Life on the Hard

Here’s the word to describe the experience of having Andromeda towed around the corner to the Port of Astoria boatyard: anti-climactic. And this is just what we were hoping for. After what felt like weeks of tension and worry about accomplishing this, I have learned a valuable lesson when it comes to this boat: let Mike handle it. Indeed, he had no trouble making contact with Captain Bill, and the good Captain showed up at the appointed hour of 10 AM on foggy Friday morning, tied on to Andromeda, and about 15 minutes later we were at the haul out facility. No muss, no fuss and it didn’t break the bank, either. In all, completely worth having a professional do this little job for us. Plus, it wasn’t raining.

Capt. Bill sidles up to Andromeda.

The guys at the port were waiting for us and were already familiar with Andromeda since her last owner hauled her out every year at this yard. They knew exactly how to get her centered in the slings, even without an engine in the boat. There was a touch of excitement when I realized that we were expected to handle the lines aboard her as they handled them from the docks, meaning that we were still aboard Andromeda when the slings were finally in place and the travel lift began its work.

Wait! What? Are we going for a ride?

Andromeda nudged up to the dock and we climbed over the bow pulpit. It was literally the hardest part of the entire affair.

This was the hardest part.

So now we’re on the hard and the scales are falling off of our eyes as we come face to face with the project that is our boat. To be sure, this boat has been well kept, She’s in really good shape for her age and all of that. The good news is that her hull looks excellent. There isn’t an osmotic blister anywhere on that boat, a testament to the care previous owners lavished on her, as well as her excellent pedigree.

The other good news is that we just love that swim step. Mike took the unsightly huge and heavy dingy off the back and it’s not going back on. The platform makes a very convenient way of getting on and off the boat. So much better than a wiggly ladder; the part of being on the hard that I loathe. Secure and stable; just the way I like it.

Now you can see her shapely stern.

So by now you are wondering what the bad news could possibly be? Nothing earth shattering. Only the thing that happens when anyone starts working on a boat, or a house, or a car, or anything that was built in 1975. Reality sinks in as the project list continues to grow. Projects like servicing all the seacocks. There are at least 20 of them and I began learning all about how to service them because I hate it when things leak and there are at least two that seep water. We’ve pulled three of them, and that job’s ‘to be continued’. I will get as many as possible done before putting her back in the water.

One of the worst offenders. Time to order some lapping compound and seacock grease.

And speaking of through hulls, the first thing on Mike’s list of tasks for me during this haul out period was to troubleshoot the clogged water intake in the forward head. It worked fine when we bought the boat, then one day it just… didn’t. As in no water flowing at all.

Fortunately being at this boatyard is a little like being at a junk dealer where all the junk you want is free for the using, if not the taking. I needed a roto rooter for boats and I found what I needed in a length of old wire rigging someone left laying on the ground. Perfect! I removed the water intake hose from the head and poked the wire down, hitting something that felt solid. Then I climbed down the ladder and did the same thing from the other end. Nothing would move. Yes, the seacock was wide open, in case you were wondering. After a couple more climbs into and out of the boat (thank you gluteus maximus) I felt like the wire was going a little further. I gave it the old Fonzi approach a few times, then I called Mike away from his prop-pulling entertainment, stationing him in the forward head to let me know if the wire made it all the way to the boat interior. Shortly thereafter I heard him yell and I felt the wire give. Apparently you don’t have to live in the tropics to have fish try to take up residence in your fresh water intake. I had two thoughts: thank God we didn’t have to replace that hose, and this is going to happen again.

Poor little guy. What was he thinking?

Oh, and Mike’s project du jour was to pull off the propeller since we’re having the shaft replaced. He though we could save a little money by doing this ourselves. Remember the transmission issue; the one whereby it took three weekends, Kroil penetrating oil, a blowtorch, and superhuman leverage to make the beast let go of the boat? We have a repeat here. This is looking like a trend… Andromeda 1. Mike 0. Insert sad face here.

This is not a happy face. What you see here is a ‘puller’ attached to the propeller, and a long iron pipe meant to give superhuman leverage to the wrench.

