In the continuing search for economy and self-reliance, and for cheaper ways to get at the underwater parts
of my boat, I finally screwed up my courage yesterday and Ė dried out my boat against a wall.
Itís not something often done with boats this size, to say the least. They were amazed at the Royal Air Force Yacht Club, who leant me their wall. Theretofore the largest boat which had used the wall was a 45 footer. But it seemed to be suitable according to depth
, width, and so forth, so Ė on I decided to go for it.
The bottom of the drying wall dries 2 meters above chart datum, so that means I need at least 4.3 meters rise of tide without margin for error. The prognosis for yesterday was 4.4 meters. So it was cutting it pretty close, and possible only at the very top of the tide, and getting stuck half way would have been a disaster.
In the event, I got the boat in all right, although I had to perform a davitectomy on the spot under time pressure.
I rousted practically all of the long ropes on board out of the lazarette, and tied off in 12 different ways Ė towards the wall to keep the boat from tipping over sideways, and towards the stern to keep the boat from tipping over forward (God forbid). After the keel
touched down, I hauled the boat towards the quay to give a slight lean towards the wall.
As the water
went down, the boat settled forward alarmingly. Finally stopping at 3.8 degrees. It was pouring rain and so water
pooled in my cockpit
(the drains are aft). But she seemed perfectly stable.
When the water had receded completely, I took the RAF pressure washer and did the bottom. Changed my anodes. Found out to my disappointment that my prop bearings are shot. Also discovered that if you use the pressure washer from too close, it will take all your antifoul right off Ė duh
Then went to have a drink in the lovely bar of the RAF Yacht Club Ė double G&T for 3.50 and a friendly welcome.
When the water came back up, I took all the lines off, and just at the top of the tide, I nosed back out and headed back to my mooring
, arriving about 02:30. The RAF guys invited me to stay until the next tide the next day, but I didnít want to go through the drying out and refloating cycle all over again, especially not while sleeping. Although the boat seemed rock stable, it made me nervous.
Was it worth it? Well, I saved over $300 on a liftout, and I think itís easier on the boat then being craned around. On the other hand, it was a whole day of really hard labor. All those ropes are heavy, and seem to weigh twice as much when sopping wet under the driving rain.
Also, the bow of my boat hangs far beyond the sill and canít be reached, so I couldnít scrub that part (Iíll bring a dinghy
the next time).
But I guess the best part is that it is a traditional, natural way to get at the bottom of your boat. Seamanship and your own honest labor instead of a crane and gang of hired workers. It was somehow satisfying.