Operation: Haul Out

Where to start, where to start… it has been a while since I have written a blog update and after a recent dinner with friends, I was inspired to put a pen to paper (well, fingers to keys) and write out what we have been up to lately. A lot has happened since our last blog entry; we ended up moving Avocet to Ventura which is much more convenient for boat projects as well as work purposes not to mention that Tthe boatyard is right next door, all of the supply shops we go to are nearby, and our new neighborhood is pretty freakin’ sweet! We do miss our old neighbors very much… but thankfully we are just a hop, skip and a jump away and can meet them at Toppers Pizza to catch up on the latest dock talk (Hi Sven, Nancy, Gene, Patti, Don, and Sarah! We miss you!)

I feel like after our New Years’ kiss I blinked and when I opened my eyes it was already March 1st- where has the time gone? January was spent settling into our new slip and getting ready for our latest project(s) while February was a huge project in itself with a sprinkle of birthday fun in the middle. Chris and I began remodeling our nav station to be a more functional and attractive part of our boat while simultaneously preparing for our haul out in March. Once the bones of the nav station were constructed, we pressed paused and changed course to prepping the exterior for our boatyard stay. Chris and I worked together to removed the lifelines, stanchions, pushpit, pulpit and of course the biggest pain of all: our toe rail.

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One of our stainless steel stanchions in a bronze base plate… a great example of dissimilar metal corrosion on our boat.

When we first bought Avocet, Chris and I knew the toe rail and stanchions were weak parts of the boat, which was especially annoying since it was a major source of leaks, contributing to the Cheoy “Leak” nickname. With that said, Chris had temporarily fixed the problem by doing a bead of TDS along the seam which did actually prevent most of the leaking. However, after we removed what was left of the 190 bolts that held the toe rail together, we realized just what we were in for.

Over the course of 40 years, the stainless carriage bolts fastened with bronze nuts had lost most of their structural integrity due to crevasse corrosion which was a direct result of dissimilar metals. A majority of the bolts broke off at deck level when we were removing the toe rail, while the rest had broken off sometime in the last 40 years. This discovery explained a lot about the minor leaking issue we had when we first bought the boat back in 2018. After removing 12-inch sections of our teak toe rail (plus 2 longer sections that our spinnaker/genoa track wasn’t letting go of) we boxed up the usable teak for a later project and continued to punch the broken bolts down through the deck so we could retrieve them down below – it reminded me of pulling rotten teeth! Once the bolts were removed, I had the fabulous job of learning how to contort my body to access small spaces and aluminum tape the holes from the inside so Chris could fill them with epoxy from above. This would be a good place to mention our deck to hull joint (DTHJ) was completely different from what we had originally thought. Due to the inner side of the deck to hull joint being glassed, Chris had suspected the outer side of the DTHJ to be glassed as well. However, that was not the case. An open seam was visible and although the old toe rail was probably not structurally reliable anymore, it appears that it was originally designed to be a part of the structure. With that said, we will be glassing the DTHJ during our boatyard stay to make it strong and replace the toe rail with bulwarks.

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When the epoxy was dry we washed off the deck for the first time in a long time and watched the water-poor over the side where a toe rail used to catch it. As we took a step back to look at our naked looking boat Chris and I shared mixed emotions about the month ahead. We knew we had a long list of projects that would be physically and mentally demanding while partnered with the stresses of living on the hard which is essentially like living in the desert during a Skrillex concert; no water, very dusty, and the sound of obnoxious (yet somehow rhythmic) power tools.

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The last week of February was spent crossing final items off our list. We removed our pedestal, both our quadrants and built a new emergency tiller all in preparation to drop our rudder as soon as we got hauled out so we could begin working on replacing all the bearings along with checking up on the rudder shoe and the packing gland (you know, the thing that’s supposed to keep water out of the bilge). I did my final tidying below deck in anticipation of a whirlwind to roll through our tiny home – hopefully, the mess won’t get too terribly bad.

March 3rd was our haul-out date and we woke up confident as well as a little anxious. Chris started the engine and I cast off the bow lines then jumped aboard as we used the emergency tiller to get out of our slip and over to the yard. Luckily, the boatyard was less than a football field away from our slip, which made it just a bit easier to back into the slip where they lifted Avocet out (which was scary)  before power washing what was left of her ablative paint from 15 years ago and blocking her in the far corner of the yard. I will save the details for the next blog which will be dedicated to our boatyard stay, but as I finish typing this we are sitting safely 9 feet above the ground nice and snug aboard our tree house boat anticipating the many days of work ahead.

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All 8+ Tons of our floating home, elevated above us.

Thank you for reading along and following our journey! We look forward to sharing Avocet 2.0 with you very soon. If you would live to come to help us with our projects, feel free to reach out!

Cheers!

~ Marissa, Chris, and Cleo ~

P.S. We are well stocked with beer (or juice) for helping hands.