Our boat is sinking. Slowly. But surely. Only the bilge pump is keeping old Wasabi afloat and 12 volt bilge pumps are the least dependable piece of a small boat. We could be doomed.
Probably not, though. The leak is slow. Less than a cocktail drinking straw. But, of course, it is relentless. I have to address it.
It’s not easy.
The first issue is not the boat, it’s where to haul it out. I need to haul it out where I can work on it and our recent tidal grid gets wet every tide change. So, my window of opportunity on the go-to, paint-the-bottom grid is too short for the fibre-glassing I need to do.
I have been meaning to re-build the old haul-out I used for ‘winter boat storage’ – a few logs laid out at an angle that allowed me to drag the boat up to a dry part of the beach. But that is not a good long term plan (the last ten years notwithstanding).
When the logs are used, they remain partly in the water and, if there is a rough sea (as there always is in winter) then the logs get moved around a bit and the boat is sitting on them….and, well,….two years ago the logs moved enough that the boat and the logs were imperiled. As it was, the logs collapsed off their rock pedestals and fell a foot or so. The boat was fine and I put it back in the water easily enough but my faith in jerry-rigged log ramps was eroded. I am planning on a proper deck next time.
And therein lies the problem. Building a skookum haul-out deck in the early days of spring, at an awkward distance from my tool shop and doing so while the boat it is intended for is sinking, puts a bit of pressure into the equation. Plus the specs for a haul-out capable of taking a boat weighing a ton are not light. I have to work with cement and 6×6 treated beams and use heavy steel fastenings and such. This is NOT a one-day chore.
Logic says it will take me a week of good weather.
Logic also says, “there is unlikely to be a week of good weather.”
So, it may take three weeks of sporadic weather.
Murphy says, “You are forgetting about me!”
I will need a generator down there for the tools. So, when our latest guests were here last week, I dragged out the old, neglected, heavy-duty genset that had not been started for two years and was full of stale gas and started the ‘boat haul-out’ chore by first trying to get the genset started. After a bit of cleaning and fiddling, that work was rewarded and we had a good running genset to drag down a cliff.
The best way to do that was to use the high-line that I use for hauling logs up. But that had broken just before Arizona so job #2 was getting that puppy up and working so that the genset could be lowered to the beach. But Trev and I got that done, too. So, we can now get crap up and down the hill.
Which is good. Because cement is heavy crap. And I need to get wheelbarrows and Reddi-mix bags and rock drills and heavy steel down there, too. That’s 120 feet at a 35 degree angle.
And, once again, a lesson is hammered home. Getting prepared and in position to do a job is just as much work as actually doing the damn job, especially if you factor in the after-job clean-up and tool return.
Now, if it would only stop raining…..
Prescient epilogue: the boat sank! Fortunately, it was noticed by a passing friend while doing so and it only plunged in neck deep. Two thirds of the engine was covered and that meant water in it. That’s bad. But we are blessed. J, another friend and neighbour, is a marine mechanic. He came to the rescue. Did all the right things and quickly, too. Quick is essential when dealing with salt water. Once that was done, Sal and I dragged ol’ Wasabi up the aforementioned broken logs from yesteryear. That was a huge job. Took us til 8:00 pm to get that done.
Today we moved repair materials down to the bech. Assessed the damage. It will take me a few days to do the work but it is not a hard job except for the fact that I have to squeeze between two logs to get to the bottom of the boat. Worst part: I am rounder than the logs. That’s gonna be tight – already was. That’s how the assessment was done. Doubly worse: the logs are lying over small trickle stream so, when Sal had the first look, she was half in the water doing so. I managed to put some planks in and avoided much of that but doing the actual job will be wet work.
Will it be a good job? No. Too hard to do it right. I really need the boat higher and drier than I can manage on the beach. But it should be good enough to get the new haul-out deck built and then…well, we’ll see.
I have another boat with a better hull but a rotten floor that I was gonna rebuild to replace ol’ Wasabi. I’ll likely stick with that plan.
Lesson: no lesson. Not really. Should have listened to Murphy, maybe? He’s gonna get ya…one way or another…and he did. Moved the plan up two weeks or so, the bastard. Timing is everything.
A bit of a tough row alright. Maybe some sikaflex sealant applied topside would provide some relief for the bilgepump? It’s great stuff, applys to wet surfaces….
