Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bonne Nuit Alizée

Alizée in her winter home
Do sailboats dream when they sleep for the winter? Do they remember the patter of feet on their decks, the feel of a breeze, the damp of the fog? I hope so. It would only be fair that we have given Alizée something for the summer she has given us. She is all nestled into her spot next to a Valiant 40 for company during the long winter ahead. We are continuing for a few days more in Maine to a place or two that we missed, for one reason or another, by boat.

Cath insists on a step-by-step run down of Alizée's haul out, for those interested in the process. I will say, the yard (Front Street Shipyard) has been absolutely top notch and professional. They handle everything from picnic boats to sea going tugs, including some of the massive schooners sailing these parts and beyond. I will oblige my darling wife, but if you know the drill, you can skip to the next post :)

and the mast
Off loading the boom ...
Before hauling out, we strip the rig (sails, boom, mast) from the boat. There's a special dock, the rigging pen, with a well padded crane. Our lead rigger is Kyle. Together Kyle, Cath, and I strip and fold sail on the dock. As Cath heads off for that one last load of laundry, a few more riggers show up and we off load the boom in short order.

After rigging a sling to the mast and some tag lines, we pull six pins and lift up the mast. The tide was ebbing fast while we were working, so the crane had to lower the mast every few minutes as the boat went lower with the tide, to keep the boat from hanging from the mast and crane!

The spar shed
Though we can store the boom and mast on the trailer, the yard prefers to keep them in the spar shed next to the rigging pen. Since it was for their convenience, they comped the charge. Yea! We like these guys. Other professional "features" we have not seen at other yards include padded bags they slip over the turnbuckles and furler hardware to avoid scratches. The equipment itself was top notch, quite a few grades above the yard in Mystic where we launched. It was also fun to talk to Kyle about the strategies for pulling those huge raked schooner masts weighing thousands of pounds (hint, you can't pull them straight up).

Hauling out
Power washing off the slime
Once freed of her rig, Alizée had to be moved to the travel lift bay for hauling. No owner driving allowed, so I went along more for the ride. Turns out the appointed captain has a sister at Naropa in Boulder. Go figure.

With no way off the boat, we just ride up on Alizée and chat about the very expensive Gunboat catamaran in the yard. Seems these boats have a real problem with waterlogged hulls (balsa cored) and being one of the few boat yards with a travel lift wide enough to lift them out of the water Front Street has a side business repairing Gunboats.

Once out of the water, there are a few quick items to take care of, primarily flushing the engine with antifreeze and washing off a season of slime from the bottom. I walk around with the service manager looking for items in need of a fix, such as a hairline crack in the keel to hull fairing and the notch in the keel fairing from a lobster pot warp sawing across the keel. The latter led to a horror story of a lobster pot warp cutting into a steel keel like ours, flooding it. Nightmare repair.

Alizée spent the night on display for everyone walking down the Belfast harbor walk, which runs right through the ship yard next to the travel lift bays. In this era of hyper safety, it is amazing to see these huge travel lifts sometimes carrying boats weighing hundreds of tons roll across a public walkway. Only the watchfulness of the operator and the common sense of the walkers not to put toes under an eight foot tire carrying an ocean tug, ensure the safety of the proceedings. In return the shipyard is tightly integrated, in a good way, with the community and the public can view the hauling of some of the worlds most incredible boats, like Alizée :) Good for all and great fun.

Hitching up, or trying to ...
Bright and early (7:30AM) we have an appointment with the service manager for a few last minute things before moving Alizée into her offsite storage. They have a Freightliner to move her the few miles to storage, but there's a hitch, literally, in the giddy-up. Alizée's trailer is low slung, I mean just inches above the road way, to get her low enough for bridge clearance. The Freightliner can't get low enough to hitch up. Hmmm. Fortunately, the Freightliner and our RAM pickup (which we used to haul Alizée) have the same receiver size so we use the hitch from our pickup. Could be lower, but good enough for a short distance.

Alizée on parade!
A little worried about ground clearance for the hill climb out the north exit of the yard, they take Alizée around south and up Main Street in Belfast, followed by a chase truck to watch for power cables, branches, and such. I suspect the boom crutch snatched at a few because there were some twigs and leaves in the cockpit when we went to say goodbye in her shed! Alizée has the street to herself with a sidewalk of onlookers. A parade all to herself! I think she may have blushed, modest girl that she is.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Alizee, Thank You Again for accommodating us this summer! It was truly a wonderful journey! Sweet Dreams Alizee! Susan & Howie

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