Well we made it to Riverbend and we’re now all hauled out. This being a holiday and it being 7:30 PM when we hauled, the owner, Steve, opted to leave us hanging overnight. Tomorrow his guys will pressure wash the bottom and then set us up on blocks somewhere.
And, yes, we are still living on the old girl while in the slings. Can’t even tell the difference other than we don’t move to the wind as much, if at all, and we’re sitting on a 4 degree list to port. Otherwise, it’s just another day at home on the boat.
Looking at the bottom, it looks like the anti-fouling paint we used (the $225/gallon stuff) is doing a really good job. It’s made so that, as you move through the water, a little bit of paint sloughs off, taking with it whatever little creatures were able to handle growing on the high-copper-content paint. We’ve done precious little traveling through the water in the last year since we painted but still, all that’s grown was a slime layer. You can see on the rudder how the wash of water from the prop cleaned it right off.
Should be pretty easy to pressure wash off what’s left. Now, the boot strip (the layer of green paint right above the bottom paint) is another story. It’s just regular topside enamel and it’s got little barnacles, some kind of sea lettuce, and other assorted critters growing. So, when we repaint the bottom, we’ll bring the line up about 2″ above the top of the current boot stripe. Then we’ll paint another boot stripe but this time we’ll use paint that is specifically formulated (supposedly) for that purpose. Unfortunately, this paint only comes in a limited array of colors so our new boot stripe will be black.
Getting underway from the marina was quite stressful. We had a strong NNW wind blowing us into our slip and over towards our slip neighbor on our port (leeward) side. I measured the wind at a pretty steady 11-13 knots with gusts to about 20 knots. If we untied our lines, we would be shoved against our neighbor and our bow would be pressed up against the dock. If we did manage to start backing up without these issues, as soon as we stuck our butt out of the slip, the wind would probably whip us around and smack us in to the stern of our neighbor. What to do?
We finally decided that, since it was Monday afternoon and most of the weekend boats had left, we would be pretty safe to run a warp (noun, basically means a long line which can be used for moving the boat or slowing it down when running before a storm, as opposed to the verb “warp” which means to move the boat around using the warps) across the fairway to the dock opposite and to windward of us. Then we could tie this line off to our stern and, if kept taut, it should keep us from whipping around.
The first problem was getting the line across the fairway. The fairway is about 60′ across. I had made a heaving line with a monkey’s fist end but it was really just for practice and wasn’t very long or very heavy. But we tried it anyway. I tied the end to a small line to use as a messenger and went over to the windward dock to try my hand at heaving. Well, either it was just too far or the monkey’s fist was way too light, or I completely suck at heaving because the closest I got was about 2/3 of the way across. After several tries, I finally switched to plan B which I had just then thought of. I got a plastic, air-filled fender from the boat, tied the messenger to it, heaved it as far as I could (which was at least as far as the heaving line went) and then let the prevailing wind chop float it close enough for Lulu to grab it with a boat hook.
Lulu stationed herself on the windward dock and pulled the warp across with the messenger. The plan was to back across and tie up to the windward dock. Then, when we were ready to leave we could just put her in forward, scoot around the end of the dock, and off we’d go. Sounds pretty easy.
The trouble was that, with Lulu on the other dock, I had the boat to myself. The engine was all warmed up and I was ready to go. Untie the bow line. Oops, the bow is now swinging over to kiss the neighbor. Retie the bow line and untie the forward spring line. Oops again, now the bow is doing the same as above and sticking the bow sprit across the dock at the same time. Okay, let’s see what happens if we just untie the stern line. Well, crap! Now the stern wants to get up close and personal with the neighbor. So I have 3 lines to untie, and the engine to run and I can’t get the engine to hold us on station so that I can untie the lines. OMG, what’s a swabby to do?
Well, like Blanche Dubois, I chose to rely on the kindness of strangers. A fellow dockmate was walking down the dock, saw my plight and offered his services. With him on the bow line, the spring line undone, and me holding the doubled sternline (doubled meaning that it went from my stern cleat, around the cleat on the dock and back to my hand), we were able to motor out of th slip under control. Lulu kept the warp tight and soon I was tied alongside the dock to windward of our slip. This sounds much easier than it was. I went through several gyrations before finally arriving at the plan that worked.
Although our original intent was to start early and get tied up and then wait until it was time to leave to make our haulout appointment, after all this screwing around, it was NOW time to leave. Getting away from the dock would be easier than the previous maneuver but we still needed some line handlers. So Lulu rounded up our friend Jay and his friend James to lend a couple of hands. This time it went pretty smoothly. With Lulu on board, first we let off the stern line. As expected and planned for, this caused our stern to swing to port. But since there was no one there to hit, this just put us in a good position to pull straight ahead. Then, while moving forward slowly, James released the spring line. As we continued to move forward, Jay finessed the bow line to keep us near to, but not against the dock. We basically pivoted around the point and, when the line was released, we were in a perfect position to head down the fairway and out of the marina. Many, many thanks to all three of our helpers. Jay, in particular, seemed to have a firm grasp on what to do.
The trip went pretty uneventfully except for the engine inexplicably losing RPMs every so often. I was always able to just ease off on the throttle for a couple of seconds and then go back to my previous setting. Not sure what that’s about. We, of course, got to Riverbend ahead of schedule so we just took a slow cruise on up the river a couple miles and then doubled back. Got to the yard right on time and slid in to the slings just as pretty as you please, thank you very much.
And now, here we are.