Between the puttering winter maintenance when I work mostly alone and the intense maintenance of April when the crews show up to work, I pull the Columbia III for her annual haul-out. Transport Canada requires to see her out of the water every two years and of those two year inspections, there is the requirement to pull the rudder, propeller, drive shaft and all underwater thru-hulls every four years for an extra thorough inspection. This year is a “tween” year, so usually this means a pretty straight forward lift, wash, paint and re-zinc but no particular official “underwater” inspection. But of course, the annual haul out is my chance to check for problems or possible damage (such as a ding in the propeller). As it was a quick turn around this year, I took the boat down alone and the Ocean Pacific crews did the washing and painting.
Here the COLUMBIA III is heading back into the water.The tide levels can’t be too low for the lift procedure so the crews arrived early to slip me back into the water. I am always happy to have the CIII safely back in the water. “It just don’t seem natural” to have my ship swinging around in the air!
Whilst I am living aboard the CIII on the “hard” in downtown Campbell River I put the time to advantage by buying as many supplies as I can think of. But I am still puttering along on my own. If the shipyard has a certain cadence, that mood entirely vanishes when i get home and the CIII is slipped back into the shed. The dry erase board in the shed gives you an idea. For any of you new to this blog, S&P = sand and paint, S&C = sand and Cetol, and I know you’re really smart, S&V = sand and varnish! Awesome, you’re on fire now!
Tavish figured out a way to lift the tender inside the shed. This allowed us to paint the bottom without without removing the outboard, or miss spots trying to paint on a trailer and it was out of the spring rains. It did look a little weird suspended from the ceiling!
Here is a bit of creativity. The 2″ thick fir deck planking of the Columbia III is held down with galvanized nails pounded in over 60 years ago. Each nail is counter sunk and covered with a 3/4″ wooden plug. With time, if the plug cracks or deteriorates, water can work under the plug and begin to rust the nail head. The rust expands and pushes the plug upwards and this makes the plug sit a bit proud. We notice the little bumps in our decks and get really distraught. Luke figures out the answer. Chisel out the wooden plug, drill and tap the nail head, thread in a small stainless steel boat and extract with the custom made visegrip-plier-nail-puller-slide-hammer thingy, and wallah! A SS lag screw is used as a replacement with a new epoxied plug. Luke processed quite a few of these just so I can sleep easily at night knowing I won’t be confronted with distressing and unsightly little bumps in MY decks!
Beautiful new teak steps to replace the existing set. These are on the exterior of the wheel house and get a lot of wear and tear. The old steps looked like they had been made of re-purposed wood with some extraneous holes and plugs where none were required. Luke made this new set for the CIII. As usual for something boaty, the steps are curved to fit the deck house wall. Luke also made stainless steel hanger bolts so we can remove the steps more easily for painting behind the stairs.
The galley door was stripped to bare wood and refinished. As these doors are over 60 years old, there are some cracks that always let moisture in behind the varnish. The only way to keep the bright work looking really good is to keep the ship in the shed all year long, or strip the finish off completely every few years . . . certainly less than 5 years. As a consequence, we usually strip an exterior door or two each year to keep the “beautification” cycle in sequence.
Summer must be coming as the sun is starting to pack some heat. The boat shed is wonderful in the rain (and in brilliant sunshine too) but on the first sunny days of spring the shady, water cooled boat shed can feel pretty chilly . The first warm rays of the year beckon just a few feet away! We often work on individual projects and we don’t really adhere to set coffee times, but I did catch the crews loafing around in the sun and started yelling at them to get back to work! I even took a photo to document their slovenly behavior.
Every year or two at the most we empty the lazarette completely for vacuuming. This is a great way to re-inventory the supplies we carry and to sort out any stuff that found its way into the storage area. The laz serves as a major storage area for spare . . . well spare EVERYTHING! From dinner plates and wine glasses to rope, engine hoses, toilet paper, electrical wire, hose-clamps,paddles, life-jackets, walking sticks, water glasses, hand soap, electrical fixtures, engine oil, hydraulic oil, antifreeze, wine, kayak foot pedals, recycling, pipe fittings, lengths of pipe in plastic and metal, readi-rod, skiff anchor and small quantities of paint and varnish for midsummer touch ups, power tools, extension cords, pop and beer, epoxy glue and fillers, spill pads, laundry soap, hand sanitizer, kayak spray skirts and . . . and . . . well, I think you get the idea. Here Steve is unloading the Laz as step no.1.
Here is a small diversion. I always worry about getting my anchor “stuck” on the bottom in the middle of the summer. We often work in very remote locations so its not that easy to “find” a spare set of ground tackle mid season. So this year I bought a new “rode”, the chain and stainless steel cable that anchors the ship at night, and it is neatly hidden under a bunk just in case a time of need arises. Or doesn’t “arise” off the bottom as the case may be! That’s about $2000 worth of piece of mind for me . . . .
A final scrub, the masts go up, the inspection cycle begins, the ship gets all the bedding and food stores loaded and in about 3 weeks the first guests of the season arrive . . .