gorgeous sailing weather, while the summer is frankly outrageously hot for sailing. However, safety comes first, and Adam had become concerned about a few parts of the boat that were in imminent danger of breaking, which would result in the boat's sinking.
Sunny weather here for the past two days and hopefully through the weekend, before a cold snap hits us again, especially on Tuesday. Have a great weekend, all!


  1. Wow. That was quite a walk! Loved the trawler. Another fun tour around your town --- I had a good time! (smiles!)

  2. Laughed at a vision of the two of you trundling through three blocks with a mast and trying to take a selfie ;-)

  3. Love this!!!! Boats are so fascinating to look at!x

  4. Such beautiful scenery and the boats are fun to look at, too. We have lots of water around here (well...we had more before the drought) but motor boats are king. I grew up visiting my parents lake house on weekends and my grandparents lived on the lake, too. My granddad loved tootling around in his yellow motor boat and I sunbathed (regrettably) on a little pontoon in the middle of a little inlet. I love being around the water...whatever sort available.

  5. This was very interesting, thank you! I'm sure Adam will enjoy working on his boat there at home, and pretty soon, you two will have it back out on the water and have smooth sailing.

    Happy Spring



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