Annual Haul Out 2001

Last week didn’t rate too high on the fun meter for us, but as any yachtie knows, hauling out is part of any boat’s regular maintenance program. Unless you want the bottom of your boat to look like a miniature underwater wildlife preserve, it needs some regular attention

Fortunately, we didn’t need any major work, just some attention to a troublesome thru-hull fitting, a repair to a leaky shaft seal boot and a couple of coats of anti-fouling paint below the waterline.

In a perfect world, thru-hull fittings are there to allow salt water for engine and refrigeration cooling and head flushing, to pass through to systems inside the boat, or allow wastewater to pass out of the boat. In the real world, they can be a source of irritating leaks. Leaks mean that there is constantly water sloshing around in the bilges. Water in the bilges means that anything stored there will get wet, rusty, mucky, and eventually become unusable, if not a meal for some unseen creatures lurking underneath the floor boards. It also means that the humidity level on board makes it an ideal humidor for cigars, but food, clothing and other items soon become covered with a thermo-nuclear resistant variety of black mold.

When Moonshadow is out of the water, systems like toilets, refrigeration and air conditioning that utilize outside water for flushing or cooling become inoperative. This, combined with a 12-foot trip up or down a ladder, usually with only one hand free, every time one wants to board or leave, makes life during a haul out a bit more challenging. Usually boat yards aren’t in the cleanest, safest, quietest or most scenic parts of town. Oh, and the toilets are usually grody enough to put off a career gas station attendant.

We hauled out at Noake’s Boatyard, one of the few yards in the greater Sydney area that could handle a vessel of Moonshadow’s size and weight. Noake’s is a pleasant exception to most of the experiences I’ve had with other boatyards. It is quite clean by yard standards, situated a boomerang’s throw from the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a quiet neighborhood and enjoys a pleasant view across the Harbour to Sydney.

Despite this, Cate and I elected to stay shore side for a few days. We organized a home stay, which is sort of like a casual, inexpensive bed and breakfast, in the lovely nearby suburb of Crow’s Nest. It was nice to get away and relax after a hard day of wrenching and mucking about on the boat. We always appreciate a few days of being able to have a “real shower” as opposed to “military” style and to flush the toilet without a minor bicep workout.

The Noake’s staff was friendly, professional, well organized, and finished all our work to our satisfaction, on time, and on budget. We came out of the water on Monday and were launched that Thursday afternoon, spit and polished, fresh bottom paint, clean and dry bilges, ready for the next cruising season. They are certainly the exception to our overall experience with the boating industry in Sydney!

Now we are nearly to the bottom of the “To Do” list, and it’s just about time to hoist the “No Wrench” flag and head north for the winter. Perhaps there’s just a bit more time to do some land cruising before we toss off the lines.

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