On the beach

Careened for insurance survey

This risk is outside our underwriting guidelines, and as such, we are no longer able to offer renewal for these reasons:

Type of vessel – trimaran.

The previous insurers are no longer in the business of insuring trimarans but OAMPS, my broker, have found a new insurer for me. But they want an out of water survey report, which turns out to be not as easily done as it would have been back in Queensland.  Most slipways do not have enough clear width to be able to haul her out — cos she’s a whopping 36ft wide.  The typical new style of “slipway” are not a slipway at all but a straddle-lift and these can usually big enough to take a 20ft or 26 ft maximum width.  The really big ones are horrendously expensive.

So what I need is a old style slipway, with rails, and with good clearance on each side.  And those that I did find that had enough clear width also have four tall arms that are used to snugly hold the boat on the cradle as it is being hauled out.  These arms are usually too tall for Current Sunshine to float over the top of and so they have to be removed.  Which requires a crane and maybe a day’s work to do. Again making it unreasonably expensive to haul her out just for a survey.  But she is just about due for antifouling and maybe if I can find a yard whose arms are easy enough to remove, and do the antifouling as well, perhaps it can be ok.

Malcolm arrived early so we could catch the 6.30am high tide

The best chance was at Lovetts Bay Boatshed and Michael Rich there went to a lot of trouble to have drawings done of the cradle with Current Sunshine on it to verify that it could be done. But even so the cost would be high for arm removal or adaptation, and I was beginning to run out of time.

Putting it on the beach was looking increasing attractive. I’d never done this before, and even though it should be perfectly easy to do, I was still a bit apprehensive about, mainly because I’d never tried it before. It would mean I still have to find a way to slip her another day for antifouling, but at least it gets the survey done.

One last call to Lovetts Bay Boatshed.  Michael has another plan, which might make it a reasonable cost.  But he still has to double-check measurements, and it could be a day or two before we know if it can be done.  But the next few days have perfect tides for putting her on the beach, and the next two days weather forecast is for very light winds in the mornings. Perfect conditions for careening which I can’t let go by.

You can see from the photos she dries out nicely on the beach with hardly much heel at all.  And its still quite easy to attend to important tasks such as putting the kettle on. The survey was done comfortably and we just need to wait now for the mornings high tide to take her off again.

A popular tidal flat for careening multihulls

The night was still and I slept well even without the usual gentle rocking.  I set up a stern anchor well off in deeper water and with three lines bent together. I stretched the lines so there was some tension on — tending to pull her off the beach.  As soon as she floated in the morning, the stretched lines pulled her off and out into deep water.  The early morning was so still that she did this herself without the slightest help from me. All that remained for me was to pull in the anchor and ghost back to the mooring.

The tidal flats at Bayview are ideal for careening and popular with with catamaran owners to attend to out of water tasks.  Perhaps careening is not quite correct these days because its associated with doing serious work such scraping the bottom or caulking the seams. But these days its off limits to scrape anything off the hull or otherwise spoil the beach.

So bottom cleaning still awaits, and lets see if Lovetts Bay boatshed can come up with a clever way of slipping her without fuss…

Back to Pittwater

Simon at the wheel close to Barrenjoey - some more wind now

Not having a rudder was a real dampener on travelling anywhere, so no sooner than I got it back in I was itching to get moving again.

Leaving Sydney harbour was a slow and gentle process with a very light westerly to waft us along.  This is when I really appreciate the quiet of an electric motor—running at only a few hundred watts it is barely audible.  It doesn’t intrude on the serenity of sailing in the quiet of the morning but helps us along at a few knots.

It feels just like sailing, but just a little quicker than the morning zephyr could manage.

Easing the sheets she opened up to 12 knots coming into Broken Bay

As the day unfolded the wind picked up nicely until we had a 10 to 12 knot nor-easter when we arrived at Broken Bay. And after we came in the heads and cleared the shelter of Barrenjoey headland a gust came of the hill and pushed us along at 15 knots. And with Pittwater full of holiday boats it was comforting when the gust dropped away again and we resumed a more leisurely pace.

It was good to be back in Careel Bay where I’d arranged a temporary mooring for a day.  But the allocated mooring was unexpectedly occupied and while the boatyard sorted it out we took a line from Woronora moored nearby.

Peter at the wheel and his jolly boat tagging along behind

Next morning I took her to her new home at Crystal Bay, just 150m from the office.  Peter from Woronora came along for the very quiet sail to her new home. There was barely any wind at all, and again we used the motor at very low power so it didn’t intrude but helped impress onlookers with our light weather sailing skills.

I now have a 5 minute commute to work—rowing in the inflatable.  Not having to drive the hour from Balmain each day is nice change.

A forest of masts behind her at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht club

And already my sleep is better and my days go along much more easily.

Towed to the Police mooring…

At the wooden boat festival on Saturday morning was the first I heard that something’s amiss:

Current Sunshine has dragged her mooring and she’s caught up with another boat. Don’t worry, there’s not much damage and NSW Maritime boat is here and we’re about to tow it to the police mooring.

No – there’s nothing you can do, she’s in safe hands…  can’t talk any more just now.

Do you find that when someone says to you “Don’t worry…” it can be a challenge to not worry about what’s going on?  And for a man especially its difficult to be hanging around waiting to hear the next news. Its a call to action, and there’s no action to take.

So I sat on my hands, so to speak, and attempted to be attentive to what I was doing at the wooden boat festival.

The evening before I had the option of house sitting for friends in nearby Lilyfield, and because it would have been wet row out to Current Sunshine – it was bl0wing about 20 knots from the north – I opted for the more gentle option of house sitting.  When Current Sunshine is at anchor I worry about her dragging, but I’ve been content when she’s on a mooring. And especially as the wind was not expected to be that strong – just a 20-25 knot northerly followed by a change to the west at a similar strength.

I heard again from Rob after another hour that she was safe on the Police mooring and that he would be at the boat festival soon. At which time over a cuppa he told me how she had dragged back on another boat and her bow had made a hole in Current Sunshine’s topsides above the aft deck. Rob was the first on the scene and was in the process of running more lines to her bow from other moorings to take some pressure off where she was mated to the other boat. When the NSW Maritime boat showed up and offered to help.

This is the hole ground by the other boat...

It was not until the calm of the next morning that I could get out to her to see for myself.  The hole is mostly in non-structural parts except for the wooden pad that the rope clutch is mounted on. Its easy enough to fix – just a lot of fiddly work to get it to tie in evenly to the existing deck and topsides. And I’ll probably have to replace the wooden base pad for the clutch which would mean making the hole bigger. It seems that when the boats came together that was enough to stop her dragging and they sat together ok, now with two moorings holding her.

Luckily enough the other boat that she dragged onto was already damaged, so it seems that will not be a major problem.

Broken rudder pivot.

The rudder is also broken at its pivot point. The rudder was in the raised position which means it pokes out the back and it would have been the rudder that hit first and put pressure on the joint in a way that was never intended.  Repair of the rudder may be the most difficult job.

In the photo it doesn’t look as much damage as the hole, but I suspect it will require a lot of rebuilding – it has to be really strong. This pivot allows the rudder to be raised in shallow water, and can be fitted with a shear pin so it can break if the rudder runs aground.

This morning I’ll have a better to chance to check her over more fully and be sure this is the extent of damage.