End of Season

Well, where should I begin...

As much as I wanted her in the water, it does not seem it will happen this year. Since resolving the whole engine issue, there was an expectation on my part to have her in within 2 weeks after that. That would have been mid to late August.

I made a short list of all the items that needed to be done to get her in. Engine in, spars varnished, painting, electrical, etc.. The list looked long but I had strong hopes of doing it in the time frame I wanted. The last thing would have been the bottom. Knowing full well that it sitting on a trailer was not the best for her, I wanted to lift her off. Getting her off was going to be a trick in itself. My initial approach would have been to support her keel near her bow and near her stern. I have several hydraulic jacks to inch her up. I was at a loss though at what to do to support her side to side in the middle. Since I wanted to get the trailer out from under her to work on bottom, the stand I would need to come up with would need to be wider than the trailer.

After several days of thinking of this I could not get around the whole wider than trailer stand. Even if I did do it, it would require the dismantling of the trailer to get it out of the way. Another issue that hindered me was an uneven lift and, I was would only be able to get the bow and stern supported, not the center. I would need to get the trailer out of the way first. This was beyond me with all the other things needing to be done.

A new approach was to lift boat and trailer at the same time. Get her up several feet, build a 3 point stand and then drop the trailer out from under her. I would leave the trailer under her but at least she would be off and I could work on bottom. but, although a better idea, the trailer would still be in the way and I would be worried my stand would be sub par to support her. What to do...

I decided to see if I could enlist the help of a local boat yard to help out. They are familiar with wood boats and I thought they would go the extra mile in helping me out. My idea was for them to prep the bottom for me. This would knock it off my list of things to do and I would know the most critical phase would be handled by professionals. After two conversations with them, they (surprisingly) seemed a bit "put off" by my request and required that I do a lot on my side to prep her. Work I was not willing to do and the reason I wanted them to handle it.

Dismayed, I decided to look into another boat yard. Luck would have it that they too, were wood friendly. One visit with the guy put me at tremendous ease. I suspect he picked up desperation in my voice and was more than willing to get her in for me for a price. A sum I was thought was more than reasonable. He said bring over any time and they would get started. With this item off my list, I was a bit more relaxed in handling all the items above the waterline.

Now, if I have not mentioned it yet she is residing at my fathers house since my own yard was not ready to receive her when I purchased her. Dads house is about 20 miles from where I live and work. Not to inconvenient for a daily commute in the evenings to work on so long as I could get at least two hours in on her. Recent events though have made this arrangement precarious at best. Family issues outside my control were going to make it a strong possibility that if I did not more the boat, I could loose her. Don't ask.

So, not only was I dealing with the pressure of getting her in, but I was now living under the hatchet of an unknown deadline to get her off my fathers property so tax man didn't get her. As the days progressed working on her I realized I was rushing it. I was close to a burn out with nearly every day work and falling behind my own schedule. With August closing down, I soon realized that even if I do get her in, I would be putting her in during our hurricane season. This, my friends, is the last thing I need to deal with. Every storm that would crop up in the south Atlantic would send me into a fit of anxiety attacks and obsessive monitoring of storm events. This I did not need.

It was at that time I decided to let it go and say we need to wait till next spring.

Although a huge weight seem to be lifted from my shoulders, new worries now creped in. Getting her moved and to where. It may seem trivial. Sure, Just shop around for a yard willing to take her and hire a mover. No big deal, right? Not in my mind. With the cumulative stress of the engine, family issues and prepping the bottom, My mind was frail and on the edge. The burden of finding a winter home and the transport would prove to be just a difficult to get though (in my mind) as all the previous stress related items.

So, in the midst of working on her as if she was going in the water, i had to search out a yard and a transport. The yard would be the easier of the two. I had two choices. A local yard to where the boat is now and just up the canal from where she would be berthed once in the water or, at a yard in my own town. walking distance from my place of employment. The local yard was the same yard that gave me nothing but grief about prepping the bottom. The one in my own town was the yard willing and egger to get her ready. The choice seem simple enough.

Next was the transport. Knowing we were fast approaching the haul out season, the pressure to get her transported as soon as possible was real. I did not want any delays. I called several local companies and I only got a hold of two. The cost was more than reasonable from both. With these items dealt with, I continued to work on the boat. Still feeling the pressure since I still had the whole family thing hanging over my head.

