This week has been quite exciting all told. Having set aside a couple of days to drag a reluctant Macavity out of her cosy garden hideout, arranged to borrow my Dads massive 4×4 (thanks Dad), booked the crane at Retreat Boatyard, and got a bit of help sorted out to ensure things run smoothly (thanks Becks and Alex) the met office started issuing gale warning for the south west with a predicted f8 to 9 on the days we had planned to shift her. No point in backing out if the crane driver’s happy I figured, so we carried on. It is a rather long operation though.
- First I had to blow up all the tyres on the trailer and check wheel bearings were still ok. Yep, fine.
- Next, jack up the trailer and remove the blocks placed there to get the weight off the suspension over winter. Done.
- Get the old Leyland fired up and hitched on for the first tricky section out across the field to the road. No problems.
- Get mast out and up on it’s transport frames on deck, lash the whole lot down….. tight. Easy.
- Trundle the whole whacky races construction across to a neighbouring massive car park to hitch on big 4×4. 7am now.
- Wiggle the short distance to the main road whilst hoping dearly that all bank holiday makers are not yet up to driving about in their cars. 7.30am.
- Relax for a bit up 15 miles of the A30 until Exeter and its traffic lighted roundabouts cause a bit more angst.
- Finally pull into Retreat as they are opening up for the day (yes, they work on bank holdays. Amazing place.)
- Spend the next five hours erecting the mast, tensioning the rigging, loading tons of gear onboard, and then returning 4×4, trailer and helpers back to their homes.
Yes I agree, it sounds like a huge amount of grief to go through every year and don’t forget, it’s all got to be done again at the end of September in reverse. I’d just about decided that I’d had enough of the stress involved with this job each time; so much (expensive) stuff could go wrong. How much, for example, would it cost me to clear the A30 of a 2 ton boat on a bank holiday monday if an axle snapped or a wheel bearing collapsed? How interested would the Police be in the whole, rather diy operation? This was the sort of thing I never used to worry about at all, but I now lose a nights sleep over it each time. Something must be done.
Winter yard storage is out of the question, as although Retreat are reasonable for the south coast, it’s more than I’ve got available for the cause. I don’t like the idea of a winter berth in Cockwood Harbour due to my already poor record of having stuff stolen from there. A boat haulage firm wouldn’t be interested or able to get Macavity down our narrow lanes and across the fields to our garden without a considerable cash incentive each time. So I’ve decided that the answer is to buy a more capable, super heavy duty trailer which should be less likely to have a catastrophic, law bothering failure on the A30 or in the middle of Exeter. I could then leave most of the interior weight in place for transport rather than having to strip the whole boat out to make her lighter each time.
This is going to have to be a cheap, elderly trailer in good nick with a 3ton payload capacity at least. My old 2 ton trailer can then be sold on to help fund the upgrade. This is my summer ebay quest. I will keep you posted.