A PERIPATETIC JOURNEY
not all who wander are lost
Preparation and Haul out
It was a busy week at the dock at Le Phare Bleu Marina. We cleaned the boat from bottom to top, inside and out. The interior surfaces (floors, walls, shelves, counters) were wiped down with a vinegar and water solution to combat mold and mildew. We cleaned and dried the bilges. The heads were cleaned and prepared for storage. Books, toys, and outgrown clothes were gathered and donated to children in Grenada or other cruising families. We inventoried our remaining provisions. The sails, cockpit and helm enclosures, and running rigging were removed and stored.
On the morning of June 5, we left the dock at Le Phare Bleu and moved to Clarke's Court Bay to spend our last night on Counting Stars until the fall. Our haul was scheduled for June 6 at 9:30, but the boatyard called that morning on the VHF to let us know we could come over early. We raised the anchor, removed the muddy pair of pants from the chain (sometimes when you drop anchor in a heavily used and murky harbor, you get a surprise when you pull up the anchor), and motored over to the haul slip. Another catamaran had just been hauled out ahead of us and was still in the slings of the lift. We tied up in the slip and waited while it was pressure washed and prepared to be moved into the yard.
When it was our turn, a diver went into the water with the straps to make sure they were placed in the right spots on the boat for bearing the weight of the whole boat. The boat came with diagrams showing the proper placement of straps for hauling, and Brian had shared these with the crew. Nevertheless, the diver carefully knocked on the hull to make sure that the straps were properly placed on bulkheads. If straps are not in the right place, the fiberglass hull can crack when the boat is lifted; this is a very important step in the haul out process and we were impressed with the care taken by the Clarke's Court staff.
When the straps were placed, Counting Stars was slowly lifted from the water. Once over land, the hull was power washed. Next a large tractor arrived and slowly backed a trailer underneath the boat. In many boatyards, the lift itself is driven through the yard to the spot where the boat will be put up on stands. However, the lift at Clarke's Court is huge (The Hulk can lift boats weighing up to 242 tons with up to 37' beam) and cannot navigate the narrow fairways in the boatyard. It took the incredibly careful staff a few hours to get all 15 tons of Counting Stars securely balanced on the trailer. The tractor then pulled the trailer down the fairway toward our spot in the boatyard. When it was close, the driver turned the trailer and slowly backed into our tight spot between two other catamarans, with about a foot to spare on one side. Stands were placed beneath the boat and the trailer was slowly pulled out from underneath. Concrete blocks were placed on each side of the boat for the attachment of the hurricane tie-downs.
Once Counting Stars was on the hard, preparation for lay-up continued. Brian changed the oil in the engines and met with contractors to discuss work needing to be done over the summer. We opened all the cabinets to increase airflow and tipped mattresses on their sides. Sails were stowed in the saloon. All preparations to leave Counting Stars were completed by the afternoon of June 8, the day before our flight back to the States.
Have you heard anything following the herricane? Sorry to hear of all the damage to the places you visited.
Hi Mike - Grenada was not affected by Irma and Maria, thankfully. Counting Stars is high and dry and safe on the hard. However, we are deeply saddened by the devastation wrought on Anguilla, Dominica, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands (US and British). It was a terrible hurricane season for the eastern Caribbean and we hope for the best for those working to rebuild.
Fascinating how Counting Stars was prepped & hauled ashore. I'm looking forward to a new year of sailing posts.
Wow, I had no idea that boat lifts were able to lift boats that are up to 242 tons! My brother just bought a small boat that he wants to start living in for a short time. I wonder what kind of services he will need from whatever boat yard he chooses to dock at.
I was really surprised to learn that boat lifts can lift boats that weigh up to 242 tons! That's a lot of weight. This means that my friend's small boat is easily within the lifting range of most boat lifts.
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McGlynn family 5 (Isla, Marin, Eoin, Kendall, and Brian) sailing Counting Stars
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