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Launch weekend was its usual great success….

May 1, 2013

and the yard is now full of masts being prepped for this weekends stepping  party. Poor old SD is sitting up at the north end of the yard, with a few others that didn’t launch either for one reason or another, so at least she has company.

I  put in 4 hours last Friday working B dock to catch boats coming into their slips, and it was a gorgeous day, if a tad chilly. Finally got some sun after a damp dark and rainy start to April. Friday we use a 250 Ton crane to reach into the yard and pick up the bigger boats. Up, over and kerplunk. As I said, we did that all in 4 hours.

Saturday ( another beautiful day) it was all hands on deck for the majority of the launchings. The smaller crane arrived, and as usual didn’t have the required cables and slings, so we stood round for 2 hours while they played silly buggers trying to rig up something to do, realized it wouldn’t work and finally drove 100km round trip to the shop to get the right stuff. (given we had the same issue last year, you’d think they would get it right this year!) Anyway, they eventually got it together by 9am, and off we went. By this time there were probably still 130 boats to launch but the Machine got into it’s usual stride and functioned flawlessly.

We use two cranes, and 6 float trucks. We have crews on the cranes, both docks, and 2-3 going in the yard getting the boats and cradles onto the floats. The trucks line up nose to tail and as one pulls out the next backs into the crane slot and the crane crew gets the dock lines down, puts the slings under, and up she goes. 60 seconds later she is in the water, and the owner goes aboard to check for leaks before the slings are removed. As the slings are lifted up and swung back for the next boat, the owner starts his engine and heads to his slip. If not, a couple of us walk him farther down the dock and tie him up in the cripple section. He can then either get the engine going or wait for the dinghy crew to come alongside, raft up and take him over to the slip. The unloaded truck scoots forward about 100 feet, and a towmotor picks up the cradle off the hydraulic trailer and drops it in line with the others. A crew there undoes the vertical supports and folds up the cradle for storage, tying the supports down. Pads are put off to the side, and the owners come get them and hump them out to the cars.

We took a 20m break at 10:30, 45m for a decent lunch of pulled pork on a bun, with coleslaw and some taters, along with soft drinks or water. By 13:15 we were at it again, and by 15:30, B crane crew was released, as there were no more boats to be done.

Like I said, a well oiled machine. Organized chaos to someone seeing it for the first time but man o man does it get the job done.

Sunday, ( I took it off, legs were in knots from standing all day), the cradles are stacked on edge and the masts are taken off the racks and laid out on picnic tables, barrels, sawhorses etc, so people can get them ready. On friday we have a sign truck coming and we start putting them up. Again, it’s a well tried system, which we have evolved over the years, and getting a mast in, with fore and aft stays, and the upper shrouds attached usually takes 5-10 on average. While one mast is being put in, there are at least two boats out motoring around the racetrack pattern waiting for the wave in. Those that have no engine still, are again towed in by the dinghy crew and then back to the dock. We finish up on Saturday and then the club is into summer mode.

I’ve been getting things organized and won’t bother doing anything til after the masts are all up. I’ll then have the yard to myself and can do as I please. Sunday I’ll finally take the winter cover down, and do a general clean up. Then its time to get cracking.

One thing, over the last couple of weeks. I’ve finally come to the decision that it’s time for me to pull the plug and retire. I’ve been looking at bank statements, savings, and pension information, and I figure that I can pack it in December 31st, keep the apartment going til the lease ends on the 1st of July and have SD in the water and ready to live aboard by then. Given my health and bank balance, I think they will both run out about the same time. So enough of this working for the man.

Stick a fork in me, I’m done. Time to git.





From → Meat n Taters

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