Tag Archives: haulout

The Lookout

The Captain has been working on the hull of the boat at the annual haulout. He’s had to take the boat to a haulout facility several hours’ run from home.

The work is nearly done and I think he’ll soon be home.

Do you think that could be him coming into the bay, Mr Robin?

Well, Admiral Anneli, I can be your lookout. I’ve got a good view here, but I don’t know…. I see a boat, but it could be anybody.

I sure hope it’s him. The lawn needs mowing. I need him to come home.

I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you. Could be anybody. Lots of boats around here.

 

It’s a fishboat, but it’s too far away to tell if it’s the Captain. No … maybe not ….

I’ve got good eyes, but I can’t see that far. I’m not an eagle, you know.

What do you see now? Are you looking around the corner?

Yes … I’m just making sure he finds his way into the harbour.

Can’t be the Captain then. He knows his way, no problem.

Probably not him then. Better get that lawn mower fired up yourself.

So Admiral, when do you think he’ll be home then?

Oh, any time now. Soon….

Harrumpfff! Why don’t you just mow that lawn before it rains? Don’t you know it’s harder for me to find worms when the grass gets too long? My children are depending on me to bring them food.

That’s the last time I’m going to bother worrying about the Captain coming home. I don’t care who cuts the grass as long as it gets done. I need access to those worms.

I only stopped to rest my wings

And not to worry over things.

The railing seemed a perfect place

I stood there tall with style and grace.

A fishing boat was cruising past,

Perhaps the Captain, home at last.

The Admiral needs a helping hand

To cut the grass that’s on their land.

It suits me fine to have him back

As things ’round here are kind of slack.

Let’s hope the next boat in the bay

Will be her Captain home to stay.

For a while….

Uplifting

Another year, another haulout. Earlier this year, you may remember that the Captain put on a new propeller while the boat was on the grid. That means it was sitting on a cement pad near shore. He waited for the tide to go out and let the boat settle on the pad. Then he had to work quickly to exchange the props before the tide came in again. At high tide the boat floated again and he could drive off the grid.

Now, weeks later, it is time to do more serious work on the boat to get the propeller shaft lined up and the propeller balanced and a few other jobs. For this work, the boat needs to be in a shipyard, on dry land, where it can be worked on without the pressure of worrying what the tide is doing.

I’m always fascinated by the way huge boats can be lifted right out of the water and parked in a lot.

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A travel lift drives over this “bay” and its belts will hang in the water.

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In the photo below, you can see the belts that will cradle the boat.

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Here is the travel lift, ready to drive alongside the “bay.” Once it is in place, the boat slides into the slot over top of the belts.

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Then the heavy lifting starts.

newcastle liftout 2015 -1

newcastle liftout 2015

Once the keel clears ground level, the lift drives it over to its place in the parking lot. Braces and beams are put in place to prop up the boat, and then the work begins. Among all the other jobs, the hull is cleaned up. The old sludge is powerwashed off and new anti-fouling paint is slapped on. Long hours of work lie ahead. The boat will be sparkling by the time it leaves the shipyard, but not until the Captain feels his age.

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I used to think the 39-foot troller was a pretty good size, but looking at it beside this pleasure boat, it looks quite small. It’s big enough when you have to do the hull cleaning job though.

What’s a Teredo?

Andrea, in my novel The Wind Weeps, asks the skipper, “What’s a teredo?” as she is about to powerwash his boat’s hull. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a type of saltwater clam several centimers to a meter in length that looks like a worm, hence the name “shipworm.” Teredos are the bane of wooden boats because they love to bore into the wood, and if not controlled, they will eventually destroy the hull. This is one of many reasons fishermen have their boats hauled out of the water once a year to work on the hull.

The boat below hasn’t been hauled out or worked on for a long, long time. How is it still floating?

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Since this photo was taken a long time ago, my guess is that it’s not floating anymore.

In places where the modern conveniences of a shipyard are not available, fishboats were often taken out of the water by placing them, at high tide, over a grid of timbers or a cement slab on which the boat would settle when the tide went out. As soon as the tide ebbed and the hull was exposed, the fisherman worked like fury to get the work done before the tide came back in and the boat  (if it was ready to go and didn’t need another low tide to complete the work) could be floated off the grid and back into deeper water.

