Spring Came Late This Year (2014)

Well, late for me anyway!

The marina has a policy of everyone being in the water by Memorial Day.  This is good because it keeps the travel lift schedule full and discourages those who procrastinate launch for real or imagined reasons.

But, for those of use who have 10 gallons of projects and a 5 gallon completion bucket, it doesn’t work out very well!

This year, I had elected to replace part of my standing rigging (just the forestay) and also decided to replace all of my running rigging as well.  Plus,  I was adding a new anchor light, combination steaming and foredeck light, new VHF/AIS antenna and, of course, everything had to be snaked, routed and pulled up the length of Amalia’s 30 foot mast.

Oh, did I neglect to mention that I had a worn-out cutless bearing that had to be replaced before the splash?

I don’t recall that the spring was particularly late as far as the snow leaving and temperatures making it tolerable to spend afternoons on projects on the hard, but it definitely seemed that my pre-splash project bucket had grown to about 50 gallons and most of this work hadn’t even been started by Mid-May.

I began to get some of these things done but didn’t realize that the events around the (apparently) simple task of replacing the cutless bearing would take quite that long!

A Winter Storage Voyage – A Tearable Journey

N ot all voyages take you somewhere different.  Some times, a voyage starts and ends in the same place – but things happen in between.

That’s the story with the winter storage voyage of 2013/2014 which started well and ended – let’s just say less well.  Possibly tearably!

It all started with the purchase of Amalia and my discovery that the improper shrink-wrapping job would require a complete hull (freeboard) paint job.  Sadly, this could have been avoided had the PO (previous owner) taken the time to pull the mast down and use the custom canvas cover that came with the boat.

So, when it came time to put it pull it for winter storage last October,  Kevin and I pulled the mast, dropped her on the massive oak cradle and covered her up for a long winter’s nap.  I was amazed that I was able to wrestle that massive cover up over her horizontal mast and deck and have it tied down in about an hour.

Asleep for the winter of 2013/2014 at Muskegon Conservation Club on her sturdy Oak cradle.
Asleep for the winter of 2013/2014 at Muskegon Conservation Club on her sturdy Oak cradle.

I came back within a few weeks and added the custom end-of-the-mast sleeves that I’d made to keep even more wind and weather from entering the coccoon.

And, there she sat for an epoch winter season with more cold and more snow than anyone had seen for many years. I started checking up on her in January and made trips out in February, March and early April to begin pre-launch activities and start upgrades and repairs.  I was delighted to see how well she weathered this ball-buster winter under her snug canvas cover.

Cover removed on cockpit

So, it was a complete surprise when I came out to continue my cutless bearing project during the week of April 14 to find that I no longer had a boat-draping, custom canvas cover over my craft.

Instead (see phontos) I had a variety of torn canvas pieces draped around the base of the cradle.  This was not a cover with a few tears, this was a pile of canvas pieces!

While I had heard about the severe storms, massive rains and high winds (up to 75mph, straight-line) on the news, I hadn’t given it much thought until I saw the results.

My custom “cover” is now residing in the back of my Explorer for a detailed examination to see if I should use it to build a new cover or make repairs and some desired modifications.

Oh, did I mention that, after being covered all winter with the hatch boards in and front hatch just “cracked” for ventilation, the now uncovered boat had been left (pre-windstorm) with the hatch boards out and v-berth hatch wide open?  So, there was actually a bit of frozen snow on top of the engine cover inside and iced-over cockpit drains in the cockpit.

It could have been much worse and I’m grateful it wasn’t.  If I have any area of the cover that is torn in the future, I will repair it before it is subjected to storm disassembly!