A Non Descript Boat Yard
“There are good ships and there are wood ships, and ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be.”
The last time he hauled out the S/V Jeannie Marie was nearly four years ago. The last time I hauled out the M/V Western Flyer was just last August 2014. This morning I helped my friend Tim motor his sailboat to what I can best describe as a nondescript boatyard. Nondescript is a word used to describe something that isn’t special or unusual in any way. You might have trouble finding a nondescript boat yard because it looks exactly like every other boat yard you’ve been to. But wait, there is something very unique about this boat yard and that is the rather large boats all around. Within a four block area we are probably surrounded by more than a dozen container ships.
Tim’s job order called for bottom paint and other useful stuff like keel bolt replacements and possibly removal of more than a few few blisters. This boatyard was probably built decades before the start of the Panama canal, the yard is old, industrial looking and well suited to taking care of any LARGE floating vessel. Our sailboat looked rather small.
“Any boat can be fixed, you just need to keep throwing money at it” Quote from my Portland mechanic, Adam.
Some owner really loves this old sailboat as it looks like it was recently saved from the boneyard and depths of Davy Jones’s Locker, an idiom for the bottom of the sea.
“Blisters (can only happen on a fiberglass boat) might signal a major defect due to either inferior materials or poor techniques when the hull was built, but absent a blistering history with other boats from the same builder, you should be slow to draw such a dire conclusion. Blisters also occur because an inattentive worker may have failed to apply the gelcoat uniformly; because fluctuations in the mix from the resin sprayer may have created spots of soft gelcoat; because features in the mold may have induced thinner coverage; because the gelcoat may have been sanded to excess by the owner or yard; because chemical stripper may have been used on the bottom; because contaminants in the water may have attacked the gelcoat; or a dozen other reasons.”
The 26 year old Western Flyer was hauled out last August, in Portland, Oregon, guess what, no blisters.
A visit to a working boatyard is a great opportunity to look at boats , many times at their worse. Imagine jacking up your house and then walking around it admiring all the bottom areas hidden from view. How long do you think she’ll be “on the hard”. That is how boaters describe their non trailerable larger sized boats, once they leave the safety of the water.
This non descript boat yard uses a WWII type crane to lift the boats out of the water and a submersible type lift for the really big mega yachts. Unfortunately the yard was not yet ready to haul us out when we arrived so we did not see it in operation. All around the workers donned white painter type throw away jumpers, hard hats, and various type of respirators. Everyone we saw appeared to be extremely busy, including the non yard staff. I would trust this place to do a great job, based on the yards longevity, professionalism, safety records observed, and the type of yachts we saw there today.