2007 Haulout

September 19, 2007
For a variety of reasons, it was time to haul the boat:  with travel plans during the last week of September, and then again (for me) for a few days right after Columbus Day weekend, it only made sense to haul the boat now.  I didn't want to leave her unattended in Rockland while we were away, and knew that I'd have little or no chance to go sailing again regardless.  Add in the scheduling issues with Steve Morse, with the busy haulout season already underway, and it was clear that this was the time, unpleasant though this event must always be.

Having determined the basic haulout schedule some time ago, I made arrangements well in advance with Journey's End Marina in Rockland to unstep the mast.  I certainly wasn't going to return to Knight's for this after the less-than-ideal experience in the spring.  Dealing with the mast is by far the worst part of launching and haulout, and is something I dread because of what I view as inappropriate handling of appointments and schedules by boatyards, and the indeterminate quality of the personnel those boatyards.  But with no clear or practicable alternative to working with a boatyard crane for this twice-a-year pain, all I can do each time is hope for the best.  Dealing with unfamiliar boatyards doesn't help:  I missed the consistency and known quantity of the yard I used for years down in Yarmouth.

On the way to the boat in the morning, I placed a call to Journey's End to confirm my appointment, which we had some weeks ago scheduled for 12:30.  Imagine my utter lack of surprise when the very person with whom I'd scheduled the work seemed to have little or no recollection of my appointment.  Why is this always the way?  He said the timing would be OK, but why wasn't the appointment a foregone conclusion?  Why should I even have to confirm the appointment to ensure that there's even a remote chance that the work will occur on the scheduled day?  This sort of poor organization is just incomprehensible to me, yet seems to be par for the course at these boatyards.  Terrible.  I therefore began the day entirely unimpressed, and I hadn't even gotten to the boatyard yet.

Sidebar:  The Hydraulic Trailer

Those of you who follow my other sites may be aware that Steve Morse has built me a hydraulic boat trailer for my business.  While the trailer was essentially complete and fully operational by now--in fact, he used "my" trailer to haul Glissando--a variety of fine-tuning issues and the unavailability of critical paperwork from the State (paperwork that was required as a prerequisite to the release of final payment for the trailer) meant that I had yet to take actual possession of the trailer by haulout time.

Given this, as well as some logistical issues and the fact that, without having had time to practice, I was not ready to attempt this haulout entirely on my own, I ended up hiring Steve to do the haulout as usual.  The trailer is, and has been, a big project, it needs to be 100% complete and 100% right before final delivery, and neither of us saw any particular reason to breathlessly rush the final process.  So there you have it.

The Hydraulic Trailer Project>>>

I arrived at the boat at about 0830; the weather was September-perfect, with light northerly breeze, clear skies, and warm sun after a briskly cold beginning.  It always seems odd that a day like this can begin with a good-looking, well put-together boat and end with a sad, forlorn, dirty, hauled-out thing that seems so utterly out of her element.  (Sorry for the blurry image:  condensate on the camera lens.)

I spent the morning removing sails and extraneous gear and rigging; there was plenty of time, so it was relatively relaxing.  I wrapped and stowed the boom, and removed the roller furling drum from the headstay to make unstepping easier.  I brought a few items ashore to get them out of the way.


At a little before 12, I headed over to attempt to find the crane at Journey's End.  This marina is located on a bewildering array of piers, all of which are covered with sheds and appear identical.  After a couple phone calls to the marina--no one knew anything about where the crane was, or where I should go (give me a break, will you)--and dodging some silly mini-cruise ship thing that managed to be heading exactly to the place where I had positioned myself in an attempt to get out of its way (Rockland is annoyingly busy--I won't miss it), I finally found the right dock.  Rickety floating docks bobbed next to the high piers; the tall buildings on each pier were carpeted with squawking seagulls, since we were directly adjacent to the Rockland Fish Pier.  I tied up and managed to prevent damage to the boat as huge wakes (another excellent Rockland feature) rolled into the wave pool-like slipway.

I don't mean to be  unnecessarily harsh to Rockland.  I just personally prefer a more relaxed, low-key, and less commercial place to moor my boat.  I chose Rockland this year for convenience and availability, but never expected to fall in love, nor did I expect it to be my long-term mooring solution.  The overall experience was generally good, but I found myself becoming increasingly weary of the commercial traffic and its resulting disturbances (wakes). 

