Sunday, April 10, 2016

Boatyard Blues

Today marks 28 days since we left our berth in Long Beach and headed to Dana Point to begin a week and a half of work at Dana Point Shipyard. We had carefully planned everything to coincide with Tom's vacation, we had a lot of projects and not much time. In hindsight that probably wasn't a realistic goal, but oh well. Now I sit here in the cockpit admiring the beautiful view of Dana Point Harbor and Doheny Beach, it is an amazing view from up here, some 14ft in the air.  It is hard to believe we have been living in the boatyard for almost a month! We are definitely longing to be back on the water as we watch the boats enter and exit the harbor, their sails luffing lightly in the breeze as they sail on the bright turquoise waters just off of the shore. But wait...I am getting ahead of things, maybe I should back up a bit and clarify how we got here and what we have been doing since our arrival.

Nothing beats homemade chili!
The sail from Long Beach on Monday morning was awesome! It was the first time we had left the dock since we had pulled into our berth in December because we had been so busy with replacing the diesel tank and working on our water and electrical system. The day was sunny and there was enough breeze for us to sail most of the 6 hour trip only turning on the motor for the last hour. Along the way we were visited by dolphins, a sea lion or two and even a whale! We dropped the hook in our anchorage at Dana Point just as the sun was beginning to set and were able to enjoy a hot bowl of homemade chili that I had started in the Wonderbag before leaving Long Beach.

Shiny new rigging!
On Tuesday morning the guys at Dana Point Shipyard unstepped the masts and we began prepping them for sanding and painting. Our plan was to spend the first few days working on painting the masts while we waited for our rigger, Ed at Downwind Marine in San Diego, to get all of our new rigging ready to install.  We were doing most of the work ourselves but would never have been able to accomplish the task had it not been for all of the help we received from everyone at Downwind. We are so impressed with all of the help they provide, answering countless questions and always assuring us that we could do this. Thanks guys, especially Ed!!

All was going well with the mast work and on Friday we were ready to haul Empyrean out of the water. We would clean and paint the bottom and replace all of the thru hulls. The yard would work on replacing the cutlass bearing and repacking the prop shaft and rudder housing.  We would also be installing new spreader lights, repairing the anchor light, installing new B&G 4G Radar Dome and all of the antennae that we would need to accommodate all of our new electronics.  In addition to all new rigging we would be adding a mast track system, new (to us) main sail along with lazyjacks and sail pack. Along with the boat work we still have all of our regular daily activities including schoolwork, cooking and laundry since we are living on Empyrean, as we officially moved aboard on March 1st.

Emily tends to add her own flair to work in the yard!

Unfortunately as work moved along we realized we had some pretty significant pitting in our prop shaft and so we placed the order for a new shaft and began the waiting game.  Tom would go back to work and we would continue life from right here in Dana Point Shipyard, not much else we could do. We settled into life on the hard as best as we could, we celebrated Easter and even colored eggs. 

Finally the new shaft arrived and the guys worked to get it installed.  All of our work was complete and everything looked great. On Tuesday midday, 3 weeks from when we had arrived, we got word that the guys were ready to put us back in the water.  Empyrean was lifted in the sling and lowered carefully into the water...and then as I stood there watching I heard the words "we have a leak". There was a tiny bit of water coming in near the shaft housing. It was minimal but not acceptable. It seemed that a small possible void in the fiberglass had been disturbed during the shaft replacement and so hauling us back out was really the only option.

And so here we are today, as we continue life on the hard, working through our boatyard blues, dreaming of being back in the water. One thing I can say for sure, all of this work has really helped us build a strong confident relationship with our boat and I become more confident everyday in her ability to keep our family safe.  And when things break, and they will, we will know her and be confident in being able to troubleshoot and repair problems when they arise.
Out with the old rigging, and in with the new

Nice new bottom paint, all that's missing is the water!

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