Monday, October 10, 2011

Out of the Blue, Out of the Water.

It was a sad day. Friday we took Out of the Blue out of the water. Sailing season, here in our town, is officially over. You'd never know it from the warm weather we have had this weekend but winter is quickly approaching thus the boats and the docks must come out before the water freezes. 

Captain John recruited a few of his crew (plus me but I don't count) to help get the boat out of the water. As big of a bad ass as John is, even he needs a few extra hands to accomplish this feat. I tagged along because (1) I've never seen a big sail boat come out of the water, (2) there was a crane involved, (3) because I had nothing better to do and (4) it sounded like a kodak moment. 

That being said, I'm about to school you in the art of sail boat removal.

First, we motored over to a different marina that houses the crane. And can you believe the audacity of these guys? They made me drive while they did things like unhooking wires and other nonsense. I hate it when they make me drive. Way more responsibility than I care to hold.

We pulled up to the first dock where Jackson was waiting for us. On this dock there is a hand crank mast crane (try saying that 3 times fast). 

The crane hooks to the mast (that is like a million feet tall) with a simple rope and slowly lifts the mast from the boat.

Jackson slowly lifted the mast...

And then dropped it down while The Canadian and John lowered it to a horizontal position across the boat.

Then John fired up the little motor again and moved over to the second dock with the big crane.

BOOM! It's not a small crane. Not just any one is allowed to handle the crane but as I mentioned before John is a bit of a bad ass and he has crane rights. Apparently they were supposed to be wearing hard hats but I guess that whole safety thing was missed somehow.

John turned the crane over the water and lowered a gigantic hook down to the boat. Jackson hitched a thick yellow strap to a bar that lies in the hull, under the floor. Out of the Blue is a 24 foot boat which apparently is small enough to be lifted by one central strap. Bigger boats would need to straps running under either ends of the boat to be lifted. 

Because there was only one central strap the boys had to spend some time shifting weight around to make sure she was balanced. If not properly balanced the boat will nose dive and come up at an angle. This is exactly what they were trying to avoid.

So while I held my breath and John calmly manuvered the crane, Out of the Blue was slowly lifted from the water.

I continued to hold my breath while John calmly swung the boat around and held her over ground.

John lowered her a bit more while The Canadian and Jackson held her steady with ropes. Fortunately it was a calm evening. Had the wind been strong she'd be swaying around and causing everyone to have minor heart attacks.

Isn't it amazing how much bigger boats look when they're out of the water? 24 feet doesn't sound like much until you look at her from this perspective.

Because running the crane isn't enough to keep him busy, John ran and got the trailor and backed it up directly underneath the boat.

As he lowered the boat he held the keel in line, making minor adjustments to ensure she went on straight.

With the boat on the trailer, the boys set about strapping her down.

How many sailors does it take to unhook a ratchet?

Just one. That's why we call him Captain John.

While they were taking care of business, I decided to do other important things.

Like take photos of herons.

And sneak up on unsuspecting seagulls.

And try to get a shot of the boat's reflection.

And run along side a flying heron.

I'm helpful like that.

After a bit the boat was strapped down and ready for a quick rinse with the hose.

Then we were done. Just like that the sailing season was over. So, we headed home.

As The Canadian and I were sitting in the back seat of the truck, he leaned over and whispered, Don't look now...but there is a huge boat chasing us.

Thanks for warning.

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