Well, I just returned from the last official road trip down to the boat with load of clothes, pots, pans and books in preparation for the trip up the East Coast. With two major storms on Saturday and Sunday with sustained winds of 30 knots, it didn’t look good for getting off the dock and over to Bay County Boatyard for the haul-out and bottom job. I was really worried since I’ve had minimal experience handling this boat and no experience getting out of the slip. The winds were blowing from the SSE and pushing the boat up into the slip at a horrible angle and boy it was nerve wracking. But, Monday morning came and the winds shifted around and calmed to about 5 knts. Thanks universe! Whew. We got out of the slip… not without incident though… while backing out, I noticed I had horrible steerage and power. Something was dreadfully wrong but I was already underway and couldn’t correct or stop at this point. So, after a fumbled start, boat hooks and four-letter words and all my neighbors watching, then turning away, we got out of the slip and underway.
A stop at the fuel dock to fill up and then off to Watson’s Bayou. We pulled into Bay County just after 9 am and Yates and his crew were all assembled around the lift. They hooked us up and lifted her out without issue. Once in the sling, I discovered why my steerage and handling were horrible. BARNACLES! Tons of them. I was going to have the diver go clean the bottom on her usual monthly schedule. But being that she was hauled out and cleaned on April 2 for the survey, I figured, nah… I’ll just get her done when we pull her for the bottom job in May. Wow! 6 weeks later and you’d have thought she’d never been cleaned. Barnacles covered my prop, shaft and jammed themselves in between the rudder post and the rudder, which is why her steering was so difficult. Amazing. Yates said if just 10 barnacles attach themselves to your prop, it will cause you to have to use about 10% more power to achieve the same speed. So if you run at 2000 RPM and you have barnacles on the prop, you’ll need to run the engine at 2200 RPM to get the speed you had before! I was running at the optimal 1800 RPM and we were only doing 3.9 knts when in April, we were at about 5.9 knts. CRAZY!
Anyway… She’s on the hard for about two weeks getting new bottom paint, buff and wax of the hull, a new strainer and some barrier coat on the bottom of the keel where it’s been depleted since the previous owner went about 3 years between bottoms. Not so good. Cha’ Ching. So, when I pick her up on May 23, she should be beautiful, clean, sound and with a smooth, pretty bottom. And you know how we men are about smooth, pretty bottoms.
This is my last official week at work. We have to clean the apartment in preparation for moving out completely. I have to get some paper work done here at the office and finish up a few minor things. It’s been very strange realizing how quickly this moment is coming. We’ve received a lot of nice emails and notes. My crew has been so sweet with their offers of help and support and boy oh boy, Jet is in for a big surprise.
I am today doing what I have done for the last several years around here. I get in early, make some coffee, sit at my desk and just enjoy the quiet before everyone shows up. That’s becoming harder to do and I’m trying really hard to keep it together. The magnitude of the moment is upon me and I’m struggling with how to sum up the last 21 years, 9 months and 27 days. A dog is said to live about 7 years in the time span of one human year. I think I have a better sense of what that might be like right about now. I have lived four lifetimes in Nashville.