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The next fancier way of getting the boat out of the water was with a cradle that the boat floated into at high tide. The cradle of heavy timbers with the boat tied on so it leaned slightly to one side, was then winched out of the water along a set of railroad tracks that went from the beach into the water.

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This is the kind of set-up Andrea was working in when she helped Jim powerwash his boat. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from The Wind Weeps.

Excerpt:

I held the nozzle at the distance he had shown me and began to wash the far side of the hull. Sticky, stinky copper spray flew everywhere. As I glanced down and saw the condition of the coveralls, I realized what Monique had been talking about when she’d told me I’d have to throw away my clothes after doing this job. I concentrated on the planks and cleaned them one by one. I felt all-powerful. Barnacles, mussels, and green slime—gone with one pass of my magic wand.

A long lump was sticking out between two of the planks and I held the nozzle a little closer to get it out. Just a quick zap. Didn’t want to put a hole in the wood. The lump was a bit stubborn so I gave it another quick zap. And another, and another. At last it was starting to come off. God! It was a long one. Must be one of those teredos Jim was talking about. Well, he’d be glad I found it and got it out of there. I blasted it the whole length of the plank until a long piece of it plopped onto the ground. I laid down the wand.

“Jim! Come see this. Get a load of this teredo I found.” Since I had gloves on I didn’t mind picking it up to show him. When he came around to my side, I held it up and he looked shocked, just like I figured he would.

He turned pale and stammered. “Wh-where’d you get that?”

“Right here.” I pointed to the space between two planks.

“Jesus Christ!” he yelled. “Didn’t I tell you not to get that nozzle in there so close?”

“B-b-but I had to get it out of there.” A stab of fear went through me.

“God dammit! You are the stupidest broad I’ve ever met!”

“I don’t understand.” I could feel tears welling up. I blinked hard so they wouldn’t spill, but it was useless.

“This is the caulking between the planks. It stops the water from getting in. Oh, Jeezus!” He threw down his wrench and stomped off in the direction of the shop.

I sat down on the retaining wall and stared at my boots. No, not my boots—Jim’s. My chin quavered as I fought to hold back more tears. I clasped my hands together between my knees and wondered what to do next. Should I get out of these coveralls and go home? No. I wasn’t a quitter. I had really messed up, but I had to make it better or I’d never live it down.

*****

Don’t forget, the e-book of The Wind Weeps is on for $1.00 until May 15. Just click on the book cover image at the side of the page if you’re interested.

But on with the haulouts. It gets much better and more modern now.

At some shipyards they have Travel Lifts that can lift a boat right out of the water and drive it over to a spot on the parking lot. How cool is that!?

newcastle liftout 2015 -1

newcastle liftout 2015

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You see how the bottom of the boat isn’t sitting on the blocks of wood anymore? That tells us that the boat is ready to be put back in the water. Also, the hull has been copper painted (to deter those teredos and barnacles and seaweed from latching on), and the hull above the waterline has been spot primed, ready for painting at the wharf in the days to come. Obviously, the sun hadn’t co-operated for the painting to be completed on the top part of the boat, and the time was spent on the very necessary jobs on the lower parts.

While the boat is “parked” in the lot and is being worked on, the Travel Lift does not stay wrapped around the boat. It has other boats to lift out and put back into the water in the meantime.

Soon the fishboat is all tiddled up and ready to go fishing for the summer. The trip up the coast is absolutely beautiful. (This is also a part of The Wind Weeps.)

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Photo by Ken Johnston

Smile! I think the skipper is taking a picture of you!

Soon the lazy trip north is over and the hard work begins. You can see that he’s into fish because those seagulls only follow if there are fish guts being tossed overboard.

