Out and back in

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Wed 11 Aug 2010 23:02
We took a short dinghy ride to Journey's End Marina which is advertised as a 'full service yard' where we were directed to the Marina Manager for further assistance in our sad plight to get poor Ajaya patched up from it's regrettable meeting with a lump of granite.
Yes, they could undertake the work and quickly get us on our way again. So it was that we were hauled early the following morning (Fri) with quite a few bystanders looking on - funny how word gets out about a 'broken boat'. It was a tight squeeze getting into the travel lift dock, avoiding the metal bars supporting the hoist slings as the boat was slowly lifted out of the water and moved forward to solid ground. Water continued to leak from the wounded keel as the saline contents of our starboard water tank slowly emptied itself. The verdict was encouraging however - not much damage, soon have that fixed with a day's labour and materials being the requirement.  Whilst we were held in slings we took the opportunity to drop the starboard rudder to replace the nylon bushes which had been in place for the life of the boat - some 19 years and were now loose from the thrust of the hydraulic steering ram on that side of the boat. Thirty minutes later with the travel hoist lifting the boat high enough to gain access to the long rudder shaft and the rudder was out. They could have new bearings ready for Monday afternoon - things were looking up.
Looks worse than it is                                                                                                                    ...but does need some TLC
Skip removing the starboard rudder whilst in slings                                                  Our resting place for a few days
As it was Friday afternoon all the marina could do was place a fan in front of the keel to assist the drying out process over the weekend whilst we pumped out the remainder of the water in the tank. That task completed it was out with the cleaning materials to work on the area of the hull that had become stained from the tannin in the water from the east coast rivers. That took much of the weekend but we did have some enjoyable moments as well. We dined out at the Rockland Cafe where 'all you can eat fish & chips' costs just $11.99, the whole meal costing just $35 with drinks. Then on Saturday morning we walked to the Main Street to watch the Maine Lobster Festival Parade featuring Rocky the giant lobster! The procession took two hours to pass us by providing plenty of fun for everybody (separate blog to follow).  Also, just along the road from the marina was Hamilton Discount Chandlery and Gemini Marine Canvas. One took care of some canvas repairs that needed attention - the other held Phil captive for over 2 hours looking for bits and pieces for the boat. One of the best chandleries we have visited on the East Coast. The 'Admiral' also bought new sea boots!
The weekend soon passed with glorious warm dry sunny air assisting with the drying process. Life is never as easy living onboard ashore - we have to place a bucket under the galley outlet to catch the grey water waste from the galley sink. Whilst we do have holding tanks for the aft heads we try and use the facilities ashore when possible. Showers also need to be taken with a fairly limited timescale due to the facilities being housed in the marina offices which shut at 1700. Worst of all is keeping the grit and dirt from the yard off the boat. Especially as we were placed next to the road leading down to the local Coast Guard facility it seemed as though we were camped in the middle lane of a highway. But, the main concern was that matters were in hand to resolve our mishap.
Working beneath the boat had its moments as Phil found out when first the hose pipe taking the grey waste water from the galley sink into the bucket came free very nearly soaking the skipper who was busy cleaning below.  Then the port side automatic bilge pump decided to empty some residual bilge water onto the ground below drenching Phil in the process.
Being conspicuously placed by the roadside we soon had visitations from passers-by curious as to what had happened to us. (We had by now lowered our red ensign to save British pride). However, we seemed to take on the mantle of a confessions box with many tales re-lived of rocks attacking boats and one confessor admitting that he had used a sea buoy as a navigation waypoint on his chart plotter along his route. Whilst distracted he had actually hit the buoy square-on. These waters appear to be home to an awful number of marine misadventures so maybe our encounter with some 'Finest Penobscot Sand' as one boater described the local granite wasn't so bad after all.
Monday morning at 0700 whilst we were still supping our first cup of tea, bemoaning the arrival of a belt of rain crossing the coast, the hull suddenly reverberated to the sound of an electric sander attacking the underside the boat. In fact the whole yard seemed to come alive at 0600, workshop doors flung open, the boat transporter lorry started up and left idling, the travel hoist a constant background noise throughout the day - these people start early and finish early as they have so many post-work activities like fishing or shooting bears.
By 1500 hours that same day the hole was filled, re-glassed, new gelcoat rollered on and antifouling applied. The repair pronounced as completed. The rudder bushes were also ready but just too tight so they were re-machined immediately so the rudder was ready to go back on next morning when we were re-launched. We celebrated with a return visit to the Rockland Cafe for another 'all you can eat' extravaganza. Well, Phil took that unsurprising option whilst the 'Admiral' went upmarket and chose a poor old lobster called 'Shelley' which was forcibly ejected from its comfortable display tank in the middle of the cafe with all its friends waving goodbye before being plunged into a huge pan of boiling hot water, passing them just a few minutes later looking decidedly red and certainly dead. Poor devil! Phil managed just the two large platefuls of the haddock and chips but refused a chocolate pudding desert on health grounds.
Results after grinding back                                                                                           Daylight penetrates our water tank
The hole has to get bigger  ..                                                                     ... before being re-glassed ready for the top coatings
The re-launch didn't quite go as planned as the new rudder bearings being a snug fit meant the boat had to be lowered back down onto the rudder to achieve the final positioning back in the main tube. The yard workers were brilliant in assisting with this issue as Phil was busy inside knocking home the top bearing. In the heat of the moment with the boat suspended in slings you really do wonder why you start these jobs!!
Back in the water we began cleaning the decks and re-provisioning ready to leave Tuesday morning. It was great to be afloat and we can't praise enough the honest efforts of all who helped us at Journey's End Marina. Nothing was too much trouble or effort with a refreshing honestly throughout the workforce that seems hard to find in many areas.
Back towards the water                                                                            Great to be afloat again. four days out and back in!