Feb 15, 2012

Just a Ladder Away, Our Island on the Hard

Life is not measured by the breaths you take,
But by the moments that take your breath away.
George Carlin 

Hauling out back end first
Having your boat “on the hard” as they say in the boating world is a different experience.

For one, at night when it is most noticeable, we are used to the sounds of something under us – wavelets, waves, critters, fish, seals, as well as above us – wind, various rustlings, birds, motors, sirens, music if closer to land or other boats, etc. Now, the sounds below are mostly not separable from the normal over the water sounds so it feels like we are back to two dimensions rather than the three we feel we inhabit while in the water.

Myriam Carrillo Arias, lift operator
See how shiny she is!
Name is back on 
Yep - white bottom. Ready for trip back to slip
What perfect water lines.  She is beautiful !
Second, there are no movements. We are usually rocked to sleep even if ever so slightly, or at times a little too much for sleep, but here we are definitely not swayed to sleep. Funny how even the bed mattress feels firmer when there is no movement to accompany us to sleep.

Third, (and we knew this coming to it; knowing something and living it are two different things) we cannot use the facilities on our boat: sinks, both in the galley and in the head, as well as the head (restrooms for non-sailing folks out there). This means many trips up and down a ladder approximately 10 feet in the air with either armloads of dishes to do in a sink somewhere in the yard, baskets of dirty laundries to wash and dry, buckets of water to clean part of the boat, bags-full of groceries to store away, or various items to repair the boat to cart around. All this without actually touching in ANY way the freshly painted boat through its various coats (primer, finish, trim, boot stripe). That’s reasonably easy if you don’t have fear of heights!

Fourth, there are people buzzing around and lights on at all times. At least the workers disappear after work hours. Fewer people are around after hours: usually only the other nuts that stay on their boats while they’re being worked on and they often want to visit and discuss the day’s progresses. The lights stay on for security reasons all night long. We are so accustomed to being where it is very dark and cozy; this is, for me at least, the hardest thing to get used to.

Fifth, the grime from everything going on in the yard: grinding, sanding, cutting, taping, blowing, painting, papering, etc. piles up extremely fast. No matter how careful you are at closing windows, protecting everything with plastic covers, rinsing between assaults; the wind, your shoes, hands and feet, (not to mention the muttly) will still be carrying these intruders everywhere.

Again, we prepared for it and are faring well, the only thing I personally hadn’t planned for are the “ladder’s disappearing acts”. Someone needs it, they take it because it’s conveniently located and they don’t want to take the time to look for another one, or someone needs to work under where the ladder is located and just puts it down. Suddenly it’s the end of day or they go to lunch or they attend to another job in the yard and you are unexpectedly without your escape route. Time to go to the bathroom with no way there! It doesn’t matter if you tie it down; you just have to plan your down-on-the-ground times to allow for these delays – you can’t wait last minute for that potty break or you could be in for a big surprise. We’ve learned to hail people as they pass by and figured out that in a pinch you could call people in the yard on the VHF radio for back up but then that gets broadcasted to everyone on VHF so we try to minimize that.

Back in the water, thinking back on this, we realize what we take for granted is so different depending on the new situations we encounter. Who thought we’d sometimes have a hard time finding a way to get off our own boat while “on the hard”? Something so simple!

But look how pretty Déjàlà is – She looks brand new. New side paint, trim, and boot stripe + the stuff you can’t see: three new through-hulls and packing around the rudder post.

Bob and his team at Total Yacht Works did an amazing job.

PS:  Since we had work done at Total Yacht Works, Bob has left the country....

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