The Boat Yard Diaries

The Boat Yard Diaries

After sailing approx. 7000 miles in 10 months it was time to give the old girl some love. After talking to various boat yards in Rhode Island we decided to go to Brewer’s Cove Haven Marina & Yacht Yard in Barrington. When asked about pricing they told us to come over, stay at the marina for free for a week and then we’d surely come to an agreement. We thought that was a good first step, and so we headed there on September 6.

After weeks on moorings it was nice to be back at a dock. We found almost everything and everyone to be very pleasant. On our first morning walk we discovered a dog park about 15 minutes away. Baxter was in heaven.

Details were hammered out to our satisfaction, and we hauled out on Monday, September 15 at 1 pm. We had to go in at high tide since there’s a shallow spot on the way to the travelift.

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By the time we were out of the water, pressure washed and put on the stanchions the day was almost over, but nevertheless I set up a vacuum sander and started sanding the bottom. I don’t know if people who engineer these kinds of tools think that women will never use them anyways and so it doesn’t matter that they weigh 20 pounds and vibrate like hell, but I gave up about 45 minutes and a quarter of one side of the boat in.TJ took over after he and Chris, our project manager, inspected this and that and made a plan for the next day and he uncoupled the engine.

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Tuesday morning Frank showed up to work on removing the port rudder. The poor guy is claustrophobic and had to work in the tight space behind the aft cabin.Every so often he came out, gasping for air, slightly green.

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He was not a happy camper, and not even the fact that I got Dunkin Donuts for everyone could cheer him up.

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At the end of the morning he managed to remove the stubborn thing and was much happier after that. We suspected that the bearing was bad because there was some play in the rudder and when heeled over 20 degrees or more it let some water in.

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Our funny pair of mechanics also started checking out the engine. It needed to be aligned. They determined that the engine mounts were shot and needed to be replaced. We ordered them and Mike and Nate moved on to other things for the day. The boat was a mess. The worst thing about being in the yard!

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TJ finished sanding the boat, which was really a bitch and finally I started to paint the bottom.

Wednesday morning TJ took off early to talk to New England Boatworks and a machine shop in Massachusetts to find out who could manufacture a new rudder bearing for us. New England Boatworks builds high tech carbon fiber sail boats, so he figured they were a good source for trying to identify the bearing that needed replacement. They had no idea since it was a custom made carbon fiber bearing, but they said that it was fine for another trip around the world, just a little worn. So the only real problem with the rudder was the seal at the top of the rudder tube. The machine shop said they could probably make a new bearing (always good to have a spare) but it would take about a month since they were pretty busy. So we decided to just replace the seal and put the old bearing back in the next day.

I finished painting the bottom, using black Hydro Coat paint. I was happy to discover that it came off my skin with nothing but water, but wasn’t quite sure if that was such a good thing for bottom paint… However, since one has to re-apply this eco-friendly shit once a year anyways it probably didn’t matter too much.

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The mechanic twins started to put the new engine mounts in that day. Apparently that was quite the task. They were huffing and puffing and unhappy.

Thursday I ran out of steam.

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I bought donuts for all the boys again. They seemed to really appreciate that. Funny how sugar makes people happy.

TJ installed mounts for our emergency rudder.

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The mechanics were working on the engine most of the day, and in the early afternoon the rudder went back in. That sounds easier than it turned out to be. I watched the show from a little further back, in case they would tip the boat over with the use of a fork lift and the stand on it. It went from 2 guys trying and scratching their heads, to 3 guys trying and scratching their heads, to 4 guys trying and scratching their heads, accomplishing nothing except for pushing TJ into a slight anxiety, all the while Frank was in his tiny space, suffering and probably swearing a lot. Finally TJ intervened, they took the rudder back out (not like it ever got all the way in) and they started filing and sanding the carbon fiber sleeve at the top of the rudder post. I functioned as weight to hold the rudder in place. One of the better jobs that week. Frank the animal determined that I didn’t weigh enough for proper rudder ballast, since I was thrown back and forth when he sanded. Too funny. Finally the rudder slid in without any more protest and it was DONE!

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I also sanded the prop and prop shaft and sprayed it with barnacle barrier coat. It was nasty.

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Right before closing time they put us back in the travelift so we could paint the spots where the stanchions had been and underneath the bulb.

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TJ also mixed some epoxy and faired the bottom of the bulb where we drug it through the mud in various places. It was a bit of an awkward night, hanging in the slings. Every move made the boat slightly swing. Uncomfortable.

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Friday the mechanics worked on the last engine mount and putting it all back together. We just hung out and waited, anxious to get back in the water. They had to reroute one of the sea water hoses right through the middle of the belt because of the way that the engine mounts are installed now. Chris came to find us to see if we were okay with it, seeming somewhat doubtful. We were all for it, let’s get it done! It’s all nicely zip tied in now and safe. Finally we got to go back in the water around 3 pm. I started cleaning the inside, which was extremely filthy, while TJ had to get Mike back down to the boat since the shaft seal was leaking pretty bad. We hung out until around 4 pm, waiting for the tide to come back in, and finally, finally made it back to our slip, home, to silence and cleanliness.

P.S. The dog was more relaxed than anyone this week.

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P.P.S. Today we cleaned out the locker under the bunk in the forward cabin. At some point we got some water in there and it got mildewy. And guess what we found there? 2 brand new rudder bearings!

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What's on your mind?