Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Things are looking better now

Since Sunday night, things have improved, although there were some ups and downs on the way.

I woke up Monday morning with an upset stomach after getting very little sleep. Part of the reason Dumbledore had been in such a big hurry to get my boat onto the trailer the night before had been that he had a whole lot of boat launching and retrieving to do Monday, so he hoped to get some of it out of the way ahead of time. To start with, he and Mother had agreed to use their big boat’s trailer to take Magnum’s big boat to Cabo San Lucas, which meant they needed to get their big boat off the trailer, take it to the marina at the other end of the lake, where Magnum and Mrs. Magnum kept their boat, swap boats, and bring Magnum’s boat back and put it on the big trailer. Also, Big K and Esther Williams wanted to go sailing on Mother’s boat, which meant launching it as well, and then retrieving it at the end of the day. And, of course, it being a holiday weekend, the scene at the boat ramp would be a zoo, with gazillions of fishermen and powerboaters and jet-skiers launching and retrieving, often without a clue as to the special needs of sailboats with keels and how they need to run the trailer out into the water on a rope to get enough depth.

Dumbledore had gotten up early and added lengths of pipe to the supports for the rear pads and front bunk of my trailer, so it would be ready for another test fitting. Then he, Mother, Tadpole, and some other people helped to launch the big boat, and Mother took off for the other end of the lake. Next, we took my trailer to the ramp; Tadpole and I went to fetch the boat, while Dumbledore, Yoda, and Uncle Jesse got the trailer into the water. We got the boat onto the trailer, but it wasn’t sitting right, so we pulled it off to make a straighter shot at it; because the trailer’s aft end extended beyond the bow of the boat, I had to back up to get clear and then go forward. At this point, Tadpole decided I didn’t know what I was doing, and so when I called for him to turn the motor around to go forward, all I got was back talk. Uncle Jesse was holding the bow line, and as Tadpole continued to balk, the boat swung more and more to the side, more and more out of line with the trailer. I had to repeat, louder and louder, “FORWARD! We don’t have time to argue; turn it around FORWARD! FORWARD!” Finally, he did turn the motor around, and we got the boat onto the trailer.

But when we tried to pull out of the water, we discovered that the rear pads were still too low – the boat didn’t do the dramatic tipping-over of the previous night, but it did lean. So it was back to the slip for the boat and back to the welding shop for the trailer. When Tadpole and I got the boat into the slip, I told him to secure the port bow line, but then he took his time and tied up the starboard spring line instead. By this time, I found myself repeating, “Stop being a teenager and start being crew!” All I got from him was an argument about why what he was doing was better than what I had ordered, both just then and earlier. By the time Tadpole and I got back to the boat ramp, Dumbledore and the others had already taken the truck and trailer back to the compound, leaving the two of us to walk back. Fortunately, as we were walking up the ramp, we met Mrs. Magnum, who was driving down to meet Mother and Magnum, and she gave us a ride back to the compound, where we found Dumbledore and Uncle Jesse working on adding more length to the supports for the aft pads and also bending them inward to provide better support for the narrow aft end of the boat.

Meanwhile, Mother and Magnum had arrived, and after a brief incident in which they tried to go through a channel that was too shallow for its keel, they got the boat tied up to the courtesy dock to wait their turn for retrieval. Dumbledore brought my trailer down to the ramp, this time hitched to the front end of the truck for better control, and let the trailer into the water next to Magnum’s boat, while Tadpole and I again went to fetch Black Magic. This time, we got lined up onto the trailer nicely, and when the trailer was pulled up out of the water, the boat rested securely on the bunk and pads. But then the front end of the trailer reared up, and Tadpole and I had to run up to the bow to hold it down; the position of the boat’s center of gravity is too far aft on the trailer, in spite of our preliminary calculations that it should have been just forward of the axle. But at least we got the boat onto the trailer and the trailer up to the compound so the center pads can be added, and a keel stop can be put in, a bit forward of where we’d originally planned, to bring the weight of the boat forward to where it should be. This will mean the forward bulkhead won’t be resting exactly on the forward bunk, but it will still be close. Also to be added are ladders on the support posts of the bunk, so we can climb up onto the boat while it’s on the trailer, rings to attach tie-downs, and more bracing, especially for the aft pad supports with their extensions.

The boat now looks very nice on its trailer – the trailer is much prettier than the one Black Magic arrived at the lake on, with its construction of duct tape and pole-vault poles. There are some nasty gouges on the keel from Sunday night’s mishaps, but those are primarily cosmetic and easily filled in.

Pat arrived just as we got Black Magic to the compound, and so he joined us in helping to retrieve Magnum’s boat (we briefly saw Cornhusker and Bassmaster retrieving their boat and waved to them); meanwhile, Uncle Jesse used his truck to launch Mother’s boat so she, Esther Williams, and Big K could go out sailing. The rest of us then went to lunch; after lunch, Pat and I did a bit of shopping, while the others went to de-rig Magnum’s boat at the mast-raising pole. We joined them as they were finishing up.

The wind was coming up, and Mother’s boat returned to the dock; Pat and I used our truck to take Mother’s trailer to the ramp while Dumbledore parked Magnum’s boat at the compound. After we retrieved Mother’s boat, the three who had been out sailing were hungry, since they hadn’t had lunch, so we all went out to eat – again. Late in the day, as the sun was going down, Pat and I decided to return to Albuquerque for some much-needed time together; we left Tadpole there to help Dumbledore in the morning with the finishing touches on the trailer, and we left my car there too, so Mother could borrow it if she needed (she doesn’t like Dumbledore’s truck). Before heading back to Albuquerque, we stopped for a brief visit with Cornhusker and Bassmaster.

This evening, we’ll be returning to the lake to retrieve Tadpole and the car, and possibly to help tow one of Mother and Dumbledore’s boats northward – there are two that they want to take up to Heron Lake for the summer, and they have only one truck.

Coming soon: more pictures.


Anonymous Adrift At Sea said...

It does get annoying when the crew won't listen... I think a flogging is in order. ;) Little steps CA... and congrats on the new trailer. :D

Wed May 31, 12:28:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

It's about done now; still needs some tie-down rings and painting, plus re-centering the boat on the trailer.

Wed May 31, 03:34:00 PM MDT  

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