So the propeller is a little bad news, but it will eventually give way to Mike’s persistence. Or, we’ll pay the mechanic to do it. (I’m voting for that one.) The more long term issue is the leaking in the aft cabin. I knew the hatch leaked and did a temporary fix until warmer weather when I can really get to it. But the rain this weekend gave me an unparalleled opportunity to find all the little leaks that are going to drive me just a little crazy until I can get them fixed.

And, of course, one thing always leads to the other. When I noticed the little puddle of water on the floor in the aft head, I began poking around with my trusty little flashlight and, well, let’s just say there is a large project waiting to happen in the aft cabin. This will involve removing a lot of nicely done wood trim and hopefully it will NOT involve removing a wall.

And this is where the lesson of the weekend, “Let Mike handle it”, came in really handy. As I flashed my little light in all the nooks and crannies of Andromeda’s aft area, getting more and more annoyed at what I was finding, his cooler head prevailed. “It’s cold and nasty outside. Let’s go home. We can’t do it all in one weekend.”

So wise.

Some of the cool junk laying around the boatyard. The steering mechanism was made in Tacoma. (No, that’s not one of our seacocks, fortunately.)

Want to see her being lifted out of the water? Go Here until I figure out how to use the You Tube application.





14 thoughts on “Life on the Hard

  1. Yippee! So glad you guys are finally on the hard…funny we are both on the hard at the same time. Leaks drive me nuts too. I’m pretty sure our boat will always leak in some way or another but it’s ok, as long as it’s not too bad I just live a little on the crazy side.

    Can’t wait to see the engine install :).

  2. You guys are really making progress! I know you were relieved to finally get that boat on the hard.
    Yes, leaks are a bit ubiquitous on a boat. What I can see is bad enough, it’s what I can’t see that gets my knickers in a twist. When the weather warms up, let the rebedding begin!

      • Yes, I am thinking of re-doing the bunk in that area. But the leaking is on the wall between the engine room and the aft head. It might be coming from the mast area where the wires come into the boat. I really don’t want to have to remodel to the extent that this would require if it turns out there is wood rot. I don’t think there is at this point, but won’t know until I can get into it.

  3. Glad to hear there was no Drama in getting the boat out… it must have been really fun to ride the boat up to the dock level on the lift. ]

    I fully understand your “one thing leading to another” and the growing project list… Just read my most recent blog entry! LOL…. I found a couple of leaks as well…. as long as the water is coming from the topside and not the bottom, I can deal! LOL…

    can’t wait for your next entry!

    • Just checked out your blog again, John. Is there a way to subscribe other than Google plus? I haven’t bitten the bullet on that yet and still prefer email subscribing, but I fear I am behind the times. That was a nasty leak you found and you’ll be glad you are going to replace all of that stuff. Of course, that’s easy for me to say, right? Good to see the progress you are making on your boat. I hate leaks, no matter where they are. I’m always thinking about the damage being done that I cannot see. And also mold. Yuck!

    • I am really hoping we find ourselves in an anchorage together. I would love to see Black Swan! Ugh. I hate those leaks. I imagine I’ll get to the point where I stop looking, as you have. Maybe the solution is to simply go away from the rain!

  4. It has been fun following your adventures in boat ownership. Nice to see the link to the Wood Freeman history. Mike is a friend of mine, and a sailor. His boat always had wires and doo-hickies and gizmos all over it.

    • Welcome, Joe, and thanks for reading along! That Wood Freeman pilot is really, really cool. I’d love to have seen the boat that came from. I am wishing I had picked it up because it would make good garden art. If it’s still there when we go back, I’m bringing it home. Nice to see a piece of Tacoma history!

  5. Hi Melissa, it sounds like a real labour of love. It must be such hard work, but I imagine each step you take is incredibly rewarding! Keep up the good work, it will all be worth it in the end 🙂

    • What is life without a project or two? It certainly keeps things interesting. Thanks for your nice comment. I am enjoying keeping up with your blog and your adventures!Claire leaves for Scotland on the 28th of this month. She is so excited she can hardly sit still.

  6. I am super envious of your swim step! SO much so that I am going to show it to Mark…Anyway you guys are really getting after it and I am so excited to see what Andromeda will look like when you are done!

    • The swim step is super awesome. It does make the boat longer in a marina, but at 47 feet already, who’s counting? We are looking forward to being finished with the engine install and Mike is already drawing out possibilities to replumb that aft head with fewer than the current 33 feet of hose.

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