Hauling Out:  2008
September 30, 2008

After a couple unfavorable experiences with boatyards in Rockland, I decided to look elsewhere for a new boatyard to handle the mast stepping/unstepping.  This, along with the logistical challenges of having the boat in Buck's Harbor (a significant distance from Rockland by road--about 2 hours), made Rockland an unlikely choice for future launching, hauling, and mast work, despite its convenient and close location to home in Whitefield.

Buck's Harbor is great, but there is a lack of facilities nearby.  During the summer, I contemplated how to proceed, and thought long and hard about various ways to deal with the mast--my least favorite part of boat ownership, frankly, and now the one portion that I was unable to do myself, at least without engineering a suitable mast raising/lowering system that I felt was safe and foolproof.  This is still on my mind and in the mental works, though I've not yet come up with the solution that works for me.

I decided that I preferred to drive my truck and trailer farther over the road in order to make the various logistics of moving the boat from mooring to boatyard, and dealing with multiple vehicles, easier, and eventually I decided to try a nearby boatyard that I'd seen before, Morse Cove Marine (formerly Devereaux Marine), in Castine.  This small yard was only about 14 miles by water from Buck's Harbor, and its land location was on the way and convenient for vehicle drop-off and so forth.  

However, this yard did not have a ramp, meaning I could not use my trailer to haul/launch the boat myself at this location.  Additionally, they performed all mast work on the hard only.  I decided that this all suited me well enough--the yard could haul the boat in their Travelift and unstep the mast, and I'd simply pick her up with the trailer later.  I made arrangements with Ethan Coit to haul the boat on Tuesday, September 30.

I'd hoped to bring the boat around over the weekend before, but the weather was foul the entire time, so I was unable to do so.  So, at 0500 Tuesday morning, along with a friend in a second vehicle, we departed Whitefield and drove to Buck's Harbor, depositing one vehicle at Morse Cove Marine along the way.

Once on the boat, we got underway immediately, once I'd thrown together a quick course for the GPS (always, just in case), and dropped the mooring at 0730.   We motored the 14.3 miles around Cape Rosier and up the beginnings of the Penobscot River to Morse Cove, just east of Cape Jellison.  The sun highlighted some nice fall foliage on Cape Rosier as we went by.

The trip was uneventful; what wind there was was directly from the north, as much on the nose as it could be, and not particularly strong, though it would have been nice if it'd been from the quarter instead.  It was fairly chilly with the sun beneath the clouds, but pleasant when the sun would pop out from time to time. 

We arrived at 1030 and picked up a mooring, and then proceeded to strip the boat of sails, boom, and dodger.  Shortly after 1200, they were ready for us, so I motored the boat into the Travelift slip.  Morse Cove has an old Travelift that lacks many of the adjustments found on newer versions, so they haul boats stern first; I had to release the backstay and install the main halyard off one of the genoa tracks to support the mast, so that the aft crossbar on the Travelift would clear.  (Ethan had informed me of this on the mooring, and we were ready when we came in.)

Haulout was uneventful, just the way it ought to be.


I had thought they might bring the boat up the short hill to the boatyard and block her right away, but clearly they planned to wait on that, perhaps till after we left.   Ethan told me that they would probably unstep the mast later that day, and, after we discussed a few of my preferences for the mast storage and boat blocking for transport, So, with no further reason to hang around, we retrieved the dinghy and headed home, leaving the boat in the lift.

The next morning, Ethan called me to let me know that the mast was done; I planned to head up with the truck on Thursday morning.  Unfortunately, come the day it was raining hard, and looked to continue--particularly downeast--for much of the day.  So I changed my plans to head up on Friday morning instead.

I departed early on Friday, and arrived at the boatyard just after 0800.  My first step was to secure the mast to the deck, which I accomplished with several lines and some padding as needed.  Then, I positioned the trailer and got it under the boat.  I found that the blocking beneath the boat was just a little too high; at the full lift of the airbags, the trailer wouldn't quite lift the boat off the blocking.

To get around this, I lowered the trailer and added some 2X blocking to the tops of the beams, then raised it again.  The tiny air compressor in my truck can't keep up with the air needs, and since I'd exhausted the air tank supply during my earlier attempts to lift the boat, I had to wait for a while for the compressor to refill the tanks enough to continue; while I waited, I prepared straps over the boat for the transport.

Eventually, I had enough air to proceed, and got the boat off the keel blocks--not without some minor persuasion on the forward blocks, though.  I had asked for the keel to be 16" or so above the ground, but it had been blocked significantly higher.  No big deal--just more work for me.

With the boat securely loaded and strapped down, I departed the boatyard at about 1000 and drove to the shop, arriving just after 1130.  It was smooth sailing, though the Castine Road (Rt 175) was bumpy and uneven and slow going.

At the shop, I backed the trailer beneath my gantry crane so that I could remove the mast.


After lunch, I removed all the standing and running rigging from the mast.  This was my first opportunity to inspect the new jumper strut that Journey's End had made up back in May, after they trashed the jumpers while stepping the mast.  I'd known from the beginning (not quite soon enough to have them change it) that they'd installed the new jumper with the little adjusting nut on the wrong side--inside (beneath) the crossmember rather than outside (on top of) it.  This wasn't a big enough problem to worry about during the season, so I left it.

The new strut was made from a solid piece of aluminum, half the length of which they'd turned down on a lathe to fit into the socket.  At the outer end, they'd milled a recess into the tube to accept the threaded stud.   All in all, it was an effective and ingenious repair, done with materials on hand and relatively quickly.  I will get some pictures later.

With the mast stripped of everything except the roller furling headstay, I tied a line around the spreader bases, which I figured were about the balance point (what with the extra weight at the base of the mast from winches, cleats, and the roller furling drum) and lifted it off the boat with a block and tackle on my crane.  It was easy, though the balance point wasn't quite right, and the mast was still butt-heavy.  Still, I had no trouble lowering it to the ground and some waiting sawhorses.


Afterwards, I moved the boat around to the other side of the building, closer to the hose, so that I could powerwash the bottom and be closer when it was time to winterize the engine, which I planned to do over the weekend.  My plan was to get all the winterizing and water-related chores out of the way before I put the boat inside the shop for at least part of a winter's work and upgrades.

Click here to begin the day-by-day log of the 2008 winter refit.


Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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