Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Gallant Hours

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Gallant Hours . It stars James Cagney as Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey Jr. during the battle of Guadalcanal.  Save this for a rainy day afternoon.  There is a poignant song that is sung at the beginning and close of the movie. The lyrics can be found below.

  • I knew a lad who went to sea and left the shore behind him. 
  • I knew him well the lad was me and now I cannot find him. 
  • Away, away, away he went, in deep and salty water. 
  • His girl she waited years for him. She was his neighbor's daughter. 
  • Away, away, away he went and left the shore behind him. 
  • I knew him well the lad was me and now I cannot find him. 
  • Away, away, away he went. Away he went and now I cannot find him. 
  • The rolling sea he would embrace, the rolling sea hath took him. 
  • And passed him on a lonely beach, the roaring sea forsook him.

So, why the poignancy? Friday, was the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend.  My wife, who like me, still works full time, arranged to take a long weekend off to help with our shakedown cruise.  I brought the Constance Marie to the loading dock to dovetail with our supplies.

Captain Denis was there with his boat, the Brazen Article. He was helping me furl the brand new 135 head sail I had recently bought.  We ran the sail up and it make it to about two feet from the top of the mast.  We brought it down and tried to put it up again with the same results.

Denis asked for pair of binoculars and scanned the top of the mast.  Oh no! (see Figure 99 below). Denis gave me the binos and said to focus on the top of the mast.  My stomach dropped.  I felt the gloom of Mordor settle over me.  I realized that Memorial Day fantasy weekend would have to wait. I turned to my wife and told her that the fore-stay was unraveling and the mast could come crashing down at any time, not to mention tearing our new head sail if we were to go sailing. Olivia smiled at me and told me she understood.  I then made a phone call to the boat yard manager.

We are blessed at our yacht club to be within a mile of a great boatyard. It's a well known working marina with most of the essential amenities. What makes this yard stand out is that it is more a community of tradesman who specialize in various aspects of boat maintenance. And the head operator is a first class businessman.

Figure 99 - Anybody know a good rigger?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Queen Constance Marie, Her Carriage, Driven By A True Prince To The Chesapeake Ball

The big day has finally arrived!  Launch day 2015.  Off the hard of land and into the soft of water.  The old girl is officially in her 35th season of a rendezvous with her best friend, Chessie.  

Figure 96 - Gently my Prince
Figure 97 - Robert is one of our best drivers
It's a special feeling when your boat hits the water, then you check for leaks, and you signal the launch crew....NO LEAKS!

Most landlubbers do not realize the skill it takes to drive one of our boats into the water.  Just off to the port side of that rear traveler wheel is a "hole" that if it is hit, tests the very strength of our cables and straps and oh yeah, the driver.  Being on the dock as the Captain watching your boat jerk about a foot, tests any Captain's nervous system.

Figure 98 -  Good-bye Copper.  Hello Chessie

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Lady Has A Date (Memorial Day Cruise), Put On The Make-Up

Figure 89
Well, it has been over two and a half years since we purchased the Constance Marie.  It's time to put some paint on the her.  She is a Hunter and so she should be made to look like a Hunter.  Break out the gray non-skid and Brightside White!
Figure 90

We taped around all the non-skid areas.  I was surprised to see how much gray was going to cover the decks.  It changed the whole appearance of the boat.

While the deck was drying, I went below and knocked off the front berth, the head and the main galley with three coats of anti-mildew primer and two coats of Brightside white.
Figure 91 - White before Gray
Figure 92 - Yes!

Figure 93 - Forward berth
Figure 94 - Head sink

Figure 95 - Head area

Saturday, May 2, 2015

She May Be A Cruiser, But She Looks Like A Racer

I heard about YC-17 racing paint.  It dries a copper color on the hard, but when placed in water, it turns the color that is listed on the can.  In this case a dark blue gray. Figure 87 below shows you how the rudder looked with three coats of YC-17 on it.

Figure 87

For a 35 year old boat, the Constance Marie's hull is in excellent condition.  It took about an hour to do each of the three coats over the course of four days.

Figure 88
Being that the Constance Marie is moored in fresh water near the top of the Chesapeake Bay, I did not apply any barrier coating.  We will see how we prevail over the course of the season with our cruising plans and look for barnacles in the fall when we haul out.