Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Days at the boatyard

We had fun at the boatyard today. Despite the fact that we had all of our plans trashed, we are having a good time. It is easy to be happy when everything goes smoothly. Dragging yourself out of a bad mood can be tough.

We have thrown ourselves into boat projects to re-focus. Junie spent the day compounding spots out of the hull. I painted the speed transducer, switched out some anodes, walked up to the ship's store and polished some stainless. Yes, Junie was far more productive.

Roux was even less productive than me but he had fun. He met up with the resident dog and wandered around the yard. We had to go looking for him again. He had a peanut butter sandwich and Ginger Snaps for lunch, just like us. Eventually, the sun started getting to him.

Right after we ate that lunch we had packed (because, I am told, retirement budgets do not allow for lunches at the seafood restaurant next door every day), the service office manager, Holly, came by and offered us the facility tour she had promised. Metal and Welding shops, Carpentry, Fabrication and Paint room. We got an up-close look at the current project boat - an 84' monster with 5 staterooms and 5 heads. The workmanship is just amazing.

Shortly after we got back to work following that tour, Captain Ted of the Ann Warrick, one of the boats we talked about yesterday, invited us to tour his boat. So off we went for another trip aboard a dazzling boat. These boats are all beyond our (and most people's) wildest dreams. Hand selected wood from single trees to insure matching grain. Engines and electronics that are a wonder to behold. The scale of these boats is just hard to comprehend in comparison to our boat.

SeaClearly is getting slotted into the work rotation and will get new bottom paint. The current bottom paint has been on since March of 2012 and actually looks remarkable except for where the couple of groundings and repeated bumps have scuffed it off. Petit Trinidad Pro Green 1083. I am repacking the stuffing box. We will finish compounding and waxing the hull. Hopefully, we will get back in the water early next week. Where we go from there - remains to be seen.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Haul out!

We are at Bayliss Boatyard in Wanchese for a few days. Here are a couple of pictures from the haul-out process. These guys are really good. There was not one un-smooth motion throughout the lift and blocking process. 
They have been very nice to us and we have had a blast hanging around, hearing the stories, watching the activity and talking with everyone. Had some great seafood next door at O'Neals Seafood Harvest. So, we are trying to make the best of the prescribed insurance inspection.This is a very slick operation. Very professional. Of course, they build custom boats that range up to 80' so we are pretty small in comparison. 
The place is very dog friendly. They have one local dog that has been adopted by the owner. He spends his days in the office and, at the end of the day, the last one to leave drops the dog off at his home down the street. Roux took advantage of the hospitable environment to wander around. We had to go track him down. Found him in the Service office down by the dock getting water from the office water-cooler. 

 Here is a gallery of our neighbors and transients. The big one at the bottom also had a grounding problem. I am sure his bill will be considerably higher than our's.

Home port - Midlothian, VA!

We are surrounded by multi-million dollar, custom built sportfisher boats and yachts. We still like SeaClearly best.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Wanchese (say Juan-Cheese)

Yesterday, we mapped the depth of Colington Harbour channel. We measured the actual draft of SeaClearly as she sat in the slip - stripped down of all excess weight - 5'6". (Interesting process, measuring your draft). We cut notches in our bulkhead as water level indicators - minimum, good, better, best.
Today, we woke up, checked whether the SW wind had blown in enough water, and took off for Wanchese. With winds predicted to be SW at 15 - 20 knots it looked like it should be a good time.

We followed our sounded line out of the channel and still kissed the bottom gently at one spot but managed to exit gracefully. All in all, it was a pretty pleasant sail. 

We had to go under the bridge at Pirate's Cove. The first passage under this bridge was on our maiden voyage bringing SeaClearly home early last year. This time, going the other direction, we found that they have actually provided a height gauge which showed the current level at 65'. At least it gives you some comfort. And we went under with less anxiety than before.

Wanchese Harbor view off the stern
We came out from under the bridge and, I swear, it was like we entered a different world. For the rest of the trip to Wanchese, we had 30-32 knot winds (that's about 35-40 mph) and steep waves that got worse and worse as we got closer. We slid into Wanchese, headed for Bayliss Boatworks with every intention of backing SeaClearly into the slip they had for us. However, inside the harbor, the winds were still 25 knots. The thought of crashing across a line of brand new Bayliss boats was not very appealing. So we put her in bow first, tied her down (no easy process in slips designed for Sportfishing boats), retrieved the Jeep that we left there yesterday and rolled home.

