Wednesday, 20 January 2016

In the Cradle

We pulled Mareda out of the water yesterday for 3 months of drying out on a tall cradle designed for lifting keels.  We were surprised at how clean the bottom was after 7 months in the water, and there were only a few spots where the paint showed signs of “close encounters”, mostly on the underside of the keel.






I was also reminded of an important fact of underwater optics:  dive masks magnify things underwater.  Several months ago, the keel hit the tidal gate leaving Guernsey in the English Channel Islands.  The tidal gate has 2 meters of water over it when the traffic light turns green.  I saw green lights, and conditioned to believe that green means go, we headed out.  “Bonk !” went the not-so-gentle reminded that our draft is 2.25 not 2 meters.  Apparently, sometimes green means maybe.  The keel did what it was designed to do; it just lifted up and slid over the barrier and then dropped back down into place.  Later I dove down to look at the damage and reported an impressive golf-ball sized chunk missing from the leading edge of the swing keel.  Now that we can see the damage with our own eyes and without the magnifying effect of the dive mask, the real damage is only about thumb-sized.  Nice surprise!  





The mechanic came over and winterized the motor and our only nasty surprise was a huge crack in one of the blades of the water pump impeller.  If it had disintegrated, the bits could have blocked the cooling system and caused lots of trouble. The impeller was new 6 months ago and we only had about 160 hours of motoring this season.  A bit disturbing.



After a good scrub of the hull with the high-pressure hose, we’re ready to leave Mareda high and dry until mid April.  In the meantime, I’m studying the charts, pilot books and blogs to plan our cruise around the Iberian peninsula, through Gibraltar and into the Med.  It’s going to be challenging (fog, fishing nets and pots, tiny fishing ports with few facilities, nice but very expensive ports, interesting mooring situations, capricious weather, language barriers, etc.) but we’re eager for the adventure to begin! 

Addendum:  forgot to mention that I got the chance to try out the emergency rope ladder in the transom yesterday.  Since our cradle is really high to allow the lifting keel to almost fully descend, our ladder was just a tad short so I used the emergency rope ladder to climb the rest of the way up.  I learned 3 things during this exercise: 1) I hope I never have to use it in an emergency, 2) I really need to work on my upper body strength, and 3) we absolutely need to have a robust block-and-tackle system that we can attach to the arch to help haul up someone who has fallen overboard.  We do have 2 small tackles on the arch to haul up the dinghy but I doubt those would be strong enough to do the job of hauling up a wet crew member (or skipper !).  

And now, off to find some snow…

2 comments:

The Cynical Sailor said...

She looks happy and content in her cradle. She's probably looking forward to a long nap while you two go off and play in the snow.

Sailing Mareda said...

It's always comforting to get the boat out of the water when you're away for long periods. You just never know...