It has been so long, you probably thought we gave up the boating life and moved ashore….not so fast Kemosabe! We were ashore for the month of August at our house in Venice; and we have been “On the Hard” as it is known by cruisers, living ashore on High ZZ’s in the boat yard at Deltaville, all of September. Most every year, cruisers stop for a few weeks to do annual maintenance on their boats; for some, this stretches into months while major work/repair is done. For us, nothing unusual/unexpected has happened (knock on fiberglass, as we are not yet in the water), it just took two months for all the tasks. Task #1 was our rudder; we knew it needed repair when we bought the boat, but that meant lifting the boat, unbolting the rudder, and transporting it to Foss Foam in Williston FL, where it was originally built and where it could be repaired. As we wanted to spend some time at the house this summer, the trip worked out fine because Williston is on the way to Venice. It was quite a scene though, with the big rudder perched on top of our Rav4 for the trip. The rudder was finished at the end of August (neat family business with three generations of workers, in the middle of nowhere they build rudders for dozens of boat manufacturers), so back to VA we went.
Bottom prep and painting (real fun…NOT!), replacement cutlass bearing, replacement motor mounts, dinghy patching, cleaning and waxing the topsides….Oh, not all work as we got in a couple of Hokie football games on the weekends (unfortunately loosing efforts, so our tailgate friends asked us to stay away from Blacksburg for the rest of the football season)…and now we just have to mount the solar panels and align the motor to the prop shaft. We are hoping to be back in the water, and on our way south, October 1.
Living “On the Hard” in the boatyard is, unfortunately, nothing like living on land at our house in Venice. Not that there was a lack of work in Venice and it was just sitting on the beach with cool drinks (we built a 35’x9’ concrete pad for a carport, installed a back fence, trimmed trees, repaired our Tracker…) but life ashore on a boat is really on the hard. The hard part starts with just getting up and down an 8 ft. ladder, 10-20 times a day, every time you want to use the head, get parts/tools, go to the store… really do anything off of the boat. On the plus side, our calves and thighs are now hard like 20-year-olds! The dust, the mud (it is raining cats and dogs today), the noise (many boatyard workers start sanding/grinding/pounding at 0600). It was 90F with no breeze for the first week or two, only the odor of the trash bin in the yard. Can’t run many fans, certainly no AC, not the water heater, not even the microwave on the boat because the available power is only designed to run a few sanders, a drill or saw. Did I mention having to go up and down the ladder just to go to the head? No way to dump your holding tank! Miss Deb would have left for sure, had the power been insufficient to run the TV at night. But another definite positive is the comradery of cruisers on the hard. At any one time, there are 6 or 8 couples doing the very same things on their boats in the yard; we gather in the evenings to cook dinners (too hot to cook on the boat) in the screen porch at the marina, swap stories, drink wine…. And no matter how hard you have it, there is always someone else with a worse story or present condition to make you feel lucky. Adversity breeds fast and lasting friends; nowhere is this more evident as when living life on the hard in a boatyard.