20 November 2010
So I arrived at Sea Sharp which for the second season has been stored at Riverside Marina in Fort Pierce Florida last Tuesday. Then the work began. There's a ton of work to do to prepare the boat for the water, then another pile of work once the boat's in the water, ensuring everything works and then provisioning for the winter.
Riverside Marina, where we kept Sea Sharp for the past two summers is an interesting place. It's one of the few "working yards" in this area. By this I mean that the boat owners can work on their boats themselves; many boat yards require you to use their trades people for all the work you have to do. Also it is possible to "live" on the boat in the yard while working on it. Now don't get the impression that this is very comfortable, what with the heat, dust, bugs, proximity to the train tracks, and the fact that the boat's plumbing requires it to be in the water to work, it is not a very luxurious living situation. However, you can get lots of work done.
There are many Canadians in this yard, lots from Nova Scotia and Ontario and a healthy contingent from Winnipeg. I have met some of these folks in the previous two years but have met various others this time around. They're all good, resourceful and engaging folks. And there's always in invitation to dinner or happy hour.
There probably are two hundred and fifty boats in this yard; two thirds sailboats, the remainder power boats of all sizes and shapes. There are quite a number of derelict boats here, some of whose owners' are still clinging to the dream of fixing them up and sailing around the world; most of these will never see the water again. There are lots of boats and owners like us who sail during the winter and lay the boats up during the summer. The yard is very active and the sounds of grinders, sanders, hammering and other industrious noises punctuate what would otherwise be a quiet coastal environment.
So to the davit situation...... Sea Sharp is well equipped and we've found her very comfortable in our two years of southern cruising. One thing I've wanted, however, is a set of davits. Davits are a hoist/crane like rigging attached to the stern of the boat which allows the dinghy to be lifted out of the water for storage when not in use. This offers various advantages. Certainly when you make difficult crossings, it is hazardous to tow the dinghy, particularly in high seas. What we've done to this point is to hoist the dinghy and store it upside down on the fore deck but it is somewhat cumbersome to lift the dinghy out of the water to the deck. Also, towing a dinghy slows the boat down and it can be hazardous when you are coming up to bridges or docks with the dinghy behind you. Finally, in some areas, there can be a risk of theft if the dinghy is simply tied to the stern of the main boat.
Non sailors will probably recognize davits on large cruise ships where you can see row after row of life rafts hanging from "davits" along the side of the ship for quick and easy deployment in the case of emergency.
Anyway, I've been wanting to equip Sea Sharp with davits and spoke to the boat yard when I left last spring about the possible fabrication and installation of a custom set while we were home this summer. I had given the yard the go-ahead to make them but was disappointed when I arrived last week and they had not been produced. So, over the last few days, I've been hounding the fabricator to get them done. I had hoped to launch this coming Monday and Judy and Chopin to join me shortly after but it's now Saturday night and nothing happening yet. So, we're in a bit of a conundrum; do we wait for a couple of more days while, hopefully they are made or do we cancel the job and do without. What to do?????
This picture shows Sea Sharp from the stern as is; hopefully a next picture will show the davit installed.
In the meantime, Judy reports having a great time with her family in New Jersey.