Cruising is a wonderful lifestyle but unfortunately it isn't all beautiful sunsets, tropical paradises & long lazy days, though the procrastinator in me sometimes wishes it was. There is sometimes hard work involved & a huge chunk of this happens when your floating home is in need of that yearly antifoul & spruce up.
If you're anything like me I hate to see my home lifted out of her natural habitat & carted around the boat yard, so I usually head for the nearest cafe or do the laundry while she's being hosed off and settled in the yard. Unfortunately hauling out is a necessary evil. During the last cruising season marine growth was very quick to attach itself to Windflowers rather substantial bottom, meaning before every ocean passage, it was on with the dive gear & down with a scouring pad to ensure we didn't have unwanted stowaways to slow us down.
Haul outs also give you the ability to check props & shafts, skin fittings, zincs as well as ensuing everything below the waterline is in tiptop shape, as well as tackle those little jobs that invariably end up taking a life of their own & we, like every other boat owner , usually have a few. It also offered the opportunity for our Cat 1 inspector to cast an eye over her once again.
We had been having a slight knocking sound from the shaft so that was a top priority but like anything to do with a boat (or maybe it's just Windy) it is not as easy as you think. First we have to get lifted again to drop the rudder, which always takes time and much effort to detach her, and then pulling the shaft after undoing bolts that are never easy to get to let alone undo. Then there is the floor boards that get left up, tools that are essential located and moved from job to job. All this usually means mess, mess & more mess, and I can't blame the captain for all of it because I usually get the mad idea that this is the perfect time to empty cupboards and storage areas of unused, forgotten or out-of date supplies. My rule is if I haven't used it in the past 12 months it probably isn't as essential as I thought it would be. It also helps me with my provisioning list for the coming season as to what we preferred to eat or what we need less of in the future. Add to this all the varnish fumes from those little touch ups inside it can make living aboard rather interesting and challenging. Thankfully we had the opportunity to stay with friends during our haul out so it wasn't really much of a chore.
This year we were also trying something a bit different on the exterior. Instead of painting we decided to vinyl wrap. Cost wise a lot cheaper, less preparation time & less hard stand time. It turned out to be a fascinating process with the team wrapping both sides in about 5 hours, then returning the next day to finish the graphics. Hey Presto: Boat finished just like that! One of the attractions was also the ability to let our imaginations run wild even if we did opt for understated in the end, it was a fun process. It also helped that the weather finally played ball & behaved itself for the days that the wrap went on.
Boatyards are very social places with other boat owners checking out what is going around them. It was not unusual for the local boating fraternity to mosey on by and check out the progress being made and many were quite surprised at the ease and speed of the whole process. Plus it gave us all another opportunity to moan about our abysmal summer.
But for me the best part of being on the hard is when the bottom is freshly painted, the boat is back together and everything is working, you are pulling away from the travel lift satisfied with a job well done even if the body is still complaining and I've still got bits of antifoul in my hair. It makes that cold one with friends out in a beautiful bay somewhere all the more pleasurable.
- © Fairfax NZ News