Time and Tide…

I’ve often wondered whether people who do not live near the sea actually understand the saying “Tide and time wait for no man”.  I’d finally gotten a paint job on the motor and was working on getting paint on the various bolt on items when it occurred to me that I needed a higher tide than normal to float the motor back out to the boat.  I’ve been doing this for years, so one would think I would have been looking at it all along.  But I hadn’t.  I’ve been obsessing over various aspects of getting this job done but hadn’t actually looked at the tide table.  It was last Thursday morning when it dawned on me that we had been having a series of big tides and that I should take a look.  To my dismay, Friday morning at 4:00 A.M. (as in the very next morning) was the last tide for weeks that would work for getting the motor off the deck of my house.

You see, I have a hoist with a boom off a piling on my deck.  The deck is about ten feet above the beach and it takes a pretty good high tide to have water under the hoist area.  In this case I needed enough water to cover the beach so that I might get my inflatable dinghy under it and still have it float when I put somewhere around 450 pounds in it.

The amount of work that can be done with a rising tide is incredible.  I mean, just imagine, it can float entire ships, so the limit to what we can move with it is really a matter of how much flotation we can arrange.  Over the years I’ve moved all sorts of stuff.  But lessons on displacement are hardly needed I’m sure for anyone who has wandered in here for a look.  Over the years our beach has raised quite a lot, a couple of feet over thirty years.  Which sometimes causes me some alarm when I plan a job like this and realize that my brain is still using 1990 data.  The beach is rising from Glacial Rebound.  The same phenomenon that created the land-bridge to Asia somewhere in the dim past.  Until I learned about glacial rebound, also known as isostatic rebound, I always thought that the migration from Asia to North America was via ice, but it wasn’t.  The ice sheet had receded and the Bering Sea floor had rebounded.  Maybe as much as 500-feet.  Amazing really.  Or so the theory goes.  Regardless, our beach needs a higher tide now than it did thirty years ago, no matter what the cause.

Our motor hanging over the beach awaiting the tide and dinghy

  I have to admit that I wasn’t all that happy to be getting up at 3:00 in the morning.  As it turns out, it was a spectacularly beautiful morning.  It just happened to be summer solstice, so at that time of the day we had the remnants of the sunset, or the start of the sunrise hovering over the mountains to the north.  The pink glow still showing the brighter stars.  The nearly full moon was hanging high in the sky and making it’s way west.  Once I had dragged myself out of bed I was plenty happy to be there.  It did take a cup of coffee to help with my attitude. 

Ready to go

 When you visit a dinghy dock in marinas around the world, you can always pick out the dinghies from wooden boats.  Sometimes you can tell which boat they are from just by the color of the paint splattered on them.  Mine is no different, only now it has smudges of motor oil from moving my motor to the beach.  

I rowed out to the boat and used the boom and mainsheet to hoist the motor into the cockpit.  I rigged a couple of guys off the boom so I could control the swing.  All simple tools.  It amazes me how many people I know who own sailboats but think that they need a dock crane to do this kind of work.  I realized while rigging all this up that I was in heaven.  I was at perhaps the most contented moment in my life.  I love that kind of work.  No I didn’t take photos.  There really isn’t that much too it and I was busy.  I didn’t want to stop for a photo op.  Once the motor was swung over the cockpit it was lowered on to the bench and secured in place so that I could go back to bed to resume work later.  I was back in bed by 5:07 A.M..  Not bad for a morning’s work.

Upon returning to the boat the motor was slid forward of the binnacle.  A platform was erected forward of the binnacle to position the motor at the top of a plank that acted as a ramp into the galley.  I had Ginny lend a hand, an act on my part that caused her to be proud.  Not of herself, of me, as I am notoriously poor at asking.  But a second set of hands was pretty important for this part.  Gravity would carry the motor down the plank, so it wasn’t a matter of needed strength, what we needed to do was control the descent.   We hooked the main sheet to the back of the motor so that Ginny could use a winch as a brake and had the mechanical advantage of the tackle and we just eased it down the ramp.  Ginny paying out line and me guiding it down.   

So there it is.  Back on board.  I am doing some work on the reduction gear to make sure it doesn’t leak oil and it will go back out to the boat.  I will bolt on the flywheel and reduction gear and get it lowered back into place.  The bilge has been thoroughly cleaned.  My shop vac will never be the same again.  I decided to keep the screen below the motor as opposed to making a new tray to go under it.  The tray has some nice benefits over the screen but I can see through the screen.  One never knows when seeing into the bilge will be an advantage.  This was enough of an excuse for me to be lazy and not start construction on a tray. 

I’m still not sure what I might do about the cabin sole.  I’d like to reconstruct these hatches.  But it might wait.  Which means it might not happen at all.  That’s how it goes here once a project goes on the list of things to do.  There is still lots to do to get the motor back into position and fired up.  With any luck we will be back in business soon.  Of course, I’m only a couple of months behind on my other chores!