Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Hard on the Hard
Its Hard on the Hard. Last week we hauled our boat to have the bottom painted. Living on land on a boat is not all its cracked up to be: the dirt, climbing a 7 foot ladder to get aboard, needing to use ice to keep the fridge working (since it can’t pump sea water into the cooling system), etc.
The boat yard uses a rail car to which the boat gets tied at its four corners and then propped up using sometimes nothing more than a pile of plywood to support the rest of the boat which is more or less resting on its keels. Divers are sent under the boat to make sure it's all secure. A large cable operated by a massive motor is used to then pull the car from the water onto dry land, or “the Hard”. As odd as this whole mechanism sounds, it was pretty painless, especially as compared to the other option which is to have your boat hoisted up onto a sling. In that case, you worry about the sling breaking and the nightmares that can cause! For us, it got even more exciting when the workers had to hoist the boat up a couple more inches using an hydraulic hoist to paint the bottom of the keels upon which the entire boat was sitting.
The toughest part about living on the hard is that you must get onto your boat via ladder, which sometimes feels like it’s going to topple over. That, and the fact that everything gets filthy from the dirt in the boat yard or your sandy shoes as you get onto the boat from the wobbly ladder. Perhaps it’s much like living through a renovation, although we wouldn’t know as this trip is our home renovation.
Also, you can’t run any water down our drains or it runs the risk that it will ruin the paint before it dries (remember that our drains run straight into the ocean). So, dishes pile up all day long until evening when the paint has dried (5-6 hours ) before they can be washed. Also, as mentioned above, because our refrigeration/freezer runs on a seawater cooling system and even though we have shore power, we have no outside water to cool the fridge. As a result, we need to use ice and our 12 volt cooling plate and also limit the number of times we open it to keep everything cold. By the end of our stay on the hard we were beginning to wonder if the fridge was starting to smell. Fortunately everything stayed fresh.
Because of all of these inconveniences we’ve ended up eating out more than we’d become accustomed to. Also, the other benefit is that we now have a beautiful new paint job. Understand that this is not just for aesthetics. Bottom paint is important to fend off the growth of barnacles and other sea life, which can slow you down as you sail or motor through the water. Generally, you need a new bottom paint every couple of years. Which means another couple of years until we need to go through this exercise again (hopefully)!
-Michael (at the time, in La Paz), now in Mazatlan where we are having more boat maintenance done!