Friday, March 4, 2011

Emerging from Darkness

Yesterday the manager of The Boat Yard* (otherwise known as Dad) called me to let me know that the tarp on the boat had collapsed under the weight of snow from a recent late season storm. Of course, by the time I arrived at The Boat Yard, the snow storm had ended and a windstorm had taken its place. Wind speeds on the Washington and British Columbia coasts were recorded at hurricane strength during the storm, and in the city winds topped 40 mph. The Boat Yard is located on Hood Canal, and during winter storms, the typical southerly winds hit us head on. Pictures never do storms any justice, but here's one anyway just because I have it.

Stormy Seas @ The Boat Yard
So it happened that I pulled up to the boat and found the structure for the tarp broken and about 200 gallons of water filling it up. The generator was grinding away, so I knew the storm had knocked the power out. Tree limbs were all over the driveway. So I was faced with this project:

Remove the 40x30 foot tarp, de-assemble the boat cover, rebuild the frame for the cover, and replace the tarp. In 50 mph winds.

Add to that the underneath that tarp were several open holes in the boat. The cockpit locker lids had been removed, and much of the teak in the cockpit had been sanded and cleaned, but left exposed. Once I took that tarp off, I was racing the weather, because as soon as the next wave of the storm hit, it was going to be packing some serious rain.

Removing the tarp was the easy part. Controlling it was not. I untied it on the windward side and it was gone. Wrestling it into a manageable package reminded me fairly vividly of all the failed spinnaker take downs we have done on the race boat. Every time I got closed to controlling the damn thing another gust would come and catch it just right. At one point it actually pulled me over when it caught a healthy amount of air.

Next I set to rebuilding the frame. A mishmash of left over lumber, some screws, and a cordless screwdriver and a mere 3 hours later and I had the skeleton rebuild. It's a crappy job, but it really only has to last another month or two. I assume that this weather will end sometime in the spring and we will be able to uncover the boat.

Then dad and I set about re-tarping the thing. I'm surprised neither of us died. The wind rose another 5 mph, of course, as I tried to tie things down before I lost my grip.

It ain't pretty, and as soon as possible I'm going to re-adjust things, but at the very least, we are keeping things dry again.

One trip to The Boat Yard, $25 in ferry fares, zero work done.

The list of work remaining to be done is looooong, but there is hope that we will be in the water by summer. If the credit card holds out, that is.

With spring break and a reprieve from laboring at The Learning Factory, there should be more opportunities to put in some long days at The Boat Yard between now and May. Here's hoping the worst of the violent weather is behind us.

Oh look, it's snowing again. Ugh.

*The Boat Yard, of course, is my dad's driveway...cheapest dry storage around!