Friday, April 2, 2010

BACK ON THE BEACH: Zinc Changing

It's been a year since Sin Tacha's last haulout, a thorough one at "The Boatyard" in Sidney B.C. where she got the full treatment of power washing, fresh bottom paint, new zinc, and a professional survey.

I knew the bottom was still clean, but was concerned about the condition of the zinc on the prop shaft, so decided to use the beaching legs to check things out. The tides lined up for an April 1st event, and luckily the weather cooperated too. After careful calculation it was determined that we had to be aground by no later than 6:30 a.m.
This time I picked a small cove near the marina with a gravel beach. Previous beachings had been done in the mud, a pretty messy exercise!

The legs were attached the night before, so at 6 a.m. I motored slowly over to the cove in the dark. I'd previously set up a couple of pool noodles on shore as leading marks so as to miss some rocks on the beach. Being bright yellow, they were easily picked up with a flashlight.

The stern anchor was dropped about 60 feet from the beach, and a bow line was dinghy'd ashore and attached to a drift log. Using the two lines to control the boat, she was pulled ahead until the front of the keel gently touched ground. With all lines made fast, it was time to relax for a while and let the moon do it's work of dropping the ocean  level by four feet.

Resting easy on the gravel, while the skipper enjoys breakfast aboard:

Almost there:

The condition of the prop and zinc after one year:

After a good scrubbing and a new zinc:

The old zinc was as soft as wax and broke off in my hand, without even undoing the bolts.

Sitting firmly on her land legs:
So now all there was to do was wait for the tide to return, which should have been 4:30 p.m. By 5 I was getting worried as there was still two feet of rise needed to float the boat. Checking my old tide program on my laptop, I couldn't understand what was not happening. Then I noticed my old program, set up to automatically to compensate for Daylight Savings Time, was still showing Standard Time!

This meant I had beached an hour too early and 1.3' too high up the beach. And .... I would not be floating off until well after midnight :-(

The tide graphs showed that at around 6 p.m. the water would reach within a couple of inches of the required height, then fall back somewhat before rising again, long after dark.

I pulled up the stern anchor, dropped earlier, and rowed it out as far as I could into the bay. Then I ran the spinnaker halyard from the mast top over to a log off to the side of the boat. A little pressure here lifted the opposite leg enough to unbolt it, and when I released the halyard the boat rolled the other way and I was able to remove the other leg.

With the legs off I winched the mast top over until the gunwale was almost awash, then used a sheet winch to haul on the stern anchor line ... and it worked! The boat slid smoothly off the beach, popping upright when the spinnaker halyard was eased, and floating out into the bay. (Sorry, no pictures as I was in "panic" mode).

I was glad to have got off so easily, as a 40 knot gale blew in about 11 p.m. which would have made life really interesting, trying to re-float Sin Tacha.

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