Boat Maintenance On the Hard

Stones Boatyard & Marina, Nanaimo

Friday, June 01, 2012S.V. CAMBRIA

Cambria coming out of the water.

The first of June is a special day to us.  Not only is it my sister’s birthday (and without her, who would I be?), but it’s the anniversary of the day we moved aboard our first boat together – Sky Walker.  That was eleven years ago.  But more importantly, one-quarter of my life.  I’m not sure where the time went or how do we do it?  Those are questions I ask myself every day.

So.  To celebrate this momentous occasion, what did we decide to do?  Go out for dinner?  Have a day at the spa?  Take in a concert or a play?  No!  Being the consummate romantics, we hauled the boat out of the water.  My absolute least favourite thing in the world to do.  And with good reason.

I’ve already mentioned that boatyards are dirty places.  Climbing up and down a ladder to get aboard isn’t much fun, especially when you’re afraid of heights.  But the real issue, for me, is getting the boat into the slings, out of the water and propped without incident.  Cambria can be a difficult boat to haul-out, or at least she has been in the past.  On a couple of occasions, we’ve had bad experiences where it took hours to get her out.  And worse yet, one time she was lifted on her prop shaft which ended up popping her rear engine mounts, a one thousand dollar repair the yard refused to accept responsibility for.  Worse still, I’ve seen lift operators drop boats (twice!) and have heard horror stories about boats that were knocked over during high winds because they weren’t properly secured.  So it’s fair to say I’m somewhat of a Nervous-Nelly whenever it’s our turn, even though we’ve had good experiences the last two times we came out of the water.

And today was no different.  The staff at Stones is professional and very capable.  They had Cambria in the slings and out of the water in a matter of minutes – perfectly balanced in the straps and weighing in at a lean 30,000 pounds.  If we don’t stop dealing with competent people, I may have to put away my neurosis.  But surely our paths will cross with hacks again, so I’ll just hold on a little longer.

Now the work can begin.  Or can it?  With my anxiety attack over, it was time for David to have his and fret over how he was going to get what’s left of the through-hull out (come to find out, they’re all embedded into the gelcoat or,in other words, literally built into the boat).  Never one to be discouraged by petty details, I assured him we’d figure it out.  But it wasn’t until Ian, the owner and manager, asked him if we had a tool called a Sawzall aboard (the name says it all) that he relaxed a bit.  We don’t.  But the yard does and he’ll lend it to us tomorrow, if need be.  See.  Problem solved. 

And that’s exactly why David hasn’t thrown me overboard (not even once) in the past eleven years, I have complete confidence that everything will work out in the end.  It always has.  And I just know it always will, even when he doesn’t.  That’s our secret.  And why haven’t I thrown David overboard?  That’s easy: I lack the physical strength.

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