Monday, May 15, 2017

Haulout 2017

We haul out Eolian every three years for a new coat of bottom paint.  Our last was in the spring of 2014, just before we moved her to Anacortes, so she was due this spring.

For the almost 20 years we have been responsible for her maintenance, Eolian has been hauled using a Travelift - a huge contraption that lifts the boat out of the water bodily using two enormous straps:

Scary sight!

This has not been an easy task for us.  First, the Travelift at Shilshole was not large enough to haul Eolian unless we backed her into the Travelift slip.  And we had to disconnect the topping lift for the mizzen boom and drop it down.  And even then, the mizzen mast was always very uncomfortably close to the cross beam of the Travelift.  Oh, and the boat yard required that we had no roller furled sails aboard when we were blocked up (apparently one came open in a windstorm years ago and boats got knocked over like dominoes).  So we always had to remove our yankee - not a simple task because it is so large.

Ah, but not this year.  First, in Anacortes, apparently it is the SeaLift which is all the rage, not the Travelift.  The SeaLift is just an enormous, self-propelled boat trailer.  The boat rests on inflatable bunks (8-10 psi) that contact nearly the entire length of the hull - a much gentler loading than the two straps on the Travelift.  As you would expect, the operator backs the SeaLift into the water and you just drive your boat onto it, just as if it was a 16' ski boat.  Unlike a ski boat trailer tho, the SeaLift has the ability to keep your boat level as it comes out of the water, up the ramp, and onto shore.

We didn't even have to take the dinghy off!
This yard did not require removal of our headsail, and we didn't even have to take off the dinghy!

Adding to the weirdness, the actual yard is about a half a block down the street and on the other side.  So Eolian actually took a trip on land, stopping traffic and everything.

Trundlin' down the road...
Sadly however, not all was roses and wine...  Eolian has a couple of depth sounder transducers mounted on fairing blocks on her hull, and I was afraid that the weight of the boat on them could cause damage if they lined up with the inflatable trailer bunks.  This has never been a problem with a Travelift, because the contour of the hull has the straps a long ways out from them.

Uh oh...

Yup, Murphy played his part.  The bunk lined up precisely on the transducer on the port side, as you can see - the uncleaned part of the hull is uncleaned because it was against the bunk when the hull was pressure washed.

It moved.
After things were dried off, it was obvious that the fairing block had moved towards the centerline of the hull.  The missing paint revealed the disturbance.

Long deliberation on my part concluded that the risk of damaging or breaking the transducer while removing it for a rebedding far outweighed the risk of a minor leak if we simply just thoroughly caulked the seam between the fairing block and the hull, and between the fairing block and the transducer (yes, it was cocked slightly in the block).  So digging out all the loose paint and caulking with 5200 was the order of the day.

Blocked up and waiting for the paint crew
While waiting for Eolian's turn with the paint crew, I used a small portable generator, a ladder, and a buffer and buffed out the hull.  It really makes a huge difference!

Wow - that makes it sound like I spent the afternoon buffing.  Not so.  Buffing out Eolian is a more like buffing out your house.  It took me Tuesday thru Saturday, working 6-7 hours a day to get it done.  But she looks like a new boat afterwards!

Fresh paint always looks wonderful
And then on Monday the paint crew finished their touch-ups, and once again we were headed down the street to the launching ramp...

What's wrong with this picture?
Would I use a Sealift again?  With our underbody configuration, I think I'll avoid it.  But the transducer works fine and is not leaking... yet...


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