The Boatyard Blues
The Boatyard Blues
I'm the resident writer on Roger Henry. Diana is the resident photographer. To uphold the honor of my profession against hers, I have often argued against the adage "A picture is worth a thousand words".
But when the crunch came, I faltered. The Travelift operators at the Port Townsend Boat Yard know their business well, but not my boat specifically. Rather than use words to explain the complicated underwater layout of ice-deflector fins, exposed stern tube, transducer locations, and slanted fin keel, I simply handed the driver a photograph of Roger Henry's underwater profile with dotted lines overlaid to indicate the proper location for the slings. He nodded in appreciation and snatched her out of the water like a toy from a tub.
Apparently the cayenne pepper that I'd laced my anti-fouling paint with during our last haulout in Japan worked as an effective biocide. The boat's bottom wasn't the usual National Marine Reserve I find when I finally cough up the cash and haul out.
As Diana and I jet-blasted the bottom, I had momentary visions of that mythical quick and clean haulout sans the aching back and raccoon eyes from holding a heavy sander above your head for three days-or is that eternities?
But it wasn't to be. The high-pressure stream blew away bubbles in the paint, indicating either an electrolysis problem with our steel hull or a complete paint failure, depending on which expert I talked to.
Once the boat was chalked up, Diana and I talked it over. We decided that we simply had to keep to our sailing schedule in order to be south of 10 degrees N before the cyclone season heated up in the northern tropics. The best we could do for now would be a lick and a promise, as the Kiwis say. That is, repair the worse patches and postpone a complete sandblast and bottom job until New Zealand.
I borrowed sanders, vacuum, sawhorses, extension cords, and ladders from our winter dockmates Chris and David. Diana laid out brushes, rollers, masking tape, and thinners. We threw ourselves into the task.
Grind, dust, prep, and paint. Repeat. Change zincs, clean strainers, repitch prop, dissemble the wind vane, change out the exhaust system, fair the topside gauges, caulk the deadlights, mark the anchor chain, ad infinitum.
I should've bought shares in the chandlery shop, as I felt like I singlehandedly rescued its financial year. David works across the street from the boatyard at Henry's Hardware. When I met him at the cash register for the fourth time in a single day I said, "We can't go on meeting like this."
The stern of Roger Henry was positioned right up against the chainlink fence beside the main parking area, ensuring a steady stream of passersby.
As required by law, "Missoula, MT.," our port of registration, is displayed in 3-inch block letters on our transom. It was around the 10th or 11th time that someone asked how I got the boat from Montana to here that our proximity to the road began to feel like a problem. The real story was taking too long to tell, so I began joking, "Down Interstate 90, but the tacks were tight."