It's time for Nine of Cups to be hauled out of the water for her annual bottom job. We thought perhaps we'd delay this year and do it in South Africa, but the prices here and there were comparable. Additionally, the haul-out facility here known as Mandurah Boat Stacking, is convenient (right across from the club marina) and has a good reputation. There's always a bit of angst when hauling out. What if we get dropped? What if we screw up getting into the haul-out bay? What if the wind pipes up or it's raining hard? Little dragons to sort out and handle.
We planned the haul-out for 0800 … it's usually calmest in the morning. It was calm, but pouring in torrents. We waited till a break in the downpour … about 15 minutes … then cast off the lines and headed around the marina to the outside channel leading to Mandurah Stackers. David accounted for the wind on the beam and made a wide turn into the haul-out pen, knowing the wind would move the boat to port. The wind died then, the boat did not drift to port, Marcie and the dockman could not fend us off and we nicked the rub rail wood on the starboard side. Looking at it later, David noted we've had worse damage than that in the past and it looked like an easy repair. All's good.
We stood in the pelting rain and watched as Nine of Cups came out of the water. She always looks huge when we can view all of her at once (and even larger when we're beginning to contemplate painting her bottom).
Power-washing was the next step and we stood dripping wet, with nothing to do and no place to go for cover. We were already so wet, it really didn't make much difference.
Then Kevin, who was also waiting out the rain, came to our rescue. “Come on out of the rain into my houseboat. Get dry and have a hot cuppa”, he offered. He didnt' have to ask twice. Kevin was a complete stranger, but this is how Aussies are … welcoming and hospitable. On top of that, we'd never been inside a houseboat before, so we were quite pleased with the opportunity.
It took a couple of hours to get the boat from the TamiLift to the hardstands. It was raining so hard, we could barely see from the houseboat windows to Nine of Cups. Finally, we heard the lift's engine fire up and Cups slowly came toddling down the lane and was deposited right beside Kevin's houseboat. It was time to head back outside as we watched the workmen placing the support stands in place.
Once Cups was securely in place, we began wet sanding her bottom. We couldn't have gotten much wetter and, in fact, the rain aided in the process of the wet sanding. Believe it or not, by Noon, the rain cleared and the sun came out. This is how the weather has been going here lately … cloudy with showers in the morning, then drier in the afternoon. We took advantage of the dry sunshine. Marcie masked between the boot stripe and the bottom and the blue bootstripe and red bootstripe while David began sanding the red bootstripe which we've determined needs repainting. We had it all sanded and prepped by the end of the day … ready to start bright and early tomorrow morning with the anti-fouling.
We're not allowed to live on the boat while on the hard here, so we reserved at an equipped, self-catering “chalet” about a 20 minute walk from the boatyard not far from the Mandurah foreshore. We loaded our backpacks with clean clothes, toiletries, the laptops and all the ingredients for making dinner including wine. A good day's work, a hot shower and … a TV! Wow! We're living it up. Hopefully tomorrow, no more rain.