Haulout for the Winter:  2001

October 2, 2001

It may seem early to some of you, but we're actually hauling out after a lot of people around here (and before many others, though).  However, while there are undoubtedly some excellent and beautiful sailing days possible through October, things really wind down--and there can be really lousy, raw weather a lot of the time too.  Our yacht club shuts down by mid-October, and once the launch ends and the floats get pulled out, getting to the boat becomes difficult enough as to make going out kind of a pain.  Also, in our unprotected mooring anchorage, fall storms that can come nearly without warning can take a heavy toll on unprepared boats.  For a few possible nice days, is it worth the risk?  Not for me.  For those of you used to mooring in a marina in a calm, protected cove, the possibility of damage from a storm may seem distant.  However, in the northeast, moorings are the rule, and most of the harbors, while protected from the ocean and the worst of any storm, still can be very nasty in the wind directions usually encountered in fall storms--either southerly or northeasterly.  If not for this very real risk, I'd probably want to stay in for a few more weeks.  We also like to travel in October, and I'd be a nervous wreck trying to leave the boat in the water while we were away.  Sooo...we haul out in early October.  We do go in earlier than most, though, in late April or early May.  Need a very graphic illustration of what can happen--and what I have seen happen locally in the past?  Click here for the sad saga of the Triton Carina, a victim of the October 1990 storm that became famous as "The Perfect Storm".

To prepare for haulout, we first had to remove the sails, dodger, etc. to get ready to pull the mast.  But first, we had one beautiful final sail, then came into the dock and folded the sails and removed some other gear, including the boom.  The next day, I motored into Handy's to get the mast unstepped, which went well and only took 45 minutes or an hour, all told.  I had them lay the mast down on top of the pulpits, as I wanted to bring it home.  Storage for the mast in the yard may be an option in future years, but there are a few things I want to take care of on the mast this season.   Once it was down, I spent some time removing the jumpers and spreaders and tying up all the rigging, and securing the mast very well to the boat.  

With the high doghouse aft, the mast just clears the top of the sea hood when it's laid across.  It's kind of a pain, as the mast is low enough that I can't get the drop boards into the companionway without lifting the mast.  I had to shoulder under the mast to get the three boards in, and shut the companionway slide, before securing the aft end of the mast for good.  When I get the boat home, I'll build some wooden supports for the mast that will raise it up high enough so that I can more easily get in and out; I didn't like the ones I built last spring, and trashed them--too wobbly.  When I go out to motor the boat into the ramp for hauling, I won't even have to go below, so I'll just leave the hatch closed.  Then I can work on a better mast solution later, in the luxury and convenience of my backyard.  Click here to see the supports I built.

I like to make allowances for the possibility of bad weather, so I had scheduled the unstepping to occur late one week, and the launching early the next week--with a day or two in there in case I couldn't get the mast out as scheduled.  All went well, so of course this left us without the use of our boat for a 4-day period.  Fortunately (I guess), it blew very hard all weekend, so we probably wouldn't have gone sailing anyway.  The weather was perfect September, though.  It's kind of amazing how much time gets freed up when going boating isn't even an option!

Sadly, our trusted boat hauler, Richardson's, decided that they needed to concentrate on their core business--they have a large marina/boatyard/sales office on Sebago Lake.  Earlier in the summer, I received a letter from them with the news that they would be ceasing in the business of boat hauling in September.   This left me, and many other loyal customers, to scramble to make other arrangements for the fall haulout.  I contracted Dayton Marine to haul the boat--the other "big" name in boat hauling around here.  There's a third hauler who I won't even mention by name here...but I'll bet anyone local will know who it is.  If not, then consider yourself lucky.

The appointed day arrived--we were scheduled for 10:15 in the morning on the 2nd--and, true to form, I allowed way too much time to get to the boat and motor it in from the mooring to Falmouth Town Landing, so we had to kill about an hour waiting.  No problem, though--it was a gorgeous fall day, with abnormally high temperatures, crisp blue sky, and light winds.  Beautiful!  I docked on the outer floats when I arrived because there were a couple lobster boats on the ramp floats.  When they left after about half an hour, I moved Glissando in to those floats so that we could easily pull the boat onto the trailer with the docklines.

At 10:00 on the dot, Bucky (the driver/owner of Dayton Marine) arrived.  Early--I like that.  We had to move a poor scared woman holding vigil in her husband's duck/fishing boat that they had just launched.  he had gone to part the truck and trailer, and she was left to hang onto the dock.  We carefully pulled the boat around Glissando--I nearly dropped the shoelace-sized dockline (the only line on the boat, apparently).  The poor lady thought she was a goner...but I grabbed the line before it fell overboard and successfully completed the transfer.  Then, we pulled Glissando onto the now-submerged hydraulic trailer, Bucky positioned the pads, and the trailer with its precious cargo (to me, anyway) was pulled out of the water.  The season was officially over.

We drove home and awaited Bucky's arrival.  Before long, the boat was placed back where she had sat for so long and, when the truck was gone, it was eerily reminiscent of the two years during which she sat in nearly the exact same spot while I worked feverishly to restore and rebuild her.  Only this time, there was no plastic shed around her.  Let the withdrawal symptoms begin!

backathome1.JPG (177702 bytes)The boat looked great as I inspected things.  The hull was a little salt stained, and the waterline aft was covered with junk that had been in the water at the town landing during haulout.  A quick washdown took backathomestern.JPG (160075 bytes)care of this, and the hull once again sparkled.  The bottom was extremely clean--only a small amount of slime here and there, and a little growth on the rudderpost and propeller shaft.  There was some water dripping out of the bottom of the false keel, signaling that my last minute patch job had indeed let some water in, as I had thought.  I had Bucky block the boat so that the blocking was entirely beneath the ballast keel, leaving the after portion completely open so that I can effect proper repairs before next season.

To keep junk from the birch trees just behind the boat from landing on the boat, I spread a small tarp over the mast and tied it to the lifelines--just enough to keep tree droppings, which seem to stain everything badly, from landing on the boat.  In the coming few weeks, I'll fashion a real framework for the winter cover, and cover the boat--by the end of the month.  Stay tuned.

Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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