Sunday, July 17, 2016

We have a Better Solution for You

With my rudder jammed and the clock ticking, sleep didn't come easy for my skipper- Corleto

After a tasty and somewhat relaxing supper on the waterfront, we walked back to Corleto. She was tied up at the very end of the dock, to the stern of a massive power cruiser. She was the smallest craft along S Dock.

With a full belly and a tired and fatigued body, I thought sleep would come easy. But with the events of the day, the log strike images swirling around in my head, it would not. Again I tried to think of solutions. All of them seemed too complicated, too physical, too wet. I don't know when I finally dozed off, but at around 1 am I woke up with a start and a solution in my head. I checked my iPhone for messages as I always do when I wake up in the middle of the night.

My man Kinc had sent me a message and strangely enough he had thought of a solution as well. As I read his suggestion, it was evident that we both thought of the same thing. It would involve a half haul and a cutting tool to remove about a centimetre of the top of the rudder. It made perfect sense at 1 in the morning and with that thought I quickly went back to sleep and slept well.

Waking up, I was excited and nervous about what had to be done. I told Charlene what my plan was. She was not convinced that cutting was the answer. But she patiently listened to me explain the rational behind my idea.

When the boat yard finally opened, around 8 am, I made the call. I spoke to a man who had heard the rather lengthy message I had left after closing last evening. I explained my predicament. I asked if I could get Corleto on the travel lift and if he could rent me a cutting tool. I explained what I planed to do.

The voice on the other end of the phone said: "I think we may have a better solution for you sir."

He did not explain any further and told me he could get me on the travel lift as soon as I could get the boat over to the boat yard.

Corleto still could not steer. So I got in touch with the folks at Sea Tow Nanaimo. It was not long before their vessel pulled alongside Corleto and tied up.

A serious looking skipper as the Sea Tow Boat comes along side
With care and expertise, the crew from Sea Tow guided Corleto off the slip and into the channel. In the conversation with one of the crew, he had told us that they had heard my call to Victoria Coast Guard the previous afternoon and they were loading up to head out to us when the call came that we had accepted a tow from a "vessel passing by". He also told me the area that we had our misfortune was notorious for disabling boats as they navigated either to or from Dodds Narrows. Oddly that did not make me feel any better about my situation, but it did take the sting out of the experience.

With skillful pilotage the tow skipper brought us into Stones Boat Yard dock. Its very narrow and there are plenty of large expensive boats to potentially crash with. But with the confidence of Capt. Highliner, the skipper brought us in gently. And with my thanks and my credit card slip he was on his way.

Corleto patiently waits her turn for the travel lift at Stones Boat Yard

The Boatyard foreman told me that he had 3 other boats before me to haul out, so if we wanted to go for a bite he recommended two nearby establishments. I felt much better now as I knew that the worst case, the boat would stay on the hard and we could take the nearby ferry back to Horseshoe Bay. We decided to go for a meal. It was just about 11 am as we ordered food and watched the goings on next door at the boat yard. Just as I finished my meal, I noticed that the Yard Crew were positioning the travel lift to Corleto. I jumped up and asked Charlene to tell the waitress that I wasn't dining and dashing, but wanted to supervise the lift.

Secure in the travel lift and being moved in the yard to get the rudder free
They moved Corleto into the work area and a man who was the shipwright came over to have a look. He asks me if this is my boat and then tells me what his plan of action is.
"We are going to bend your rudder pin by using a strap and a "come-a-long" anchored to the yard's fork lift."
I answer: "You sound like you know what you're doing sir."
He answers : "This is not my first rodeo,,,, I do about three of these a week"

This man goes on to explain to me the risks involved in such an operation. Things like breakages and hull damage. I said well if theres breakages, then at least she's on the hard. So lets get 'er done.

It might be hard to see in this picture, but the rudder is pinched into the back of the hull

With his watchful eye, his crew positions the forklift and come a long strap. Another climbs a ladder and boards Corleto.

"Tell me if you hear or feel anything on the tiller." Says the Shipwright. His crew very attentive to his instructions.

One of the workers begins to tension the strap.

"OK! Give me three clicks." The Shipwright commands. "Two more,,,,,, hows the tiller?"
"Good" Replies the lad on the tiller. "Tiller's free!"

The Shipwright answers and then eyeballs the gap between the rudder and the hull. He carefully checks all sides. "One more click" he asks

The come a long makes the distinctive click sound- "Good!" says and then asks the lad up top to run the tiller through the entire arc of travel. "Any obstructions?" The tiller man says no.

The Shipwright looks at me and says "Thats it, you're done."
I thank him and the rest of the crew for looking after me so quickly and professionally. And since Corleto is in the sling, I ask for the bottom to get an unexpected power wash.

"No problem sir."

With a clean bottom and a rudder thats now free, Corleto is returned to the water
As I turn around to go and settle up my bill, a man whom I had not noticed during the "fix" was standing behind me.
The man says "You don't recognize me do you? "
All at once I realize this is the man who came to our aid less than 24 hours ago.
I said "Forgive me, I did not see you there as I was zeroed in on the crew fixing the rudder."
"I went down to the dock where we left you guys yesterday, to see if there was anything you needed and I saw you were gone. So I thought I might check the boatyard and here you are."

I again thanked him for his kindness and for coming down to see that we were ok. The kindness and willingness to help from this stranger was deeply moving to both me and for Charlene. Again he would not accept payment for his troubles.
We had a short conversation and I wrote his name and phone number as well as the names of the rest of his crew. He told me they were from the Nanaimo Sailing Co-op and that they sail weekly at the club. I asked him where they go after their sailing evenings to sit down and have a drink. He pointed to an establishment that was right beside the Boatyard and adjacent to the Sailing Club.

I went over to that establishment after the man left and bought a gift tab for him and his crew. "A Thank you to the Crew of Santa Serena from the crew of Corleto Murray and Charlene."

I left him a voice message that there was a gift card in his name for he and his crew and " They could enjoy some libations and tell the bar of their daring High Seas rescue. And to embellish the story as he saw fit and that the crew of the Corleto would back up every word."

Charlene happy that we are finally on our way home

By the time I returned from the the bar, the boat was back in the water and we were soon on our way. It was just after 1 in the afternoon and we set out for our home port of Horseshoe Bay. It was a long passage and as we left Nanaimo, we both knew that we had been very fortunate to have had our troubles where we did.

I couldn't help feel that we were richer for the experience and the wonderful helpful people that we had met.

From Charlene and Murray -Thank You SV SANTA SERENA and her crew

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