March 13, 2010
For those of you don’t understand the term “on the hard”, it means that we have hauled DESERT VENTURE out of the water and she is, literally, sitting on the hard – ground. To say she feels like a fish out of the water is a gross understatement – well, that is how I feel when D/V is out of the water.
In general, boats are hauled out for bottom jobs on a regular basis – about every two years – meaning clean the bottom with pressure washing, then sanding any loose paint/barnacles/etc. off the hull, repairing any bare spots where the bottom paint has worn away, and then putting a couple complete new coats of special anti-fouling paint back on the hull. If that is all that needs done then the time on the hard can go fairly quickly – though never fast enough for a live-a-board boater. By the way, you won’t find barnacles on the hull this time because we have been sitting in fresh water a few months. Barnacles can’t live in fresh water and fall off the hull shortly after exposed to fresh water.
There are boat yards that allow live-a-boards to stay on board during the time the boat is on the hard. It is never a fun time, if you do stay aboard. You have no running water. You can cook, but you will need a bucket of water for cleanup or you take the dishes to the boatyard restrooms to do the dishes. Basically, you can sit, work, eat, sleep on board and that is IT! You are totally dependent on the restrooms and showers of the boatyard. Let me say, that in general, boat yard personal facilities are not Holiday Inn quality! With this haul out we are not allowed to stay aboard and so we are spending nights in a hotel. We go to the boat every day because there are important projects that can be done by us, but only when the boat is out of the water. Captain keeps a running work list of “To Do’s” for haul outs.
DESERT VENTURE is no ordinary boat – even if I say so! She has a very unique under body, that tends to cause folks to do a double take when they see her hull and how she sits on the hard. No one, in any of the boat yards we have been, has seen this kind of under body. D/V has twin keels. They are 18 feet long, and do a great job of protecting the propellers. The stem is on the same plane as the keels, so the boat can actually sit level on its own bottom. We always tell the yard manager and bring pictures, because telling does not make them a believer – pictures do. Not only is the under body unique, requiring serious attention to where the straps are placed, but since the boat is all aluminum, and in this instance fully loaded with fuel, she is heavy! She weighed in just under 80,000 pounds this time. In general we try to be mostly empty, doing our haul outs in the fall after our cruising, but this was an unexpected event and we were ready to start our 2010 cruising when this all came about.
Only a person seeing their home hauled out of the water – way-y-y into the sky (a place no boat belongs) understands what I feel when I see my boat being lifted by someone I don’t know and is not experienced in hauling her. Well, no one ever is, because we haven’t been to the same yard twice. Though the travel lift is rated for D/V’s weight, it is just wide enough to accommodate her 16’9” beam at the rails. The yard team exercised great caution and care getting the straps in the right places and then getting her lifted properly. I took a gazillion pictures and practiced relaxation breathing as our baby was brought ashore.
The compelling reason for the haulout was the need for a survey. We hadn’t had the boat surveyed since we got her. Our insurance company is going out of business and a current/recent survey is required by all insurance companies before they will consider covering us. The surveyor spent two and half days crawling from stem to stern, and top to bottom, inspecting everything they could get to and then some! A day and a half of the time was spent doing an ultrasound of the hull. You will see some results from the ultrasound. Everything came out great with the survey and now we await the yard to get to the bottom job.
We hauled out last Tuesday morning, the survey is done, but none of the bottom work. The weather has been very uncooperative. In fact it seems spring came to the PNW in February and winter came back the first week of March! It has been cold and pretty miserable and no work is getting done on the hull. Stay tuned for Part II, when the bottom job is done and we are once again launched back into the water. I don’t know about you – but I can’t wait! So, here we are – At home – On the hard.