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Project Log:  Tuesday, August 24-Wednesday, August 25, 2010

With an appointment at 0800 to meet the owner's representative to finalize the purchase of the boat (the owner was away on a boat delivery that had taken longer than anticipated), I drove down to New York Monday evening to stay in a motel so I could be on hand at the appointed hour.  I'd engaged ECT Boat Movers of Westbrook, CT to transport the boat to Maine after my local hauler, who was my first call, had declined the job and instead recommended ECT.


After consummating the purchase and loading the old engine and sails into my truck, I removed the shrinkwrap, which the trucking company had required, and spent some time securing the mast with several tie-downs.  Later, I removed a huge radome from the mizzen mast (which was stored on sawhorses next to the boat) to make it easier to load on the truck when it arrived; the dome, a 24" diameter version, was ruined anyway from the sinking.

With my short list of projects complete, I settled in to wait for the truck.  It was about 0845, and the truck was due between 0900 and 1000.  Joe Jr. and John arrived around 0945 and began the loading process, which took a little longer than usual since the boat had settled into the earth, and the hydraulic trailer, which was designed and optimized for trucking powerboats, wasn't quite as versatile as true sailboat trailers.


The boat was loaded and strapped down by 1100, and John got in the truck to pull her out.  The boat was located in a small cleared area just off the driveway, with a slight slope away from the driveway; in addition, nearby brush required that the truck pull up the driveway towards the house--a relatively steep grade--before backing down to the road, as there was no clearance to head straight down.

The boat was loaded far aft on the trailer, as the trailer's design intended, but this left the 5th wheel extremely light, unloading the drive wheels of the truck.  So the truck spun out almost immediately when John tried to pull the boat up the slope.  Several additional attempts to get the truck moving up the slope also failed, at which time we discovered that, in addition to the difficulty in gaining traction, the right side of the trailer had sunken deeply into the ground, which had been softened by nearly 6" of rain a couple days before.  This made the prospects of the truck getting out under its own power virtually nil.

The person I'd met to complete the transaction was a building contractor who, along with his son, was doing work on the owner's house, and the two of them were hanging around and watching the events.  Located on site was a mini-excavator, and the first thought was to try and use the machine to pull the truck out.  Unfortunately, no one had a chain on hand--straps only.  But even so, this almost worked:  the excavator's arm had almost enough power to get the truck's rear wheels onto the crushed stone driveway, which might have been enough to get it going.  But the arm ran out of power and couldn't pull any more, leaving the truck just short of being free.

Next:  try a small 4WD tractor that was also on site.  This didn't really help, though, and a lack of coordination between the tractor driver and the truck meant that the tractor was jerking the strap at the wrong times, eventually breaking two straps.

At this time, we made the decision to call in a wrecker rather than waste more time and risk damage or injury.  After making the call, we all sat around to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  The wait seemed interminable, and stretched to over an hour and a half before the wrecker finally arrived.  As I'd been standing around doing essentially nothing since 0800 (it was now after noon), I was thoroughly bored and ready to head home, so the sight of the wrecker was a welcome one.

In short order, the wrecker set up a 2:1 winch cable and pulled the truck partway out of the cleared area and slightly up the hill, before needing to reset a bit further up the hill to repeat the process.  After three resets, the truck, boat, and trailer were safely on the driveway and ready to back out of the curvy driveway.



There was one more hurdle ahead:  backing onto the road, one of the lower plates securing the trailer's suspension airbags got hung up on the pavement edge, requiring the guys to release the air, strap up the offending bag, and try again.  Finally, they were free, and at 1400 I headed home, leaving the truck to make its own way (they wouldn't arrive at my shop till the next day anyway, as planned).  After making a desperately-needed stop for food along the way, I passed the boat in a rest stop where the guys were checking straps, but unfortunately I couldn't get my camera out fast enough for a shot.

The next morning, the boat arrived at my shop without fanfare or drama, and was soon unloaded outdoors, where she'd stay for a short time to allow me to wash her out before putting her in the shop for the project.


Total Time Today:  n/a

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