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.