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And then, there’s the competition!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo by Ken Johnston

Copper Painting

Last week I helped my husband copper paint the bottom of our troller. It’s an annual job  that I hate more every year I do it. It’s smelly, messy, sticky, and dirty. The worst thing is that it’s awkward to paint the underbelly of a boat when you don’t have much room to maneuver. You’re crouched down under the boat as it sits on a slab of cement that is still wet from the tide going out, so you don’t get on your knees. Now twist around with the roller full of copper paint and roll the paint onto the hull above you. Don’t let your head brush on the hull. Copper paint isn’t fun to get out of your hair.

This photo shows the boat hauled out of the water onto a parking lot. It’s much easier to work on a boat here than on a slab of cement near the shore.

Newcastle Marina April 14-07e

We didn’t go to the shipyard this year, but used the grid (cement slab) instead. This means waiting for the tide to drop until the boat rests on a slab of cement near the edge of the shore. Once the water level drops enough, we can work on the boat  while the tide is out.  It’s always a bit of a race to finish painting before the tide comes back in.

I’m adding this bit because I’ve been asked about the ending. I was a mess by the end of the day. I felt I hadn’t worked this hard since last year at this time. I moaned and groaned and went to bed early.

It was that kind of situation that my character,  Andrea, had to deal with when she helped Jim work on his boat in my novel, The Wind Weeps.

Excerpt from The Wind Weeps

Jim looked me over and scowled as I approached.

“What?” I asked. “Something wrong?”

“Yeah. I thought you were going to wear your worst clothes.”

“These are them.” I raised my arms up and dropped them limply at my sides.

“You have no idea, do you?”

I felt my face heating up. He shook his head and climbed up the ladder that was tied to the side of the hull. Above me, in the wheelhouse of the Serenity, I heard him moving things around, and moments later he came back down the ladder. “Here.” He tossed me a bundle of clothes.

The coveralls were way too big and I had to roll up the cuffs of the legs and arms. They covered me completely, but the crotch was down by my knees. They made these things to fit giants. Oh well, it wasn’t a fashion show.

Jim looked at me and laughed. He climbed the ladder again. This time he brought a pair of gum boots down from the boat. “You’ll have to put these on,” he said. “Those dainty runners just won’t cut it. We need to work on the bottom as soon as the tide goes out far enough to expose the hull and that often means standing in a bit of water. Anyway, even at dead low tide, it’s mucky down there.”

I was embarrassed to think how unprepared I was. I stuck my feet into the boots and put the runners on the cement retaining wall beside the boat. The boots were huge. I clomped around in them struggling to lift them with each step, hampered always by the low crotch of the coveralls. I felt hobbled. I took a deep breath to renew my determination. “So what would you like me to do first?”

“You can do the power washing of the hull. Have you used a power washer before?” At my shake of the head, Jim sighed. “No, of course not.”

He went up to the shop at the top of the beach and got a coil of hose. He tossed it over towards me.

“Go attach the end of the hose to that tap over there.” He dragged the power washer to the side of the boat, attached the other end of the hose to it, and set the machine on the retaining wall.

“Turn on the tap,” he said. “Now watch carefully.” He started the gas engine on the power washer and showed me how to run the wand back and forth to clean the boat.

“Okay, I think I’ve got it,” I reached for the wand. “It looks pretty simple.”

But Jim didn’t hand it over. He picked up a block of wood. “Watch.” He held the nozzle of the wand a couple of inches from the wood and squeezed the trigger to start the spray. Seconds later he stopped. “Now, see that?”

I nodded and tried to remember to keep my mouth closed. “Wow! It sure chewed a hole in that wood.”

“That is what I do NOT want happening to my boat.”

“For sure. I’ll be really careful.”

“Stay a good distance away from the wood and don’t stop and spray one spot for too long.”

“Got it.” I reached for the wand again, but Jim pulled it away out of my reach.

“And another thing. Don’t ever forget that the pressure in that spray is strong enough to chew up your toes right through your boots if you’re careless about where you point the nozzle. Think of it as a loaded gun. And don’t ever point it at a person—or yourself.”

I gulped and finally took the wand from him. I’d come to help and it seemed all I was doing was making more work and worry for Jim.

