Here’s the final installment of Hurricane Sandy… And in true Josh style it’s several months late.
First a quick confession. I had debated about not posting this as we were very close to possibly giving up and selling the boat out right after all the issues we had over winter which is why this blog hasn’t been updated recently. Part of it was to hide what damage had been found in case this would dissuade potential buyers. But after all the repairs were done and some other stuff that had gone on we decided to keep Pathfinder and continue our life on the moderately high seas.
Ok. Enough soul baring onto the Dry Dock.
When we finally were able to get going to the dry dock my Dad took the helm and I was on bilge watch duty (this is primarily because my arms are skinnier and I’m a bit more flexible than my Dad so if something happened to the plug when we were pulling out I could fix it a bit quicker in an emergency). Getting out proved to be more tricky than initially anticipated as we were extremely hard aground and backing up required several minutes over going at 1/4 power in reverse to blow out ground below us. Eventually though we managed to slowly pull backwards and into deeper water. The cruise over to the dry dock was uneventful if a bit stressful as I was running around checking for leaks etc.
Once we got to the dry dock area they weren’t quite ready for us so Dad docked us in a single smooth move into the wall just in front of dry dock ship. Honestly his docking skills are seriously mad at times. An hour or so later we met with the dry dock workers and they started to flood the old ship that they use as their floating dry dock and shortly after we were hauled into place and the dry dock started to pump itself… well… dry.
The dry dock takes about an hour or so to fully pump out but afterwards we (naturally) took a variety of photos… And ya. Pathfinder is a LOT bigger once she’s out of the water.
After the guys hydro blasted the bottom they got to work on the hull doing a survey and checking for any other weak spots. The welded over the patch and a few days later we were ready to launch.
So with the hole patched over they started to flood the dry dock again… When disaster struck! Another hole appeared! They quickly pumped out what had already filled in the dry dock and we were back on the hard.
What had happened?
Well a few things.
- Because a boat is meant to be floating on water and not sitting on land the hull flexed a bit making and other weak point weaker.
- Since when I picked up the boat it had been left in the ocean almost unattended for a few years the bilge in the cargo-hold had been partially filled with sea water which at the steel from the inside out
So with both those items we were forced to do a very thorough hull examination (even more so than what is typically done) and another 7 holes in were found bringing the total to 9. Given the history it was decided to simply ensure that the entire area was safe and 2 new steel plates were welded on for the entire length of the cargohold (and then some) to form 2 new garboard strakes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strake) which are essentially the plates of steel on either side of the keel. This took several more days naturally since it went from welding a piece of steel the same size as a small paperback book in place to 2 sheets of steel over 2 feet wide and 20 feet long into place.
WHILE this is going on (cuz of course we’re not really done yet) we were supposed to be going into our winter slip. Fortunately the ship that goes in after us (Kajama) to seal us in for winter was very understanding as they had gone through the same sort of ordeal before. And the ship that goes in after him to seal him in (Empire Sandy) is owned by the owner and operator of the Toronto Dry Docks. Luck was on our side for timing all through this along with the patience and cooperation of the Harbour Front Center staff.
After all this work (totaling $18,000… ouch) we were launched and able to head to our winter slip. My Dad brought one of his friends, Chris, with us to help with the lines
(sorry I can’t remember your name!) (Update: Got the name. Sorry for gaping on it. I’m really bad with remembering names), Dad was at the helm, and I was panicking in the bilge to make sure that there were no leaks. Which there wasn’t!
Fully repaired and not sinking anymore we slipped into our slip for Winter and buckled down to face off against mother nature again.
HUGE thanks to
- Everyone at the Toronto Dry Docks (http://www.torontodrydock.com/) you guys are a nutty bunch and do frankly awesome work
- Craig at the Harbour Front Center for helping keep everyone organized and informed with what was going on with our poor ship
- The captain of the Kajama for understanding our situation
- My parents and sister for being there when the days got particularly dark
And finally my wife Jeannie! They say your first year of marriage is the most difficult. I had always assumed that that meant just personality clashes and leaving the toilet seat up. But since we’re us NATURALLY it’d be something else entirely.
Here’s a few other photo’s of the underside of the ship and the dry dock itself.