Lift out - finally!

Wed 7 Jan 2015 05:11

Lochmarin was too big for the travel lift in Opua but we found a solution: she was lifted out in a cradle on rails. 

The cradle trundles out into the sea and we simply motored in between the uprights. 

The cradle coming down the rails out into the deeper water.

Once we were between the uprights a helpful chap in a dinghy paddled out to tighten the supports so we were snug enough to not lean to one side once we started to come out. 

The cradle supports, metal faced with wood. The wheel screws the support in against the side of the boat. Notice the gnawed look of the wood on the closest support, that comes into the story later!

As soon as the supports were in place the cradle was pulled back to shore, along the rails, and as it came up the bank Lochmarin dropped with the water level until she was sitting on her keel on the base of the cradle. It was rather a strange feeling, a bit jerky, and was followed by our bow gradually rising as we came up the slope of the bank. When we’re sailing we are generally heeled to one side or the other. One gets used to living 20 degrees or so off centre, to port or starboard, but although we may pitch a bit with the swell it’s an up…and down, up…and down motion, not a steady up position, so being constantly tilted up felt very peculiar. All went well: the cradle didn’t break and we didn’t fall over, but as she slid down the arms of the cradle some of the rough bits of the wood caught on our cap rail, lifting it right off the side of the boat and splitting the gunwale under it.

The cap rail lifted off the side of the boat.

Ashby’s were very good about it. Within a few hours the yard boatbuilder was checking it out and within a few days the rail was securely back on and the gunwale fixed, so no harm done. However, we’ll look closely at the state of the cradle arms next time we come out on rails!

Our hull showing evidence of the odd close encounter with coral heads and shallow passes during our trip across the Pacific. It’s been a long time since Trinidad.

Rather than live on board on the slope: climbing laboriously up the hill every time we wanted to get from our cabin to the fore cabins or galley, and sliding back down again whilst balancing cups of tea after waking in the morning in a heap at the bottom of the bunk, like when you’re camping on a slope, we decided to take off and enjoy a road trip. For the first time we had decided to pay someone else to scrape and paint on the anti-foul. It’s a horrid job: when you scrape off the old anti-foul you turn blue with the dust, blue eyebrows and hair, blue arms and hands, then you get blue splatters all over you when you roller the new stuff on, and bear in mind the fact that it’s poison we”re talking about here. For some reason, to do with loving fishes and birds or some such, they won’t let you just scrape your own boat here and let the blue dust settle in a cloud over everything. You have to get a sucky hoovery sanding machine and dispose of the hoover bag in a responsible fashion. Likewise, when they pressure wash the boat they don’t just swish the run off into the sea, turning the waters blue around the dock like in Trinidad, they have to collect the run off in big tanks and send it off in road tankers for ‘processing’. All very complicated, and it didn’t take much arm twisting to have us leave it to the experts and run away to discover more of Northland for a few days.

The ‘experts’ at work.

We found simply beautiful forests to stay in. If you’re camping in Northland head for the Dept of Conservation campsites in Puketi Forest or further North at Kai Iwi Lakes and take wonderful walks under the majestic kauri trees whilst the birds squawk and flutter and sing around you…

It’s much more beautiful when you’re actually there...

The kauri trees are awesome. In the true meaning of the word, not the American slang… this one is about 500 years old. Imagine what this tree has seen around it during that time. In fact just imagine that length of time...

So we took some time ashore whilst Lochmarin was fussed and primped and smartened up. Barnacles, try hanging on to us now!