The power washing turned out to be fun though. I loved the way the gunk flew off the hull with the powerful water spray, leaving the wood so clean. Green sludge and hairy seaweed were forced to loosen their grip on the wooden planks. I got all the higher parts done first, and as the tide ebbed, I was able to crawl under the boat’s big belly where a few barnacles clung stubbornly to the underneath parts. I stepped back to admire the clean surface from bow to stern. The rusty burgundy of the previous year’s copper paint had soaked right into the wood.

“It hardly seems to need painting,” I said. “It looks so pretty the way it is.”

Jim crawled out from the cramped space where he was working near the bottom of the hull on the other side. “It’s cleaner now, but without a new coat of anti-fouling paint, it would be covered in weeds and barnacles in no time. Can’t afford to have any teredos latch on and start digging into the wood.”

“What’s a teredo?”

“It’s actually a kind of clam but looks more like a worm. They call them shipworms. If they get into the wood, it’s bad. Like getting termites in a house.”

“Oh, no wonder you have to do this copper painting then.” Now it was starting to make sense to me.

Jim nodded. “I’ve got the zincs replaced on the far side. I’ll trade you sides.”

“Yeah, okay. Why do you have to put zincs on?” I know I sounded like a complete idiot, but I wouldn’t learn if I didn’t ask.

“Electrolysis would eat away the metal parts of the boat, like the propeller, the rudder, and the nails that hold the boat together. I put zinc bars on for it to eat instead.” My face must have had a blank look as I tried to understand what he was talking about.  He waved me off. “Never mind. Too complicated to explain. Trust me. They’re needed.”

I made a mental note to look up electrolysis. “Wow! You sure have to know a lot of stuff to run a boat. I used to think you just had to get aboard and steer.”

“Yeah, I can see how you’d think that.” He shook his head as if he was barely able to tolerate having me around.

“Guess I left myself open for that one. But you know, we have things back East that maybe you don’t know everything about.”

“I’m sure,” he said, rolling his eyes and turning away.

I picked up the power washer wand to get back to work. I could see Jim was running out of patience with all my questions. Way to go, Andrea. You’re too stupid for words. I would just have to show him I could do a good job and impress him that way.

I held the nozzle at the distance he had shown me and began to wash the far side of the hull. Sticky, stinky copper spray flew everywhere. As I glanced down and saw the condition of the coveralls, I realized what Monique was talking about when she told me I’d have to throw away my clothes after doing this job. I concentrated on the planks and cleaned them one by one. I felt all-powerful. Barnacles, mussels, and green slime—gone with one pass of my magic wand.

A long lump was sticking out between two of the planks, so I held the nozzle a little closer to get it out. Just a quick zap. The lump was a bit stubborn so I gave it another quick zap. And another, and another. At last it was starting to come off. God! It was a long one. Must be one of those teredos Jim was talking about. Well, he’d be glad I found it and got it out of there. I blasted it the whole length of the plank until a long piece of it plopped onto the ground. I laid down the wand.

“Jim! Come see this. Get a load of this teredo I found.” Since I had gloves on I didn’t mind picking it up to show him. When he came around to my side, I held it up and he looked shocked, just like I figured he would.

He turned pale and stammered. “Wh-where’d you get that?”

“Right here.” I pointed to the space between two planks.

“Jesus Christ!” he yelled. “Didn’t I tell you not to get that nozzle in there so close?”

“B-b-but I had to get it out of there.” A stab of fear went through me.

“God dammit! You are the stupidest broad I’ve ever met!”

“I don’t understand.” I could feel tears welling up. I blinked hard so they wouldn’t spill, but it was useless.

“This is the caulking between the planks. It stops the water from getting in. Oh, Jeezus!” He threw down his wrench and stomped off in the direction of the shop.

I sat down on the retaining wall and stared at my boots. No, not my boots—Jim’s. My chin quavered as I fought to hold back more tears. I clasped my hands together between my knees and wondered what to do next. Should I get out of these coveralls and go home? No. I wasn’t a quitter. I had really messed up, but I had to make it better or I’d never live it down.

For more of the story, read The Wind Weeps.

The Wind Weeps [1]

You can find The Wind Weeps on amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, and smashwords.com