October 9, 2011
How do you haul a 250,000 pound boat out of the water? With a 200 Ton Travel Lift. It really is quite an impressive sight to see. At Jarrett Bay, they haul many boats a day and have a variety of sizes of travel lifts. We needed the big one! The boatyard has a haul-out dock where boats are first pre-positioned and tied alongside. Since the space is tight and we were still without bow and stern thrusters, we chose to move to this area early in the morning while the wind was very calm. The next step is to position the travel lift. This is a specially designed piece of equipment that straddles the loading bay. Lifting straps are then lowered into the water to a depth below the boats draught (in our case 8 feet). Then the boat is moved by hand, with a bunch of guys pulling lines until it is positioned on top of the lifting straps. Care must be taken that the straps aren’t positioned over the stabilizers, sonar, or other sensitive areas on her bottom. Once the boat is positioned, the lifting process begins. The boat is gradually hoisted until it is out of the water and the bow clears the top of the dock. Then the travel lift carefully and slowly moves the boat to the washdown area where she receives a nice bath with fresh water from a pressure washer. This removes much of the marine growth from the bottom. After the bath, she is moved to the space where work will be done and positioned on blocks – lots of them to hold her firmly in place.
Power cords are then connected, a ladder is put in place to allow you to get on and off the boat (the deck at this point is 10 to 12 feet off the ground). Next, plastic floor covering is installed on all exterior decks and interior floors. Boatyards are very dusty and dirty places and protecting the surfaces is important. The boat is now ready for whatever work needs to be done. Our first step was to visually inspect the exterior of the boat, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Much like a bullet wound, lightning often creates more damage on its way out then on it way in. Our inspection did not reveal any obvious additional damage from the lightning nor any other unexpected findings. Next, we inspected and cleaned all the through-hull fittings. These are the places in the hull where a hole has been put in order to allow seawater to enter the boat – for example for cooling the engines or generators – or to allow “stuff” to leave the boat – such as exhaust, bilge pumps, or gray water (water from showers or sinks). Shear Madness has 37 different through hull fittings and these need to be periodically inspected as each one is a potential source of trouble should it fail or leak.
Other things that are inspected and serviced if necessary during a haul out are the main propellers (which move the boat forwards and backwards), bow and stern thrusters (propellers located on the bow and stern which assist in moving the boat laterally), stabilizers (large hydraulically operated fins which smooth out the ride in rougher seas), sonar (for depth readings) and rudders (which provide steering through the water). Since this equipment is normally underwater, working on them will usually only occur during the haul-out.
We are now ready for the serious repairs to begin. Brian, our electronics guy who worked on the boat while it was in Florida, will be coming this week to plan his project. Work on electrical systems should also begin soon. We also need specialists for the bow and stern thrusters. As we begin to get more systems operational, we will be able to conduct additional testing and will likely identify more things that need attention. Click below to play a 3 minute video of the haul out:
With the boat hauled out we are not able to live onboard so we have rented a house, close to the marina, for a couple of months until Shear Madness is back in the water. The extra living space and hot tub has been appreciated by all!
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#1 by Anonymous on October 14, 2011 - 1:25 pm
HI John and Leanne
I am sure this is not quite the adventure you had in mind – but then lightning strikes have their own agenda! Amazing to see the Sheer Madness lifted out of the water. Great video Leanne! Hope that all is well with you both. Cannot complain from this end. Love and best wishes. Keep living the dream…. Madonna