After several tentative scheduled transport dates, the actual day of moving her was upon me. On September 3rd, I would meet the transport truck at my fathers house to have her picked up and delivered to the boat yard. I am not sure what was going on with me at the time but perhaps It was the culmination of all the pent up frustrations and anxieties thought out the year but I dreaded this day. I knew that it was going to be extremely stressful. And like a charm, panic attacks started up. A panic attack for me feels like all those moments when you think you are going to die wrapped up in a singular moment and thrusted upon you. Cold sweats, racing heart rate, shaking balance. Lasting several minutes. I had 5 of these on moving day with one the night before just for good measure.

The morning of, I did my final preparations to get her ready. Tightened lines and cleaned up and waited for transport. I had some time before the transport guy showed up and I was just getting through my 3rd or 4th panic attack. I decided to call the wife to help me walk though this. She was a great comfort and she reassured me that God would see me though.

The transport guys shows up and she hooks up nice and easy. It helps when you have the right equipment. I pulled out the camera and took several shots. I let Tom (transport) know that I would go ahead of him and let the yard know it was coming. What I was trying to cover was the fact that I could not bear to drive behind my boat traveling 55mph on a highway. The thought of seeing her jump off the trailer and smashing into a thousand wooden shards was a bit to much for me to put myself in a position to see. He did get ahead of me on the onset of the trip and I snapped one picture before passing him.

At the yard, they were receptive and gave me good instructions on where to put her. They would move her in the shed later that day. In the midst of them giving me instructions, my boat arrived. I told Tom where to drop her and he set her down in the yard next to another boat. She looked surprisingly small next to it.

With bill settled and Tom on his way, I left the yard to return later in the day. I thanked to yard crew in a manner akin to them having saved my very life. At that moment, it seemed like it. A short ride to work and I was at my desk. Within an hour I had my last panic attack. Sitting down in a safe place, I did little to fight it and let it rage for as long as it wanted.

I jumped out of work a few minutes early to get a glance at the promised resting place for my boat. I got to the boat yard while they were shutting down for the day. Kevin (yard owner) let me into the shed to snap a couple of pictures. She was placed where she should be. The shed windows face to the canal and she if facing that direction. They will still move her and get her off the trailer. I hope her winter resting place is a similar situation. Close to a window with a view to the canal.

I had a small conversation with Kevin about working on her while in the shed. They do not allow it. Although they do let people do things, liability issues could come into play. I am a bit disappointed but within a day I resolved to not work on her at all but to wait till early spring to get her out of shed and into the yard to do some final prep.

I celebrated by taking the wife to carvel. I had the banana boat.

What is left to do you ask? Well, what NEEDS to be done is to get the engine hooked up. The electrical system is a mess of wires and I will need some help with that. It is not needed to get her in but I do need to get the starter mounted and hooked up to a battery. I know this should work because on the day they pulled her out of the water last December, they had a battery hooked up for the bilge pump and to try and get the engine to turn over. I need to take inventory and mount turnbuckles for rigging. That's it really. I would also like to take the front hatch off and replace her piano hinge with something better. Her teak was varnished also which, due to the natural oils, is coming off and should remain natural. In the yard, I can step the mast before she goes in also.

During the winter and early spring I will be making some wooden cleats to replace the stainless steel ones on her now. I will also be making some wooden blocks to replace some plastic ones used for the main sheet. The main halyard is tied off at the mast and requires that I hoist the sail at the base of the mast. I want to do this from the cockpit. i will be making a turning block at the base of the mast to allow the line to run to the cockpit. Same with the jib line.

It is now Sunday. 3 days since her move. I miss her. The yard is only open from 8am to 5pm weekdays and if I want to see her up close, I would have to leave early from work just to spend a couple of minutes with it. I feel a bit upset about this. Perhaps I should not have put her in the shed. I do have at least a month of decent weather to do additional work. But, I know both her and I need a decent break for once. I need several months just to de-stress and she needs to be in a warm supportive state. Well cared for and looked after. She is a strong boat but is old. I feel like she deserves a good rest from last winters exposure and God only knows what she has been through in the 6 years prior.
Next spring she will be in the water. Wet and swollen. A fair wind on her starboard side with me at the helm. The sun at our back and small chop in the water. I envision glorious days next year. Trips to POW's, Sailors Haven, Watch Hill. If I am bold, I will take her in the inside to Shinnecock and to Shelter island. Do I dare even say Block Island? We will see.