Friday, June 19, 2009

Moving Day

Well, I know I said the next post would be about the maiden voyage of Bluesette, but before that, a road voyage was necessary.

Friday, I prepared Bluesette for the move to lake Hinuma. To start, I moved it from its space by the garage, across the driveway to a place in the front yard where the truck could easily pick it up. The small swivel wheel on the front of the trailer works fine on concrete, but our yard is gravel and dirt, and it tends to dig in - especially after the rains we have had. (My aching back).

The lettering looks a little dark in the shade, but brightens up like a reflective traffic sign when light strikes it.

Next I took the cover off, removed the back shroud adjusters (the shrouds are steel lines which hold the mast upright), coiled the shrouds and taped them to the boom and mast. This was to prevent them from rattling around in the bottom of the boat during the trip, possibly damaging the gel coat, and to generally keep them out of the way - a good tip from the factory DVD by Tom Schock, the builder of Lido 14s.

"Arrr, mateys - there she be, listing to starboard..." Hey, no pirate talk!

I took out the paddle (my spare "engine" if the wind dies) and all the other loose stuff - tool kit, bailing bucket, etc. - except for the sail bags and a few items made of rubber and put them in K's car. I also attached the launching sling to see if it would work OK with the mast in the stowed position. Normally, the sling, which consists of three lines that attach at points on the hull and meet at a large ring in the center, are used for launching a Lido using a crane. This is done with the mast up. My thought was to use it for transferring the boat - mast down - from the trailer on the truck to a cradle called a "sendai", the Japanese word for "berth", on which Bluessette will be stored at the Yacht Harbor. The sendai has four swiveling wheels which makes it easier than the trailer to move around the boat yard and to launch the boat with.

Momo, seen here in the background, supervised from her bench on the front porch. She isn't sure what to make of Bluesette. A landlubber dog - afraid of the water. That's OK Momo, we'd rather not have to deal with quadruped crew member, especially one with claws. You can also see that our pomegranate bush has lots of blossoms this year - I've been fertilizing it with a liquid compost we make from kitchen food waste.

Normally, to transfer a boat from a trailer to a sendai, they launch the boat and then bring it back out of the water on the sendai. After Bluesette is on the sendai, the trailer will be taken back home where will will store it. My idea was to use the sling to lift the boat off the trailer and lower it onto the sendai, leaving the trailer on the truck. Much less hassle and time, and it avoids a launching fee. Sure enough, when I hooked it up I noted that it would interfere with the mast spreader and stays (wires which stiffen the mast and keep it from bending). Not a problem, as I can put the stays out of the way when the time comes to lift the boat, but good to know ahead of time so we don't damage anything.

Then I put some rubber wedges on either side of the centerboard to keep it from jiggling back and forth during the ride. It's only a one way trip, but I don't want to put any unnecessary wear on the boat. After that, I tied the boat down to the trailer. I have kept it just sitting on the trailer without the tie down rope to avoid putting any stress on the hull while it was in storage. After that, I put the cover back on and secured it. Hopefully, Bluesette was ready to go. The truck was due to arrive at 9:00 the following morning.

The following morning...

It was one busy day. The truck arrived at 8:45 AM. I showed the driver pictures of Bluesette being off-loaded from a similar truck when if first arrived, so he could see where to place the slings of his crane. By 9:30 we were on our way and an hour later we arrived at the Yacht Harbor.

My idea of using the launching sling to off load the boat sans trailer directly onto the sendai worked like a charm. After relaxing in the clubhouse over some excellent iced coffee from Hitachi City courtesy of the Yacht Harbor owners, we agreed with the driver to meet him back at our house to unload the trailer at 1:00 PM. K gave the driver some money for lunch.

Bluesette on her "sendai".

Along the way, we grabbed some bento lunches from a nice, new Seimiya supermarket in northern Hokota City, and took them home. The trailer showed up right on time and after we stowed it (we were surprised at how heavy the trailer still was, even without the boat on it), it was back to lake Hinuma. We spent the next couple of hours going over the perks and rules of club membership. My mind and gaze kept wandering to some Yamaha Sea Hoppers out sailing on the lake. Can't we cover the dry details later and just get on with sailing? No. Of course we can't. "Patience Pandabonium", I tell myself.

Finally, time growing short - the harbor closes down at five and it was almost four already - we put things in order on Bluesette (undoing all those measures I had taken to prepare for the road trip), raised the mast and got the sails attached and ready to raise. Several sailors gathered near the boat, full of curiosity, to watch in hopes of seeing us on the water. This was the first time K and I had done this together step by step. (It went remarkably smoothly, I must say, except for my attaching the bottom of the mainsail to the halyard instead of the TOP. OOPS. Blush.)

We got to the point where we were ready to launch. It was too late in the day, however, to actually go sailing, but the point of this exercise was really to practice together as a team and learn how to do things. There are many details to cover in addition to the logistics of what can be left in the boat or needs to be taken back home or stored in a locker. Then we did the whole drill in reverse, covered and tied down Bluesette and headed for home. At the end of the day, K was really bushed from the long day that included three and a half hours of driving, interpreting the yacht harbor rules and contract matters for me, and listening to Capt. Panda's orders for rigging the boat.

Bluesette ready to launch - Oh, and K of course.

Our first sail may come as soon as Thursday. The weather looks like rain until then. The first time out will be with the harbor owner along as an instructor to allow him to see how much I know, how much I don't know (which is no short supply), and to fill me in on how operations are handled there.

Meanwhile, it is a big relief to have Bluesette safely ensconced at her new home, ready to go whenever we are and weather permits. We can also work on getting the trailer inspected and licensed at our leisure against some day when we decide to venture beyond Lake Hinuma. That could be some time off.

Yokoso, Bluesette. (Welcome).

Next post - maiden voyage. I promise!


ladybug said...

Whew! Sounds like one busy day...and yes I share your annoyance with mundane paperwork (it's usually so darn inefficient!).

Kudo's to K for all the legal mumbo jumbo she helped hop through for you both, and her shipmanship (is that even a word?!) skills.

I think it'll all be worth it when you can finally enjoy a voyage!

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - the contract and rules and such are pretty simple, but still I'd rather be sailing than going over them. At the same time, I realize the necessity of understanding it all.

It was good practice for K's interpreting skills. Seamanship is the word, though we're not on the sea. She's a great help with the boat.

All the time, effort (and money) it has taken to get this far will make the sailing all the more sweet.

HappySurfer said...

That sure is a lot of care and presence of mind you have put into getting the boat sail-ready. Congratulations on the success of relocating Bluesette to her new home.

We used to have a pomegranate plant in our backyard though it wasn't half as healthy as the one you have. Do they call the fertiliser eco-enzyme these days?

Hi, Momo!

Pandabonium said...

HappySurfer - I've had loads of time to think about everything - months in fact. It is nice to have most issues settled.

It might be something like eco-enzyme, though it isn't called that here. It is an enzyme powder which we sprinkle on the kitchen food waste to help it compost. The pail has a screen and drain at the bottom where we get the liquid fertilizer out. The remaining solids go into the yard compost bin.

Momo the Wonder Dog said...

HappySurfer - Woof! Wag,wag,wag. :P

Martin J Frid said...

I think it may be called "EM fertilizer" and if you sprinkle it on Bluesette she'll grow and become a yacht ;)

Pandabonium said...

Martin - oh, no. not that. I can barely afford Bluesette and the cost of boat ownership, in both time and money, increases exponentially with size.