Yesterday was a big day – phase 1 of delivery.
The prep for this has been immense. Dayton Marine, owned by this awesome guy named Bucky, was up for the delivery, and came by to look at our site. We had already purchased the plywood, with the thought that we’d build a temporary road, so that he could back right into the shed. Sadly (or not, depending upon what we want to do with the plywood) it rained again prior to the delivery date yesterday. Apparently, if the ground is soggy, several not so nice things can happen with a big truck, a heavy load, and a plywood base.
The first is that as the truck drives over the plywood, it will sink into the soggy ground, and splinter, so it accomplishes nothing. Second, depending upon whether or not there’s an overlap to the pieces of plywood, as the wheels rotate on top of the sheets, if the ground is slick enough underneath, the plywood sheets will shoot out from under the truck (not an appealing concept). We didn’t really want to see this truck and the boat get stuck part way into the boat shed, and so we had to come up with some other options. There were a few places in town we could have stored the boat temporarily, but we really wanted to get her here, so that we can start on some of these massive undertakings we have in mind.
So the decision was made to get a load of gravel. It arrived, and was basically a load of dirt filled with rocks. (I must admit, I had visions of nice, clean, gray gravel!). The delivery truck came, dumped the load and then left, leaving the shoveling to us. We’re pretty motivated, and it was going to rain that night, so shovel we did! We also had 2 loads of mulch delivered, and a load of compost, to fill all the ruts so that when the ground freezes, it will be level, and hopefully nothing will get stuck. The fitness program is working – after all that shoveling, I have a few more muscles than I did last week!
Delivery day arrived and was clear, windy, and our first really cold day. With the wind, the weatherman said it would feel like it was in the 20’s, and we spent most of the day outside. I haven’t been this stressed out about anything in a long time – it just seems so unnatural for a big boat to be on a trailer, and she’s almost wider than one lane of traffic. The spars were on racks alongside the boat, and then tied up in various places for additional support. But both the main and the mizzen, even in just a few months of being out from under cover, have cracks in seams, so we have some repairs to do there, and that made the prospects of bumping along a road not very pleasant. The seam in the top of the main did open up more than we’d like, but Henry feels pretty confident that we can repair it without too much trouble. The mast is a beast – well over 500 pounds, 56 feet long, and about as unwieldy as anything I have every worked with.
Up at the yard in Rockport, the yard owner put a sling around the middle of the main, and lifted it into position, then 4 men pushed the spar onto the racks. Down in Freeport, Harold rigged a pulley, with Henry tying off one end of the line to a cleat on board, sending the line through the bulwarks, and down to the hitch on the back of Harold’s truck. With some judicious driving of the truck, the pulley line lifted the spar out of the rack, and then the five of us positioned the mast onto the sawbucks. Henry and the driver’s assistant, Tim, were able to carry the mizzen to another set of sawbucks, and the rest of the spars were a breeze to move. When we started this project, one of the first things we did was build seemingly a million sawbucks, but we could easily use a dozen more!
The truck then backed the boat into place, and on the first pass, Bucky didn’t really like the way it was positioned, as he knows he’s going to be coming back to move it into the shed later. Round two however, he ended up a bit further back than he planned, and the truck sank down into the new gravel. His truck cab disconnects from the trailer, and so he separated the two parts from each other, and then tried using the winch from the cab to pull the boat and trailer back forward again, to no avail. At this point, I was ready for a scotch, and headed into the house. No one else seemed too stressed about the situation, but I was a wreck!
After several attempts, with no results, the boat was unloaded where she stood. The amount of blocking underneath is impressive – he’ll be back after the ground freezes, so we had to prop the blocking up on blocking, itself, so that when the ground freezes, the blocking isn’t completely frozen in. Same with the jack stands – they are all up on blocks so that when we move the boat, we can lift them up off the ground. Everything also has to stay low enough that the truck and trailer can drive in, load the boat, and then back over everything to get back to the shed. It took a long time to get things just right, but everyone was happy, positive, and amazingly relaxed about it. I think I was the only one stressed out, but it feels great to have the boat here.
Today will be an easy day – covering the boat, and building out the ends of the shed. Then we’ll start addressing some of the projects. I’m hoping for a long, hard cold snap soon, prior to snow, so that we can move the boat into the shed in a few weeks, and have her under a nice big cover! It will be another day of celebration 🙂