Doing the Hard Yards
25 July 2015 | The Yard Brisbane Ship Lifts Murarrie
Anti-fouling Condesa on the hard stand.
'The Yard' is the work-place in the Brisbane River for boats to be lifted out of the water. A dry dock where you can anti-foul several coats of thick black paint below the water line, replace all bollards and safety lines around upper deck, put on a new prop and reset the shaft, remove and fix a gear box, replace anchor plates, finish the bright work, sikaflex everywhere you see fit, buff and polish your paintwork above the waterline, cut back the portholes buff and make them gleam like never before! And just in case that is not enough to complete in the estimated time of seven days, let's add some gale forced westerly winds that near blow you from the top decks while you are perched high above the concrete attending to the above list.
Whilst it wasn't cocktails and sunsets.... it wasn't all doom and gloom except when sourcing parts for the 1960's gear box parts that had us stay elevated clinging on for our lives for another four days in a true blizzard. Brisbane only winter is a cutting westerly that sliced through 8 layers of clothing and that was in the full sunshine.
On the upside we had an experienced super yacht worker Lawrence who, like Mark ignored the 5 degree temperature and diligently went from one job to another knowing that the days of the week disappear like time travel whilst in a dry dock.
I was chilly inside the boat even with the oven going and heater on so I'd hauled the boys in for hot coffee alternating the breaks with a hearty soup allowing for some defrosting of fingers before they would brave it again. I at least had the option to find a nook behind the shed away from the wind where the sun tried its best to give warmth so I could continue to strip the old varnish off the louvered doors (that I wish I had never started).
All appeared to be on track after we extended an extra 4 days to complete the work, I continued running to mum and dad's place to seep and for some of the same warmth and support that I tried to bestow on the windswept and lip cracked workers back at the yard.
Finally our gear box was back together and Mitch kindly worked through the night with Mark to fit it back where it belonged (only a son or someone you paid mega bucks would do this). This operation required a halyard to act as a hoist to lift the heavy engine part high above the boat and drop it into place. I feared it may squash them like ants should anything go wrong so I stayed to oversee the procedure and lend a hand where possible (or call 000 if needed) and finally to make hot chocolates when it was completed.
The next day where we were set to be lifted back into the water only to find the westerly winds had another 4-5 more knots to blow. Condesa shuddered on her concrete blocks having the staff bring the cradle and slings over to support her, She being the only boat left in the yard waiting to be put back in the Brisbane River that day. The lift was cancelled due to the high winds, we were disappointed but still had plenty of varnishing and other jobs to complete so we spend another 24 hours finishing up.
Saturday in the yard was like a ghost town, the wind had dropped there was no work happening around the usually active yard, until the manager, his dog and little support team kindly turned up.
He single handily (with the help of his dog) operated the lift to launch us back into the river knowing we were overdue to get going.
We tested our reverse and forward once that was confirmed as working we headed on our merry way north for warmer weather. Cheers to our parents and Ben at The Yard you were the shining light in a week of hard knocks.
Ps I should have stowed that dog away on Condesa -he was a cracker.
ps the image was teh first day before the winds got up so don't be fooled by the shorts and t'shirts