SeaClearly has not spent a night away without us for a long time. We are nervous about leaving her. I hope they take good care of our baby.
SeaClearly spending the night
with the trawlers and Sportfishers

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Weekend Update

Still here. Two reasons. No water (obviously), and insurance. After a 'hard grounding', our insurance company, thankfully, insists on paying for a haul-out to inspect for damage. And, also obviously, sooner and closer is better. If we had any hidden damage to through-hulls, steerage or propulsion, we need to know right away.

Unfortunately, the latest shoaling in our channel, which resulted in our aborted trip, makes it clear that we need more water and less weight to get out of the harbor even to just make it to the boatyard in Wanchese for the haul-out.

So, we have to:

A) raise SeaClearly as much as possible. This is a painful process of un-provisioning and un-preparing everything that was made ready for our cruise. Removing all the groceries and supplies, emptying water tanks and taking off heavy gear. The liferaft, the series drogue, the stern anchor and chain all coming off. In total, about 2000 lbs lighter. Maybe an extra 2 inches above waterline, still drawing about 5' 6".

B) determine how much water there actually is in the channel. We can go over in one of the 'little' boats to take soundings. We have a fancy handheld depth meter. And we have an old-school line with a weight and tape markers every foot.

C) make sure A is less than B

Instead of the Chesapeake, we are going to the boatyard. We like boatyards well enough. We wanted to get bottom paint and do some maintenance ourselves at some point anyway. Not exactly under these circumstances.

The bigger disappointment is the dissolving picture of loading our boat at our own dock and sailing off on adventures. If we fill SeaClearly with all the stuff we need for a cruise and then can't make it out of Colington Harbour, that's a problem. The Association has plans in the works for improvements to the channel. We may have to start making alternative plans of our own.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Plans gone awry

Warning: There are no pictures and no humor in this post.

When we have told people of our plans to retire and go sailing, so many people say 'That is so cool! We are going to live vicariously through you!'. Well, the danger in living vicariously through someone else is that you also have to live through their disappointments.

We had this two-week trip planned to go sailing up to the Chesapeake. We have some other Cabo Rico owners that we are going to meet up near Rock Hall. Everything was ready, packed, provisioned, fueled, watered. I had been working all week on final prep while Junie was on a business trip. I finished tasks that I never thought I would get to in time. I installed a new AIS (even built a little shelf to dress it up),  installed 12 volt outlets in the cockpit. I even got little baskets for our three plants to set on the counter.

We got up early, did all the last minute things, closed up the house and set off.

We made it as far as the outlet from Colington Harbour. If you know us or follow the blog, you know that we have had problems with water levels here before. We were in the middle of the channel, on a high water day, taking the line through the channel that we know is successful and we ran aground. And the wind came up and made it worse, blowing us further onto the shoaling.

We called TowBoatUS. They showed up two hours later. Captain Harry worked for the BoatUS hour that is covered by a 'soft grounding'. He couldn't even budge us. He snapped two tow lines, smashed the teak cap rail on our port stern. At about this point, we went over the initial hour and we get reclassified as a 'hard grounding' - which BoatUS pays nothing for. We are now at the mercy of Captain Harry.

If we were having this conversation in person, I would let you guess how much this ended up costing. And, I bet you would be wrong. $4000. Yes, that's right. Four thousand dollars.

So, let me recap. Our dream exit for our cruise to the Chesapeake? Ruined. Our chance to meet up with our cruising friends, Chip and Tammy, as they cruised past our area on their way north? Ruined. Our boat damaged, if only superficially. A $4000 towing charge - a hit to the cruising budget - one week after I retired. Oh, and Captain Harry followed us back to our slip so he could run our credit card in front of all the neighbors.

So, if you are living the dream of sailing and cruising vicariously? You had a bad day.

But, we are safely back in our slip, nobody is hurt (except for minors cuts and pride), Roux, the wonder dog, displayed his adaptability and best behavior. He moved when we asked him, stayed still when we needed him to, and never complained even though we were in 90 degree heat, bouncing off the bottom. He even came to Junie's rescue when she was distraught over the damage incident.

Maybe, tomorrow, we try again. Sigh...