Just hanging around...
Thursday 8th March 2012
The plan had been to haul the boat on Tuesday once they had launched one that was waiting on the hard to go back in, but it was decided instead that we would wait until Wednesday morning for the wind to die down. So early on Wednesday Tony and his engineer came out to the mooring and came aboard – the engineer to listen to the engine and Tony to guide us into the ‘dredged’ channel and into the haulout slip. The good news was that the engine sounded good in both forward and reverse. The not so good news was that we dredged at least 20 metres of their channel with our keel on the way to the slip – no mean feat when you have an enormous wing sticking out of each side of the keel!
However, we wiggled our way into the slip, and then the fun increased as they tried to slide the sling under the keel that was virtually sitting on the bottom! Eventually they managed to get the slings into place and the boat began to rise from the water. When a couple of feet of antifouled hull was visible above the surface of the water, Frank called a halt to the whole business and asked to speak to the travelhoist driver. There then ensued a lengthy conversation between Frank and the driver, and then Tony was summoned. More discussion between the three, and eventually the driver walked off and Tony came over to explain. Apparently, the usual travelhoist driver was on his day off. The guy driving the travelhoist was the son of one of the owners. He, apparently, had done a course in travelhoist driving BUT he was not insured to drive it!
So that left us in an interesting position – literally! The boat was suspended half in and half out of the water, and it appeared that it couldn’t go anywhere until the following day when the driver would be back at work. Tony had the solution though – he would work on her where she was. He raised her himself just a few more inches (when Frank wasn’t looking!) so that the prop was out of the water, and balancing a ladder precariously across to her, they went on board and set to work.
By now I had chewed my fingernails down to the quick ( I find it hard to watch all 17 tons of Scott-Free hanging in the air) and had been summarily dismissed by Tony from Nychea to have coffee with Jill back at their boat. Between the goings on with the boat and the driers not getting hot in the laundry I was not having a good day! A delicious cappuccino and lengthy chin-wag later, I was chilled enough to go and see what was happening.
The good news was that the prop shaft and cutless bearing are fine and it was just the type of stuffing we had used that was not good. Not a big job to replace it, this time with more dependable packing (fingers crossed!) and within a short time it was done. At the same time the engineer and Steve replaced the gearbox oil (we’re not sure when it was last done!) Then Steve got in a dinghy to replace the anode on the prop and the boat was ready to float again.
Now for the bad news…
Although we did not have a travelhoist driver, marina rules state that boats may not stay in the haulout slip overnight. So Tony planned to put us back in himself. This wasn’t a problem for us as it was just a case of lowering us back into the water rather than driving anywhere. However…the afternoon high tide was not as high as the morning high tide and it appeared we did not have enough water to get out of the slip. Undeterred, Tony started to rig up a series of lines to haul on if we needed it – at which point Frank put in a timely appearance and asked Tony why we didn’t just stay where we were until the morning when we would have more water and less wind! We agreed with this wholeheartedly, and Tony just shrugged his shoulders goodnaturedly and said ‘OK’.
The other bad news was that the driers in the laundry were well and truly NOT working and I had three huge loads of wet washing to dry with no chance of hanging it on a boat that was itself hanging. And, of course, it was starting to rain…
So, the upshot of all of this was that Tony lowered us back into the water and took off the slings (this time they undid the aft one so that it slid out sideways with no problem). I decorated the guard rails with the half-wet washing with little hope of it drying, but mainly to prevent it sitting in a damp, steamy pile till the morning when it would be smelly and need washing all over again!
And then we all decamped to the marina bar for a well-earned beer. It turns out that Tony is the Seven Seas Cruising Association’s local rep, and he invited everyone, SSCA or not, to a party at the marina bar the next evening. It seems it’s the first time they’ve had so many sailboats here (there are half a dozen of us!) and it’s a jolly good reason to celebrate!
At 0730 this morning Tony and his wife Lisa knocked on the hull and asked if we were ready to move. We hastily removed the now very soggy washing from the guardrails, and started to back the boat out. Once again she began to dredge a new path in the so-called ‘channel’, and more or less pivoted around on her keel to get us pointing the right way, and then with a bit of wiggling we got through and within ten minutes we were safely tied alongside in a slip with a very reassuring 20 centimetres of water under the keel.