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  • Writer's pictureDeanna Sansbury

The Big Haul Out - Day 1 & 2

We hauled our boat this week to do some major work before our big trip south this fall.  It’s been over a year since it’s been out of the water and we were excited (and nervous) to see below the waterline now that we actually know what we’re looking at.  We have a pretty aggressive list of things we need to get done, meaning that this is going to be a very long week.

On the agenda:

- replace the thru hulls (all eight of them)

- replace all sanitation and water hoses

- install new automatic bilge pumps in both hulls

- service both saildrives

- scrape bottom to gelcoat; repaint with new barrier & anti-fouling paint

- wax the entire boat

- remove teal pin stripes and apply new grey stripes

- install four underwater lights – two on each hull – off the back of the boat

- try to keep our sanity as we spend the week with a boat that’s in complete disarray

Oh, did I mention that it’s pouring down rain? Yeah…

Because we’re so wide (23′) there wasn’t a yard in Annapolis with a lift big enough to haul us.  Crazy, since there are a ton of boats much bigger than ours in town.  I wonder where all those mega yachts go to be pulled. The closest marina that could take us was Pleasure Cove in Pasadena, MD, about a four hour sail away, just north of the Bay Bridge.  They were ready for us as soon as we got there, and we nervously watched like overprotective parents as the lift slowly brought her out of the water.  I mean, this is our house dangling up in that sling… it was enough to want to make you hold your breath and hide your eyes and pray that the guys buckled those straps correctly.

Doesn’t she look all sexy up in that sling?  God, I can’t wait to see her with the new grey pinstripes. Me-ow!

After she was up, the guys gave her a good wash to get rid of all of the barnacles and other marine growth that have made their home on our bottom.  While we were relieved to see that it looked pretty good with no apparent blistering on the bottom of the hull below the water line.

After the power wash, we were set up on the hard (aka land) in the spot that’ll be our home for the next week.  We were placed on a hill, so it took a bit of time to level us out so we didn’t have to walk up a slope to get to the front of the boat.  It amazes me that a just few blocks of wood and some steel tripods are the only things separating us from the ground.  Trust me when I say that it’s a nerve wracking thing seeing your boat out of the water and on solid ground.

We knew the forecast wasn’t in our favor this week, so as soon as we were set, we encapsulated the boat in heavy plastic so we could work on the bottom despite the rain.  Sorta looks like something Dexter would do, no?

We were set at 3:00 and worked until 9:00 getting prepped for the busy week ahead, trying to get things as situated as we could for living in complete and utter chaos over the next few days.  We’re going to be living on the boat while we do the work, which means that we’ll be in a constant rotation of staying organized and cleaning up after ourselves so we don’t go utterly insane.  We’ll be living a bare bones way of live since we’ll have limited functionality on the boat while the work is being done.  This means limiting how much wattage we use since we’re not plugged into shore power, and everything – lights, outlets, fridge, etc – is running off the batteries that are charged by our solar panels.  Did I mention it’s cloudy and raining?  Also, since all of our thru hulls and hosing is being redone, we’ll have limited water use.  I had to wash our dishes in the marina shower last night.  Seriously.  This sailing thing isn’t always fair winds and following seas.  Especially not this week.

Day 2:

The day started bright and early at 7am with a crew from Matt’s work coming over to begin the bottom work.  We soon discovered that we have FIVE layers of paint we had to scrape off.  Black paint/Yellow primer/Teal paint/Black barrier coat/Grey primer.  Five layers.  Instead of sanding off the previous layer of paint, looks like they just kept on layering it on for the past fifteen years.  I don't know if we 100% needed to do all of this - the paint looked fine and there were no signs of blistering - BUT, we figured this would be the last time it was on land for the foreseeable future, so we went ahead and did the work. I tried to help as best as I could, but I just didn’t have the muscle to last more than a few hours.  I ran out to pick up some supplies late in the day and could barely turn the wheel of the car, my arms ached that bad.  Advil will be my very good friend this week.

Matt and another friend from work, a crazy Aussie named Aaron, went to work removing the sail drives and working on the engines.  That rectangular opening in the engine compartment is where the sail drives went.  Now it’s just another gaping hole in our boat looking down at the ground below.

Matt also removed all eight thru hulls – the openings below the water line that either intake or expel water – so we have a few more open holes along each hull now as well.  I like to think that they provide us with additional ventilation.  

Look how corroded those old fittings are.  Again, they are probably just fine, but years of use in salt water (the previous owners did a lot of snowbirding in the Bahamas & Florida) built up quite a crust and we would feel a thousand times more confident in our boat if we knew all of the thru hulls were new and very tightly adhered. Here’s hoping that we’re able to install the new fillings and seal them properly so that we don’t spring a leak when we go back into the water.  I’m not doubting Matt’s ability at all, but I bet we’ll both be holding our breath and checking them constantly on our way back home.

Remember how I said organization is going to be the key to our sanity this week?  Between all of the tools and  materials, this is what our salon currently looks like.  We had to break out the medical boxes because we’ve already managed to cut ourselves on some rusty metal hose clamps already. It is a disaster.  And all of that rain we’ve had for the past two days?  Our cockpit is now a sandy mud pit that’s being tracked throughout the boat.  I’m trying my best to not freak out.  I really hate chaos.

Day 2 accomplishments:

- removed all thru hulls

- removed sail drives

- scraped the majority of the inner two hulls

- constant reorganizing / cleaning to keep things as much in order as possible

Man, it doesn’t look like much, but what we’ve found with all things boat related, the smallest jobs often take you forever.

Day 3 goals:

- Scrape & Sand the bottom to prepare it for the first layer of barrier paint

- Clean all thru hull openings – scrape the remaining adhesive off to get it down to smooth gelcoat

-Complete the sail drive overhaul; reinstall and get the engines back in order

We’ll see where we actually end up.  Until then…

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