On The Hard

That’s what they call it when a boat is dry-docked.  And our little budget yacht is finally ‘on the hard’.

A couple weeks ago, Monday, Rick and Austin motored the Susurrus up the Napa River to the Napa River Marina.  And great news!  The motor didn’t conk out!  More great news!  There was enough gas in the tank to make it all the way without getting towed!  Until the turn from the Sacramento River into the Napa River they were fighting against the tide and it was extremely slow going…at that point, they were sure it would take 4 hours to get there!  But after the turn they started going with the tide and they flew, if by ‘flew’ you understand that they were going about 3.5 miles an hour – the GPS system gives MPH, too.

I drove up to get them and drive back to Glen Cove for the truck, then home again, home again, jiggity-jig.  The very next day Rick was back on the road because they’d scheduled the haul-out to be at 3pm on Tuesday.  Lots of miles getting put on Rick’s CNG pick-up.  Thank heaven CNG is way less than $3/gal…yeah, it is, really…PLUS he has a carpool sticker!

Now Rick has been up there on Saturday and Monday of the Labor Day weekend!  Sunday we went to San Francisco to watch the America’s Cup Series and the Blue Angels (fantastic, btw, we had a wonderful time – took BART up there, and walked to the America’s Cup Village – well, we did take a pedi-cab for a bit – and saw the Series’ awards ceremony and the Blue Angels, then walked back to Cioppino’s for dinner and took a trolley to the BART station, then homeward with the crowds and crowds of happy people).  It was a perfect day, actually.  The weather was so lovely everyone was in a terrific mood.  There were tons of people but we were always able to find a seat or a viewing spot and the City of San Francisco really knows how to direct crowds and cars and even puts out plenty of Port-a-Potties (which is, frankly, one of my main concerns).

We couldn’t see the race very well, as it was on the other side of a pier.  But we had high enough seats to be able to watch the big sails going back and forth.  And the mass of boats on the water!  Talk about crowded!  It was shore-to-shore with boats of all sizes – tugboats, fireboats, ferries, sailboats big and small, mega-yachts, fishing boats.  A carpet of boats on the water watching the race and waiting for the Angels.

Back to the haul-out…here is a plethora of pictures.  The marina has a long trailer that you push the boat onto and the trailer has a hydraulic lift which raises the boat out of the water.  Then they drive the trailer over to the boat’s storage spot and maneuver it into place – the Susurrus looks dinky between two 50’ boats – set up the supports, chain the supports together for safety (yet still looking very precarious to me) and VOILA!  It’s ‘on the hard’.  Why do sailors have so many goofy names for things?  Ropes are sheets – or lines, just to be even more confusing – the potty is the head, cockpit storage is a lazarette, port is left, starboard is right and such like that.

When the boat was on the trailer they gave it a quick power wash and all the slimy stuff came off, leaving only a growth of mussels along the keel which you can see in the last picture above.

They told Rick that the hull looked pretty good, no big blisters in the fiberglass or visible damage anywhere.  That’s a relief since we didn’t get a survey when we bought our cheapie little project.  Rick was also worried that the propeller might be bent.  Particularly since whoever owned Susurrus before were obviously not that great at taking care of it.  But, its ship-shape (pun thoroughly intended)!

When Rick is working on the boat, picture him standing 4’ in the air on a homemade scaffold consisting of ladders and boards or scraping old caulking from around the windows and various bits of woodwork at least 12’ off the ground – with all the side rails, aka stanchions, removed (!!!).  He’s driving 90 minutes up and back at least 1 day a week, usually Saturday.  Sometimes he’ll be able to spend the night and work on Sunday, too.

He ordered the paint a few days ago.  He figured that he’d buy the cheaper stuff since he’s doing the job himself and he’s never done it before – plus the fact that it’s a dusty environment and won’t be the best of paint jobs from the get-go.  And if you see it, you will exclaim with enthusiasm how beautiful and well-done the paint job is…won’t you…yes, you will…

We are going with deep blue body and a yellow pinstripe, with dark red at the bottom.  We can’t use light blue, psychologically, because that was the color of all boats we rented down in Newport when Rick was in college and, again, when we were getting certified to sail at Spinnaker Sailing in Redwood City.  And we see plain ol’ white boats everywhere so we wanted to do a different color.  The topside will still be white – bright, glaring white.  I’d rather have a dark green hull with a beige top but Rick talked me out of it.  I can’t remember why but it’s his project, so it seems only fair that he gets to choose the color – well, within reason…

Our budget yacht is a lot of work but Rick is happy as a clam and we are both excited to think (hope) that by the time Fleet Week rolls around next year, we will be ON the water watching – and trying to avoid getting run over by the mega-yachts 😉

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