Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

26 April 2017

Back "on the hard" and time to close out our very short sailing season.  I think this was the first year that we really felt like we were cruisers.  We spent most of our nights at anchor, some of them on a mooring ball and none at a marina.  We experienced all types of weather (no snow!!), waves, currents, winds.  We had our moments of concern, discomfort, blissful sailing and gently rocking anchorages. We had mechanical and equipment failures and we gained the confidence that at least so far we could deal with them.

The last part of the trip to the boatyard involved a hand operated lock that makes the transition from the Myakka River at the north end of Charlotte Harbor to a canal that leads to the boatyard.  It is an intriguing little operation that is fraught with "challenges". On our way out in March we went aground right at the lock but wind conditions were better for our return and we had a higher tide so we thought things were going to be better. Mother Nature had something else in mind.  The winds picked up and the current was very energetic.  The turn into the lock is a very short 90 degree angle. It is very difficult to get a straight shot at it and we ended up being blown into the dock with a resulting unpleasant crunching sound.  We finally managed to get straightened out and proceeded through the lock. our desire to get out of there, we forgot to pull the chain one last time to prepare the lock for the boat that followed us.  We tried to back up - didn't work - but fortunately they were able to deal with it tho not happily.  When they passed us in the canal we tried to apologize but they were intent on "waking" us (in a pontoon boat no less) and angrily passed us by at full speed! 

Looking backward in the canal
Looking forward in the canal

We spent two days dockside at the boatyard doing a variety  of chores that require the fresh water of the canal - running the generator, running the outboard out of gas (we took a little tour of the canal just to see what the canals were like), washing the salt off the boat etc.  At haul out time,  thanks to strong winds we had a hard time lining up with the haul out well.  Then there were problems getting the sling from the lift underneath our boat thanks to low water levels due to the lack of rain in this area.  All in all, our boating life would be easier with a shallower draft.

We have been a little more organized about getting projects done while on the hard but again nothing fun to write about.  So here is a visual.

Shredded flag halyard

Preparing to replace line

Putting up secondary SSB antenna

Big "oops" from the lock!  Needs the pro's

Preparing to paint storage behind settee
The before picture

The after picture

Cleaning, waxing, buffing

There are lots of trawlers in the boatyard - seems like many sailors are moving over to the "dark side" as they get older.  They are enjoying the increased room, and increased ease of handling that type of boat.  Not us, not yet.

Trawlers of the "dark side" - our neighbors

The big excitement this week was the delivery of a new travel lift for hauling out and launching boats.  It took one huge semi, two boom trucks and two days of "putting it together".  It looked like a very large set of legos!

Travelift arriving preceeded by two large boom trucks

Almost finished

It is almost time to head back to MN and already I can feel my focus switching to farm projects and summer activities. The transition from water to land is always a bit of a jolt, but we are very lucky to be able to experience both modes of living.

A mandarin peel flower created by Jim


  1. When will Jim post his extensive report about Key Lime Pie(s)?

  2. The Water - Land transition is also hard on your dedicated armchair followers.

    When are you going to start a "Farm Blog"?