A slight digression:  I'm an ardent supporter of working waterfront and the commercial fishing industry in Maine, and in no way suggest that these boats do not have a place in Rockland:  they absolutely do.  I, clearly, do not; I'm the one who's out of place in a commercial port like Rockland, and if I don't care to co-exist with the fishing boats, tourist industry, and ferries, I should leave. I certainly don't expect Rockland to somehow change itself to meet my personal desires.  Indeed.  That's why I'm moving the boat elsewhere next season.  So you'll hear no more whining about Rockland from me.

After a season on the waiting list at Buck's Harbor, I obtained a mooring permit and an existing mooring in late August.  So Glissando will be moored at Buck's next season, and beyond.  Buck's Harbor is a 2-hour car ride from home, but the harbor is so nice that it'll be worth it.  We've spent time at Buck's during all our cruises, and have always enjoyed it.  We're excited to have the boat there next season.

I called the marina back twice to let them know I was there and ready.  There was no way I was leaving the boat unattended in this rocky, wake-filled slip (yes, I know it looks calm and peaceful in the above photo, and it often was...but it often wasn't, too), and I also knew there was no chance I'd find anyone in the confusing array of buildings.  Eventually, over an hour after my supposed appointment, three individuals arrived to unstep the mast.  I'll refrain from personal comments at this time, but let's just say that none of the three exuded professionalism.

They began with one guy up in a man lift; he used the lift to place the sling for the crane, and to remove the masthead instruments and Windex.  Fair enough, but I watched closely to make sure that some wake wasn't going to roll the mast abruptly into the manlift basket.  That would have not pleased me.  It didn't happen, so all was well, but I didn't really like having that heavy basket inches from the mast; it's be all too easy for something to happen. 

But they managed to get the mast down without incident; I just didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling, but the actual unstepping process was fairly fast.  I was extremely happy to be done with it, and after tying the mast to the pulpits I was anxious to get out of the slip, back to fresh air, quiet (away from seagulls), and to finish derigging the boat.

It was a long way to back out of the slipway, but at least here (as compared to Knight's Marine in the spring) there was plenty of room to maneuver, and no particular hazards; that is, no other moored boats, or rocks, or nearby docks.  So backing out was no trouble at all. 

While I'd been at the boatyard, a fairly strong seabreeze had kicked up--no real concern, of course, but just enough to be somewhat nagging as I worked on the boat back on the mooring.  I had hours to go until my haulout (which I knew wouldn't happen before 1700 at the earliest), and I removed all the standing rigging (except for the backstay and jumper stays, which I couldn't reach with the mast overhang forward of the boat), running rigging, and then properly tied the mast down for transport.  After ensuring that the boat was ready for the road, I settled down to wait for the remaining few hours till haulout.  I called Steve at 1500; he returned my call an hour later to say that he was just leaving South Portland, and would be at Rockland around 1800.  I spent the afternoon reading and having a late lunch.

A bit before 1730, I powered over to the public launching ramp at the far end of the harbor.  I brought the dinghy with me, since it seemed the best answer to a couple logistical problems:  returning the dinghy to the dock for later pickup (the dock where I moor is tidal, and I didn't want to try to bring the boat in to tow the dinghy back) and also so that I could retrieve my truck.  I figured I'd just motor the dinghy back once the boat was hauled, and then meet Steve back at the shop.

I arrived at the landing perhaps 5 minutes before Steve arrived:  good timing.  I wasn't sure if he'd be using his own trailer or my new (yet not yet official) trailer, but he had my trailer.  The haulout was uneventful, and once the boat was out I left Steve to strap it down and headed back across the harbor in the dinghy.  This turned out to be a long, long ride, since the dinghy wouldn't quite get on a plane; I sat as far forward as I could, but could barely hold the tiller as it was.  In any event, I made it back just fine, but a little more slowly than I had hoped.  Still, I probably was less than 5 minutes behind Steve when I arrived home.


(Yes, I'll change the hailport by next year.)

By then, it was dark out, and we arranged some vehicles to shine their headlights in the chosen spot.  We blocked the boat, Steve did a minor wiring repair on his truck (long story), and that was that.  (Thanks, Steve, for working late and for coming up.)

The next morning, I took this picture of the boat...looking terrible.  But I had to wait till Friday to powerwash the bottom and clean up the boat, since I had other commitments all day Thursday.

Friday, I cleaned out some of the bulky gear from the interior, and washed the whole boat--bottom, deck, and topsides.  She was a mess, but then boats always look terrible right after being hauled somehow.  After cleaning, she looked more respectable.

Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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