Monday, December 22, 2008

Preparations For A Summer Cruise

Mariner awaits the Travel Lift at Ray Roberts Haul Out Boatyard in Whangarei - she is looking a little coy I must say, but what real lady wants to show her bottom to the whole world?

The heart stopping moment! Four and a half tons of hand crafted beauty is lifted from the river. She is held high, then the Travel Lift starts to roll.

Shane gets into his work with the water blaster.

Karl and Shane place her into her cradle. These guys are great. They know what they are doing. Mariner is in safe hands.

I nearly called this post a 'comedy of errors'. The day didn't start well. I had been told to be in the river outside the yard at 9a.m. I was on the mooring getting ready to cast off the mooring lines when I get a call on my mobile from my son. "Dad the boatyard rang, they want you to call them." I call and can't get through. Call again and Karl answers but he can't hear me. I lock the boat, scull ashore and drive to the boatyard, "What's up I ask?" , "Just wanted to remind you to be here at 9.a.m", they reply.
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I breathe deeply and muse to myself patiently that compared to the age of the universe and the majesty of countless stars in the heavens, this frustrating event shrinks into insignificance.
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I return to the boat and find that I can't get into the cabin because in my hurry I have locked the boat keys inside. For a brief moment I contemplate smashing the lock and just getting on with it. But no, I will go with the flow of today's fickle hand of fate and scull ashore again. Again I get in the car and drive home - not far - only five minutes away to get one of two sets of spare keys I keep for just these sort of circumstances. I return to the boat and from then on everything goes smoothly.
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The two guys at the yard are Karl and his strong and careful offsider Shane. Karl is the son of the yard owner and is a conscientious and experienced operator. Shane is a big affable Maori guy with a headful of dreadlocks and a friendly and engaging manner, he works carefully and methodically. They both treat the boat as if it was their own and made of eggshells. She is lifted, water blasted, placed carefully in a cradle and everything checked. A ladder is provided for me to climb aboard and they clear the surrounding area of the detritus of boatyards - big blocks of wood and various other bone breakers. I like coming here, these guys know what they are doing.
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Now it is my turn, I do some extra sanding and scrubbing. Mariner being the lady that she is doesn't mind the skipper attending to her bottom parts and soon the job is done. She winks at me - tomorrow we continue with a couple of coats of good thick anti fouling paint - Its not a big job really, but I fortify myself with some Dutch Courage at the end of today's work - a couple of cans of Heineken.
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