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  • Writer's pictureDeanna Sansbury

The Big Haul Out - The Finale

Well, folks, that’s a wrap.  I’m sitting here on our boat which is now back home in Annapolis, bobbing gently in the water, all clean and organized, with the AC on full blast.  Life is good!

We were singing a different tune just a short time ago when we were in the final days – hours, really – of our big boat haul.  After ten days of working our asses off, we were completely spent by the time the engines and sail drives were put back together late Sunday night.  Our bodies literally wouldn’t move, even with the help of our trusty friend, Advil.  The boat was a disaster with compartments torn apart, tools strewn everywhere and thanks to another downpour that night, the topside was covered in a layer of mud from our shoes.  What’s that saying – it’s always darkest before the dawn?  Something like that.

Monday was our last full day on the hard, with our boat set to be put back in the water first thing Tuesday morning, and we woke up determined to finish strong.  We wanted give it a good buff & wax, assuming it would be a pretty straight forward task that would give us another quick win.  Boy were we wrong. It took us the WHOLE DAY just to do the two outer hulls.  Another example of 1.) how even the simplest job takes forever, and 2.) we’re really bad at estimating how long it takes us to do stuff.  Noted.

To our credit, this wasn’t just a simple touch up wax.  We have done absolutely zero hull maintenance since we bought her over a year ago, which we’re learning is supposedly something we should be doing at least twice a season.  We had a thick layer of chalky scum to cut through to get the serious results we were hoping for.  So, we spent the next eight hours, wet sanding, compounding, buffing, waxing, and buffing some more. Oh yeah, and at the start of the seventh hour when were were nearly three quarters done the boat, a friendly neighbor came over and told us we were holding the buffing machine wrong.  Too little, too late, man.

The result, despite our incorrect buffing technique, was incredible.  Look at that shine!  We were able to buff out both of the huge black marks – our bed sores, as we affectionately call them – where our fenders rubbed the hull while we were at the dock.  Talk about embarrassing, especially since they were on full display when we’re out on the water.  Everyone could see just how frequently – or in frequently, rather – we got off the dock and out for a sail.  Now, it looks brand spankin’ new.  We used Meguiar’s one step compound and Collinite No. 925 boat wax, which is also recommended for aeronautical use in case anyone wants to put a good shine on their spaceship.

With that last and final task crossed off the list (with a big fat black Sharpie for full effect), we headed up to the restaurant behind us to have some celebratory frozen drinks.  It was 95 degrees and I was sweating so hard, I thought my face was going to melt off.  It was definitely one of those days. It felt great to stand on the deck admiring all of the hard work we’ve done over the past week and a half.  I still can’t believe we pulled all that off.  And the drink felt much better in my hand than a tool/paint roller/buffing machine did too.

Tuesday morning:  Moment of Truth!  Time to put the boat back in the water and see if we had any leaks from those eleven thru hulls we replaced and to finally fire up our newly serviced engines.  They wheeled the massive travelift over to the boat and began to hook her up.  It blows my mind that two slings are the only things keeping our boat from crashing down to the grown below.  I sure hope those guys had their coffee that morning.

Can you tell that Matt was a little nervous?  I think he was mentally preparing for a flood in case the thru hulls sprang a leak.  Aaron was just as nervous, thinking about the engines and sail drives.  Probably wondering where the heck that extra bolt he found lying on the floor went.  ha.

We were put back in and – surprise! – no leaks.  Thru hulls are solid.  I hope so, considering how much 4000 – a marine type of superglue – we sealed them with.  Engines started right up and a quick test of the throttles showed that the sail drives were good to go – forward pushed us forward and reverse sent us backward. We even noticed how much quieter the engines were running.  Satisfied with our assessment, we had them release us from the slings (which they still had set just incase we had to be lifted again), and we set off to Annapolis.  To home.  Finally.  I hope to never ever see that dirt patch we called home for the past 11 days again.

The sail home was great!  It felt so refreshing to be in the water moving again.  We put both sails up and cruised along at a steady 6 knots the entire trip home.  Aaron and his friend, Courtney – who is a girl, but not a girlfriend, mind you – enjoyed the view from the front.  Oh, to be 21 again.

Meanwhile, Matt and I snuggled at the helm happy to be headed home and buzzing with excitement over our trip south in the very near future.  Our 20’s were fun, but our 30’s are shaping up to be even better!

We did a ton of work in a relatively short amount of time, and have a new sense of confidence in our boat.  By tearing nearly every damn bit of it apart and putting it all back together again, we have 100% confidence that she’s well built, solid, and will no doubt provide us with a lovely home as we’re bobbing around in the Caribbean.  

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