Friday, 7 November 2008
Out, baby, out
Been awhile, hasn't it? The simple truth is that we didn't do any bloggable sailing over the latter part of the season. The reason? Mainly crappy weather. We got out for day sails here and there and a good overnighter, spent at anchor off North Berwick, for Dad's birthday at the end of August. There was some good sailing to be sure, but nothing noteworthy.
Now Fettler is on the hard once more, ready for the winter maintenance projects to begin. The lift-out was an interesting affair. It was originally scheduled to take place on the 25th of October. This, by an unfortunate though not unpreventable coincidence, was the same day that we had flights booked for a little break in the south of France. Our plane was expected to depart at 1230 and lift-out was to commence at around 0800. Very tight. I booked a ticket on a later flight as a fallback position.
The day dawned anything but fair on the 25th. The forecast was for gale, to severe gale, possibly even to storm force winds and heavy rain, but the harbour secretary was determined to go ahead if at all possible. Re-booking the crane is a costly business so even if we could get some of the boats out during a lull in the storm it would mean time and cost savings later. The crane arrived and set up and the first of the boats (with me aboard as helper) motored into position. At that point the crane driver, very wisely, called the whole thing off.
Shortly after that, the wind really got into gear. We had a job even getting the boat back out onto her mooring and then boarding the launch for a seriously wet ride back to the pontoon.
At the airport, our flight was delayed for hours as the wind was so ferocious they couldn't open the cargo doors on the plane to load the bags in. This was particularly irksome to us as we only had hand luggage.
Anyway, we made it to France and had a fine, restful week on the Mediterranean coast and the lift-out was rescheduled for the day after our return. That day dawned as fair as any ever has. Perfectly still and clear. Once the ice thawed off the pontoon and boats' decks all was well.
The actual lifting of Fettler was a bit of a trial for us, it being the first time. Actually, no, the lift was fine. It was the setting down that was a bit hair raising. Really it was only due to the fact that it was the first time on a brand new cradle, so there were many adjustments to be made, while the boat was still hanging in the slings. Given sufficient time, this wouldn't have been a problem but everybody was champing at the bit as there were 31 boats to be lifted on a short autumnal day. There were 'helpers' rushing around on every side, adjusting this and that, while I tried to rush around and get things overall the way I wanted them to be. Twice I had to shout as they tried to rush the slings off before we were set and when I couldn't hold them back any longer she still wasn't sitting quite upright or straight, but close enough that I could put things right by adjusting the cradle with the boat in place.
We have a full programme of maintenance and upgrades planned for the winter months and will keep posting here as we go. The idea is to have her ready to go anywhere. An escape pod, if you will, in case this credit crunch thing reaches its logical conclusion. Sea-steading. That's the way to go.
Posted by Jim Brodie at 21:07