Swing Set

Mar 31, 201308:31 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Back in Business

(page 1 of 3)

After not having rain for quite some time, it's natural that on the morning we were to have the boat hauled at the Marathon Boatyard it would be raining. But we arrived at the scheduled time of 8 a.m. and waited patiently for Swing Set to get hauled out. Two hours later, we were in the sling.

I purposely left the bottom alone for the last month, not scrubbing it or scraping any barnacles. I wanted to see how well our bottom paint was holding up. In my opinion, it wasn't. None of the running gear had any paint left on it at all. A great deal of barnacles had found a home on the hull, and there was plenty of plant life to go along with it. We'd taken Swing Set out three times and had run it up to speed, which I thought would have sloughed off the bottom growth, but I was wrong.

Sherri, the service manager, came out and introduced us to Randy, the yard manager. We discussed the course of action in regard to getting new bottom paint applied, and we decided which zincs to replace. It took only about a minute to determine that our cutlass bearings were in good shape, one bit of good news there. New cutlass bearings (actually bushings) would require pulling drive shafts, a labor intensive process we were glad to avoid.

As planned, a subcontractor arrived to discuss a bid for cleaning and waxing our hull. This is something I've had done the previous two times we had bottom paint done, so I had a base point on what the job should cost. Being in Florida, the labor rate is lower than in Missouri. As a comparison, the shop rate is $15 per hour cheaper than comparative yards we have dealt with up north. Matt, the young man who ran his own detailing business, was very nice and personable. He said he would present an estimate to Elizabeth in the office, and she would get back with me with a price. Before we left, I got an email from Elizabeth with a bid of nearly $1,000 to clean and wax the boat hull. I said, "No thanks." Either Matt's price was out of line, or the up-charge from the yard was nearly double the bid.

We left the yard to check in at the motel we were going to be staying at, promising to return later in order to make sure our electric was running, once they got Swing Set on the blocks and plugged in. As we were leaving, Swing Set was getting her bottom pressure-washed.

Our room was ready at the Blue Water Resort, just a short walk across the Overseas Highway from the Marathon Boatyard. One of our biggest challenges for the week was to be able to cross the highway at least twice a day without getting killed. The speed limit appears to be upheld, but tourists can't seem to keep their eyes on the road. The sight of a pelican makes them forget the concept of steering a vehicle.

The Blue Water Resort has seen better days, most of them were probably in the 1950s. Four nights ran us close to $600, not a bad price in this area, but I'd describe the place as a dump. We found this unfortunate because the management was friendly, and it was right across the street from the boatyard. Our price included a substantial discount due to the referral from the boatyard. But they took pets, and not many places do.

I left Rosie to unpack our small bags of belongings into the rusty refrigerator and into the equally rusty medicine cabinet, to go back across the street to check on the boat. They had a step ladder in place at the stern for me to climb aboard. I was impressed.

Good thing I went, because even though they had Swing Set plugged in, the breaker was tripped on the post we were plugged into. Bobbie, one of the yard workers, helped me look into the problem. Bobbie is not an electrician. I suspected a bad 50-amp circuit on the post, so we split a 30-amp circuit, but that didn't work either, the breakers on the post closest to our boat were tripping. This meant a problem at the post, not on the boat.

The next closest post only had one 30-amp plug, so we plugged into that. It worked initially, but I waited around for a while to see if it would remain working, and eventually the breakers on the boat tripped. This meant between the two battery chargers, the refrigerator and the de-humidifier, we managed to pull more than 30 amps. We needed a 50-amp plug.

Bobbie hunted up another 50-foot dual 30 cord, and using our splitter and our 50 feet of dual 30-amp cord, we were able to just stretch the cables down to the next post with a 50-amp plug. Everything worked, but I was concerned that if another boat was put into the empty slot, our plug would get moved back to the faulty post, so even though all seemed to be working, I left the wind generators on so we wouldn't run our batteries completely down.

I made my way back across the street in one piece after a quick stop at a nearby Tom Thumb convenience market, the only place within a half mile to get groceries or something to eat. It was going to be a long week.

The day remained rainy and blustery. In fact, the wind had picked up considerably, and we could see the whitecaps from our view of the bay when we stuck our head out the door to our room. We left the dinghy in the water at the dinghy dock at the Marathon Boatyard, but after viewing the weather forecast for the rest of the week, I didn't think we would be out using the dinghy. We spent the rest of the day lounging in our luxurious suite at the Bluewater Resort, reading our books and listening to the neighbors slam car doors.

Following a sleepless night -- we couldn't help feeling bugs crawling over us all night -- we had a quick breakfast, then stopped into West Marine next door to Marathon Boatyard before finding the boat bottom already sanded, bad zincs removed and a base coat of epoxy applied to the running gear, the stern and the bottom of the swim platform...the main problem areas where the previous paint didn't want to take hold.

The electric was still on, so we turned off the wind generators, no sense letting them spin if we were plugged in. We promised Randy we'd return the next day and on the way out ran into Matt, the guy who we'd wanted to wax the hull. I apologized to him for not doing business with him. It didn't seem to bother him; in fact, he said it was nice of us to stop and explain why we weren't having him do the job. He went on to say that we could do the waxing ourselves, the boatyard wouldn't mind at all.

On yet another nasty day, weather wise, we holed up in our room and read our books. I kept thinking about waxing the hull of the boat, but even though I manage to keep the topsides waxed, I only do a little part at a time, never working more than an hour or so. I've only waxed the hull while the boat was in the water, but even so, it's hard on my joints and now I'd be working off a ladder. I'd rather be mugged than wax the boat hull, at least I'd have a fighting chance of my body not taking a beating. Waxing the hull in a short amount of time was bound to leave me a physical wreck, but nonetheless, I called Elizabeth to see if it was true: Could I wax the boat myself? She answered in the affirmative, so I began to form a timeline in my mind as to how I could get the job accomplished without getting in the way of the bottom painting, our priority in the first place.

Taxing the brain makes one thirsty. Even though it was sprinkling rain off and on, we took Holly for a walk to see what was in the general vicinity, within a mile or so, in the way of a good place to engage ourselves in happy hour.

Add your comment:
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed