Craned In

21 March 2015

I put new lettering on the back of the boat last week - she used to have Poole, now she has Arun Y C. A day before crane-in I'd taken the rudder and the engine down to the boat and re-fitted them to the stern. Quite heavy items so I was keen to avoid carrying them down to the water and hanging them on the back whilst afloat. So Elsa was all ready and looking smart with a newly painted bottom.

 Crane-in day on Saturday started early. The cranes were already in place when I arrived at 0800 and the drivers were being fed their usual hearty breakfast while we waited for the tide to come in. Then about 0930 it all kicked off and it's quite a rush to get all the boats in before the tide turns. Mine was one of the last to go in so I spent all morning helping the others - when a boat descends from the sky into the river it takes 3 or 4 blokes to catch the lines, swing the boat round to the correct alignment, hold it away from the pontoon while the lifting strops are undone, then the owner has to leap aboard and start the engine and drive it away and into its berth while the crane is picking up the next one. A hat is useful as when the crane takes the strops back up into the air, after putting a boat in the water, they're wet and the dirty water drips heavily onto the heads of the helpers.

By about 1200 mine was the only one left, after making sure the lifting team were OK I went down to the water to catch her as she came down.

We were able to push her into the berth and I got aboard for the first time since October, opened the hatch, and got the keel wound up so she'd settle properly into the mud then stopped for lunch.

The outboard has been in my shed all winter and I haven't done anything by way of servicing this year. There was a bit of last year's petrol left in the on-board tank so I connected up the pipe to see if it would start - which it did on the third pull. I found about two buckets worth of water in the bilge, probably from the winter rain. I put the sprayhood back on and the sails back aboard ready to re-fit next time I'm there.

So she's back afloat and everything works but not ready to sail until I re-fit the sails and sheets, and there's still a lot of stuff at home in the loft including the interior cushions that I need to get back aboard.. I went back to the club later in the afternoon to collect my metal prop stands and clear up the various bits of wood I'd been using.

Looking forward to the season ahead!


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