September 7, 2012-Four Days On The Hard
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
We stay in a hotel near the boat yard.
Each morning at seven, as the sun rises into the eastern sky and begins to heat the land, we go to the boat to work. Today Judy stays behind to wash up and I leave the hotel room and walk down the stairs. There is a railing and I swing over it and my feet land on the dirt road which leads through the yard toward Wings.
The sun hits me in the face; the sky is deep blue and the air is still. Later a breeze will come and maybe a rain shower will cool us but at this hour it is hot.
A car speeds by on the highway outside.
I walk down the road, silent boats on stands to my left and to my right. I see no one around any of them yet.
Dust rises from my feet. Some birds are circling, looking for the day’s thermals to start.
As I turn the corner I see at Wings ahead of me, growing closer. It is beautiful to my eye; I love this boat.
Here there is some activity. Someone is moving below the bridge deck of the catamaran, a piece of wood clatters, a coffee cup clinks; a soft voice calls out to another. Not me.
Near the black sloop a man is dragging a stand towards the hull.
If I had a cup I would sip some coffee and gaze at the work ahead of me today, but I don’t.
So I simply gather my tools, and with a small sigh, I start my job.
It’s time for the annual haul out, a hard and dirty job but a fact of life for sailboat owners.
We’ve done it every year for 26 years.
With a few exceptions we’ve always done the whole thing ourselves, sanding the bottom, doing keel repairs if needed (more about that later) masking, and painting, but now we hire some local guys to give us a hand and they do the hard stuff. I guess you could say we have decided that our creaky old bodies are finished with sanding and painting.
But we still do any repairs which are needed, and some usually are, and we always wind up pitching in with the dirty work, so at the day’s end, when we shuffle back to the hotel for a cold beer and a shower, we are ready for a rest.
This time there is little repair work to do. As usual the keel needs some fixing for minor damage which occurred this time when we motored through the mud in San Luis, and there is some fairing which was not really finished last time we hauled in Mauritius. Plus there are a few blisters to pop and fill. But not too much, and we can finish it in three days and relaunch on the forth. While we are at it we can even sand the deck so we can paint that later, back at the dock at Crew’s Inn Marina.
So it is a pretty short haul-out, which amazes most of the other boat owners. Here in Trinidad most boats are in the yard for a big job: they stay out of the water for months.
But we’ve got sailing to do.
Click here to see other photos from our haul out.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Trinidad