QT's BOAT PAGE
"Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to haul Tartan out of the water... Brave the stench of dying mussels, face endless hours of scraping, sanding and painting while alienating as MANY friends as possible... Try to keep the total expenses below $1,000.00, and - when it's all done - have the boat look JUST as crappy as it did BEFORE the haul-out!"
Spoken like a true masochist!
Let me tell you about the GLAMORS of owning a boat! You see, Tartan was a bit of a bargain... A sadly neglected boat who had fallen into a state of disrepair. But the thing about Bargain Boats is - they always cost ya!!!
Tartan had some problems. Thankfully, I do have friends of the mechanical persuasion who were able to help with diagnosis. Most of my issues seemed to be related to a little overheating problem I had. The overheating came from the fact that the raw-water cooling system appeared to be compromised - as evidenced by the teensy trickle of water coming out of the exhaust, even at open throttle (and the steadily rising exhaust temperature, even at idle). Basically, whenever I'd take the boat out for more than 10 minutes, the gearbox would overheat and I'd lose my reverse gear (no reverse=no brakes!). The BoatGuru, in his attempt to investigate the raw-water system, managed to break the Gate valve on the thru-hull ("GATE VALVE??? Who the hell puts a GATE VALVE on a thru-hull?!!"). And, since it was a gate valve, we had no way of knowing if it was broken in an OPEN or CLOSED position. This succinctly ended our investigation into the overheating problem...
(The BoatGuru, incidentally, has a knack for finding those things that are "about to break" and expedites the process. But that's okay, 'cause he fixes 'em too!)
Anyhow, since the thru-hull was suspect, the recommended treatment was a haul-out. I'm not sure, but I think I would have rather heard that I needed to schedule a root canal. "Haul out?! But... But... THAT's WORK!!!" I cried. "Well..." the BoatGuru sighed "It's a boat!"
I fretted and whined for weeks, fearing the worst. I listened to others' warnings about the perils of blisters on fiberglass hulls, and HOW LONG did you say it's been since the boat was hauled? "Uhhh... I dunno. I'm guessing at least 5 years." "Five years?!! OhmyGAWD!!!" And on... And on... And on...
I mustered the courage to scrape up my Life Savings and let my fingers do the walkin'... Bottom Jobs (Haul, power-wash, bottom prep and paint) were running approximately $1,000.00 at the local yards. Unfortunately, that was ALL the cash I had - and that would mean that I wouldn't have anything left over for THE BIG UNKNOWN: Whatever repairs were deemed necessary after the boat was out of the water...
When that didn't work, I fell back on the old Stand-by: "FREE BEER!!!"
So it was that Tartan's haul-out was scheduled. During the pre-flight check-out, we discovered all KINDS of fun stuff. Like no fluid in the hydraulic steering system on the flybridge (Gee, no wonder I couldn't get it docked without careening off of Solitaire first!). Then there was the fwd/reverse cable on the morse control that snapped - AGAIN! Naturally, it was AFTER the local chandlery closed!
I'm getting REALLY good at replacing that cable!
Two hours later, we pulled up to the dock and made the necessary arrangements to have the boat hauled. Pete and the Guru jumped in the car, I boarded the Tuna Taxi and we made it home in 13 minutes - JUST as Pete and the Guru were pulling up!
I grabbed my camera, gulped two cups of coffee and headed back to the yard. Alone...
Oh, and for what it's worth, cheapie paper respirator things are NOT very effective at filtering out toxic dust. I breathed more than my share of carcinogens that week (made my cigarettes taste funny)!
My advice: Invest in a REAL respirator!
I have determined that wet-sanding is some sort of "Rite of Passage" for new boat owners. You're expected to endure it *once,* if you're to be respected by your fellow mariners..
Okay, I've done it already! Are you all SATISFIED?!!. Next time, I'm PAYING someone to do it!
I figure, the boat's taken 30 years to develop teeny blisters, it'll take at least another 10 before they even begin to pose a theat...
Well, my exhaust system was pretty much baked by the time we hauled out - all brittle and crumbly. The hose, literally, shattered when we tossed it overboard...
We ended up having it welded for $50.00.
"Okay" I sighed "What's the Good News?"
"I pulled your thru-hulls and they're fine."
"Ummm... Okay," I cringed "What's the Bad News?"
"I pulled your through-hulls and they're fine."
Men can be so infuriating sometimes! "So what does this mean?!"
"It means I haven't found your overheating problem yet. Can you fetch me a beer?"
I fetched the requisite beer. The Guru, thus sated, returned to his post in the engine room and proceeded to disassemble my raw water cooling system...
Kind of a cool idea, actually. He laid the gasket material on the end of the pipe, then tapped it gently with a hammer in order to cut it to the exact size.
But then, I'm easily impressed these days!
He spent hours in the engine room, looking for potential trouble-spots and fixing everything as inexpensively as possible.
What a Good Guy! :-D (Yes, as a matter of fact I am sucking up blatantly here!)
Notice I am wearing shorts and a tee shirt. I can now *personally* attest to the resilience (and toxicity) of marine bottom paint... I was scrubbing paint off of various parts of me for TWO MONTHS after the haul-out. Plus I had some really *nasty* rashes! I don't even want to think about the toxins I probably absorbed in that time...
I have no idea why peeling off masking tape is so gratifying, but the bottom paint sure does look good! It seems almost a shame to stick it underwater after doing such a lovely job!
There were still quite a few barnacles on the hull after the power wash as well...
Replaced all the zincs...
It's lookin' good!
Pete found a *lovely* hole in it (thankfully, the hole *didn't* penetrate the hull - Eek!)
Pete offered to fix it for me.
Solution: A big wad of epoxy putty... It hardened quicky and seemed to do the trick
Gotta love that Marine-Tex!!!
Power-washing has it's limitations and the keel cooler needed to be cleaned up by hand
Several hours of scraping, scrubbing, grinding (and a fresh coat of bottom paint) later...
It looks pretty darned good, if I do say so myself!! ;-)
He is all cleaned up, painted, fixed, and just itchin' to be launched!
(I *wish* the boat looked this good up close!!)
Run over to the office and write a BIG check to the boatyard...
...and Tartan's up in the Travelift...
Headin' back to the bay...
(I was sooo nervous at this point, I was nauseous!)
Actually, the Guru left us quite an extensive checklist of things to review. The most important being: "Check those thru-hulls and DON'T take off 'till you know they don't leak!"
So Tartan was gently lowered into the water while Pete and I scrambled around... We opened the thru-hulls one at a time and held our breath, praying they would hold (I prayed doubly hard - since leakage would've cost me an additional $200.00 to yank it back out of the water!!!). Happily, Tartan floated!
Pete ALSO knew I was nervous as hell and wisely (???) neglected to tell me about how the exhaust hose clamp really wasn't tight enough and there was water leaking into the hull around the transom! He made an educated guess and determined that it wasn't so serious that we couldn't make it home!
We DID make it home... And when he finally told me, I couldn't decide whether to hug him or kill him! (Okay, so I hugged him!)
I aged, ohhh, roughly 10 years in those 5 days, but I now have a reliable boat that will continue to float... Till it's time to do it all again!
319 Visitors 01/27/00 - 03/06/01
Visitors since 03/06/01
Last Updated 03/06/01