Southwest Harbor, Maine - Haul Out

While in Southwest Harbor
We enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of laid-back Maine. Southwest Harbor is one of the towns on Mount Desert Island. It has lots of lobster boats, just like the rest of Maine, and an atmosphere that epitomizes the Maine experience! 

Early morning fog just starting to clear up in Southwest Harbor.

Lobster boats unloading their daily catch.

Radio controlled sailboat in the window of a local sailing club.

They are a matched pair!

You gotta love the sunsets!

Maintenance Time
We've been enjoying our stay in Southwest Harbor for sure, and everyday we see the care and attention that the Hinckley folks give to the boats coming in, so we decided to have Bravo hauled out for bottom painting at Hinckley Yacht Services. And as a bonus, we're lucky to have the opportunity to stay onboard Gale and Mary's boat, Worknot while Bravo is out of the water. We were spoiled by their hospitality, and Mary's cooking! In typical boat fashion, what was to be a couple of days for a haul-out drags on for a week! However, a lot is accomplished.

Gale is essentially a floating marine chandlery!
This is just the hose clamp inventory.

Gale and Mary's dog, "Keela" reminds me of the Star Wars character Yoda.

We score some fabulous lobsters from a passing lobster boat, and it's Nora's birthday, so
Gale and Karl are the designated cooks for the night. With great focus and concentration
 they managed to pull it off.

Happy Birthday to Nora!

The Haul-out
A boat like Bravo needs to be hauled out about every other year for a bottom cleaning, bottom painting, prop cleaning, and check-up. In-between, a diver can complete some underwater maintenance tasks such as changing the zincs and cleaning through hull fittings. Since we are not sure when Bravo had her last haul-out, and what maintenance was performed, we opt for the full package.

Bravo weighs 143,000 pounds “dry” (without fuel, water, etc.) so she needs a large lift to bring her safely out of the water and onto land for the maintenance work. The Hinckley yard has a 160 ton lift (320,000 pounds) and that fits the bill. High tide is necessary to accommodate Bravo’s 6’8” draft so the haul-out is scheduled for Tuesday morning. Karl and Nora are on board to carefully steer Bravo into the narrow slip and through eight slings that hang from the lift and under Bravo’s hull. The slings have to be very carefully positioned to avoid damaging the boat’s stabilizer fins and props. Once in place, the lift raises Bravo and slowly rolls from the dock across the street to the work yard.

Just one of the many buildings at the Hinckley yard.

The big lift is made ready for us.

We are up and away. ...Now I know what a big boat feels like!

Very odd to not be floating!

The Hinkley lift operator does a great job. (Thank goodness!) 

In place, and getting ready for pressure washing the hull.

You can see the stabilizer fin, main propeller, and rudder in this picture.

Gale and Karl getting an initial look.

Pressure wash
The first step is to pressure wash the hull and check the condition of the bottom-paint, the zincs, and the through-hull fittings. The Hinckley crew give Bravo a thorough cleaning and it is readily apparent that the zincs need replacing and the through-hull openings and grate covers need a scraping and barnacle removal!

Overall not too bad looking on the initial look, but we learned through past
experiences there are typically a couple of surprises along the way.

Once pressure washing is completed, the lift rolls Bravo through the yard and across the street to a work station. Thick wood blocks, metal stands and chains secure the boat so the sling straps can be removed, and the bottom work can continue.

To give you a sense of scale.

This is Bravo's home for the next week.

Lots & lots of boat stands.

The work begins, and the man on the lift is polishing the hull.

Bravo is now resting on the blocking and the stands keep her upright.
Bottom paint is being applied.

Removal and replacement of zincs is one of the specific tasks that needs to be accomplished. Zincs are “sacrificial” metal pieces attached to specific underwater metal parts of the boat such as props, rudder, and the keel cooler. Without the zincs, electrolysis will corrode metal underwater in a fairly short amount of time thereby destroying critical boat parts. Zincs are designed to take the brunt of the electrolysis, instead of the critical metal underwater boat parts, thereby saving the boat parts from disintegration. Zincs are shaped and paired specifically for each part of the boat they are designed to protect. Bravo requires 17 zincs, of various sizes and shapes, on the outside of the hull . Karl orders most of them on-line and they are shipped to Hinckley. We make a quick dinghy ride to Hamilton Marine in Southwest Harbor to obtain the rest of the set.

Before: The zinc on the main propeller was almost totally gone!

After: Main propeller is cleaned, has SpeedProp applied, and new zincs.

This is the folding propeller for the wing engine.

New zincs installed on the wing engine propeller and shaft.

Scraping and cleaning
Barnacles and other sea life love to attach themselves to the underside of the boat including the keel cooler, rudder, bow and stern thrusters, propellers, stabilizer fins, and through-hull openings. Each of the critical parts needs to be carefully cleaned and/or scraped.

The bow thruster, stern thruster, and wing engine prop get special attention to remove the sea life and prepare them for paint or special protective coating.

We discover that some of the through-hull covers were not aligned to the through-hull openings properly, and some were installed backwards and do not function properly. They are removed for additional cleaning and are soda-blasted for an extra clean finish, and then were realigned properly to the through-hulls. 

The hull is given a light scrubbing to prepare it for bottom painting. A few sections that showed extra wear receive an additional protective coating. A new coat of black Petit Trinidad SR Antifouling Bottom Paint is applied. And Interlux InterProtect 2000E primer is applied beforehand to any of the wear areas.

While the below water hull receives all this attention, the hull above the water is buffed and polished. The buffing/polishing process not only makes Bravo look clean and shiny, it also protects and preserves the fiberglass that is exposed to the sun and weather.

Internal maintenance
Karl and Gale also use this time in the yard to perform some internal maintenance projects such as changing the water pump impellor on 9kw generator, including oil change and filters. They also changed the oil to the watermaker, and added a special fitting to aid in the draining of the oil for the watermaker. Also while the boat was out of water all of the thru-hull fittings were exercised and lubed, with one person on the inside of the boat exercising the through-hull valve, while the other person was outside the boat lubing the through-hull valve.

Second Dingy
We ordered and and added a second much smaller dingy with an electric Torqeedo motor. The new electric motor was delivered to the West Marine store in Southwest Harbor. This dingy will be used when we finally reach areas with clear blue waters and white sandy beaches where the dingy will be pulled onto the beach. We can't wait for that experience!

Return to the water
The big day arrives. It’s high tide. Bravo is sparkling clean and ready to go. The lift returns to carry Bravo carefully across the street to the dock and lowers her into the water. Not a moment too soon. Our friends, Pam and Larry are scheduled to arrive that afternoon for a visit and cruise on Bravo. Upcoming adventures with Pam and Larry in our next blog.

Bravo looks great, and temporarily blocks traffic as she makes her way to the water.

Slowly being lowered back into the water at last!

Side Note and Not Our Boat!
Shortly after we launched, a 65' boat barely limped into Southwest Harbor after hitting some rocks. As a result they destroyed two propellors, bent at least one of the shafts and the strut. Not pretty, but it could have been worse. It pays to always know exactly where you are on the water, and to take all precautions. 

Ugly, ugly, ugly.


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