Boat parts in hand, we had been waiting for a suitably gale-free day to move Traversay III over to the boat lift and extract her from the water.
Tuesday the 8th was not promising having the same gale warnings as every other day save the evening of the 10th. Nonetheless the day dawned calm. We rushed over to the harbor office and inquired of Charles the harbormaster if this might be the day. In the time it took him and his crew to prepare the travel-lift, we had untied our lines and were hovering in front of it.
Of course there WAS another gale in the forecast and no sooner had the straps of the 150 ton lift tightened on our paltry 18 ton weight when the gusty wind and rain returned. These were to be with us until launch time.
All jobs take longer than expected so it was with pleasure that we accepted a RAINBOW GYPSY dinner and drink invitation. RAINBOW GYPSY was similarly on dry land though for a somewhat longer course of maintenance and was parked not far from where we stood high and dry in the embrace of the lift.
Our work went along methodically with easily resolved problems until we came to the removal of the cutless bearing [yes, that IS the correct spelling]. This water-lubricated bearing is a cleverly contrived assembly of bronze and rubber that provides near friction-free support to the propeller shaft just forward of the propeller. It is pressed into the tube from which the shaft emerges with no part of it protruding to allow a grip for extraction.
Bob Stauffer, a machinist at the cannery, offered help. This is the same friendly, generous Bob who took us out many evenings on bear-watching expeditions. Bob made a tool, part of which was pushed through the center of the bearing to grip the far end. The bearing was then extracted smoothly and efficiently with no trauma to the surrounding metal. My subsequent insertion of the new bearing involved no such finesse - a large hammer pressed the bearing home with an intervening block of aluminum to soften the blows and protect the new bearing.
Further assembly went smoothly with the last task, aligning the engine to the propeller shaft just being completed as the wind died away.
Certainly we could use a new bottom painting and our propeller is a bit worn and needs attention but these are not tasks for autumn Alaska and must wait for springtime British Columbia.
A fine day here is not to be wasted so no sooner was the work completed and a few final farewells made when the harbor staff started the motor on the lift and gently moved us back toward the water. A few quickened heartbeats accompanied the lowering into the water as we checked that the parts WE had installed below the waterline did not leak! Then some quick tests were made and off we went toward the east.
Of course with a forecast like this:
SOUTH OF THE AK PENINSULA CASTLE CAPE TO CAPE SARICHEF
400 PM AKDT THU OCT 10 2013
.STORM WARNING FRIDAY AND FRIDAY NIGHT...
TONIGHT...SW WIND 25 KT DIMINISHING TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 10
FRI...S WIND 35 KT INCREASING TO 50 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. E OF THE
SHUMAGIN ISLANDS...S WIND 20 KT INCREASING TO 40 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.
SEAS 10 FT...EXCEPT BUILDING TO 16 FT W OF THE SHUMAGIN ISLANDS IN
THE AFTERNOON. PATCHY FOG. RAIN.
FRI NIGHT...S WIND 50 KT DIMINISHING TO 35 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS
18 FT. PATCHY FOG. RAIN.
SAT...S WIND 30 KT. SEAS 13 FT.
SAT NIGHT...SW WIND 35 KT. SEAS 14 FT.
SUN...W WIND 35 KT. SEAS 17 FT.
MON...S WIND 35 KT. SEAS 18 FT.
TUE...SW WIND 30 KT. SEAS 16 FT.
.. we may just be hiding somewhere until Saturday.
At 11/10/2013 01:03 (utc) our position was 55°16.35'N 161°34.24'W