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.
Those of you who follow my
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
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.)
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.