Well , Murphy dropped by. Boat sank. Battery drained and bilge pump quit. Down went the boat. Engine half submerged. Passerby-friend told Sal. They ran to bail. When the boat was back up, Sal went for another friend. I fixed the electrics. Friend arrives and flushes engine. It starts. It runs. He leaves. Sal and I go to wrecked log ramp, tie ropes, jig solutions, work like pigs, haul boat to the dry. Precarious but dry. Got indoors at 8:00. Next three days…. dealing with leak, Murphy, weather and an accelerated repair plan. It never rains but it pours.
LOL, and some followers are chomping for your next blog post, would be a treat to see some pics of the highline in action.
OK. Highline pics it is.
Adhears to wet surfaces…
I know, this rain, it has stolen all my momentum. It’s been a week now since I’ve touched a tool. Maybe ok though, as my body was begging for a rest. All jobs require a fair amount of ‘pre-preparation’ don’t they! Rarely does one walk empty handed, if you do, you’ve forgotten something…!
My season is actually coming to a close here for the coast. Time to head out on a new journey to The Yukon. Days (and nights) of sunshine await. But what a productive winter, weather uncooperating. The projects will never be done, but I sure did cross off a few pages worth of serious construction. The Alaskan saw mill, winches, wheelbarrow and work boots sure got a good what-for!
It looks like I might have to get ask you to send me up a couple of copy’s of your books to me, although I would rather hold out to receive them in person. Let’s see how that could happen…
It’ll happen. One way or another. Promise.
Wow!. That must have been a heckofa big cocktail straw. LOL
Yeah…something happened….what was slow, became fast. Danger presented. Panic and action ensued. Heroic visions but, in reality it was just the work of dealing with Murphy. So, now it is grinders, heat and f’glass. But first…find the damn straw.
You often remind me that living on the water makes life a lot easier in some ways. I do have to climb three flights of stairs to get to the upper garden and compost pile, but that’s not a daily chore. John has a muddy beach at the back of his large bay (right across from us) that we used as a haul out spot when Wayne’s boat that was remodeled into a writers retreat sprung a leak. We winched in out of the water and then used snags to winch it out again. Not fancy but it worked to fiberglass the leady hole. – Margy
You mean living on a fresh-water lake that remains mostly at one level for a long time…? Versus a constantly changing sea-level tide? And I agree. A lake level water is easier to build a ramp for. The counter thought is that the high tide can do the heavy lifting. The only problem with that is that the high tide varies with the seasons and even daily. It is NEVER at the level you want it to be WHEN you want it to be. So, that does make lake level better and seal levels harder. Our biggest annoyance is that low, low tide is always late afternoon in the summer making the ‘end of the shopping day’ extra hard with severely sloping ramps and a lot of exposed, slimy beach to deal with. Last night the tide almost cooperated being high-ish around 6:00 when we were needing it to be high. The downside was that it was higher in the early, early morning and so we had to gamble on how high to haul it. And the damn cycle repeats all this next week getting higher each early tide. So, I am going to have to haul it higher today to anticipate the next week.
Just got back to town. Glad to see you are back online. I like the additional pictures to the post. I like seeing your OTG solutions like the highline to get things up and down the cliff. – Margy
The Highline is our woodpile highway. Logs come up. Also used when things are too heavy – we carry the heavy thing in the boat, wait for high tide, float the boat under the line and then use a block and taykle system to lift it to the line out of the boat. The boat moves away and the winch hauls it up the line. Max weight about 500 pounds. The funicular will haul over 1000 but we have to load it. When we had batteries, I could load each 150 pounder, one at a time. So we used the funicular. Had it been one pound heavier, I would have used the Highline. Each lift on different sides of the peninsula. The funicular can be used anything. The Highline requires at least a ten foot tide. The funicular is the workhorse.
Boats never choose to sink on quiet warm August afternoons…. you will deserve your celebratory Scotch this week….
I confess to having a conciliatory scotch already. I may even indulge in a sympathy scotch later on. Then there is the nostalgic scotch when it is all done and working for awhile…and the empathy scotch when it happens to a neighbour….or the Murphy-labelled scotch if I have to do it all over again. This may turn out to be a multi-scotch issue.