Saturday, May 14, 2016

Hingham Adventures: Popping the Cork on a 17 Year Old NEW Boat

We were coming back from Quincy on Thursday morning (May 10) around 11:00 AM when we ran into a traffic jam at the Quincy Fore River Bridge. While sitting in traffic, I got a call from Bob Swartz, my friend and the diver who cleans Guided Discovery's bottom.

Side Story: Getting my bottom cleaned is a bit of a problem. Hingham Shipyard Marinas will not allow a diver to clean the bottom at my slip. Nor do they have the capacity to lift my boat. So, due to some insurance issue on the marina's side, or a policy to force the boaters to use their lift for bottom cleaning, I am forced to leave the marina and anchor off Grape Island. But that adds complication. Bobby and I have to coordinate weather and tide. If he could clean the bottom at the slip life would be easy. At Marina Jack in Sarasota, the number one marina in the USA (i.e., Dockage Magazine's Marina of the Year 2015), they allow bottom cleaning at the dock and supply the divers,

Back to the story. Turns out we were both caught in the same traffic jam, which was a coincidence. Bob was calling to check progress on our Sarasota to Hingham voyage. During the conversation Bob said he was headed to his cousin's home just over the bridge in Weymouth to watch the process of removing a 44 foot sailboat that his cousin had built - I repeat built by his own hand over 17 years - from the "garage" (shed - call it what you will). Would I like to see the boat?

You've got to be kidding. Of course was my answer was YES and Bob provided the address. After dropping Diana off at the boat I headed over to see the sailboat.

I arrived around 12:00 PM, met Chris Ready, Bob's cousin, and was blown away with the project.

The sailboat sits in the shed awaiting removal
Notice the wooden boards used a a ramp for trailer tires (more on this later)
A bit about the boat. She's a 44 feet long sloop (one mast) with a displacement of 26,000 pounds. She was built from 1" mahogany planking.  She has one stateroom and one head. She's powered by a 63 HP Westerbeke diesel engine and carries 100 gallons of fuel, which gives her a range of just under 300 miles when running UNDER POWER at her hull speed of 7 knots (1,800 RPM). Her mast is 50 feet tall. Running under sail her range is unlimited. She has a 100 gallon water tank and will have a water maker for long range cruising. Chris provided a machinery room for a generator but does not plan to install one.

Chris is a 52 years old semi-retired carpenter who was schooled as a boat builder. Building the boat is a dream that he has made come true.

Bobby Swartz and boat builder Chris Ready pose with the boat
Chris selected the project from a book of boat plans developed by naval architect Bruce Roberts Gibson. He's been working on the project for 17 years. The project started with the building of a shed in the back of his mother's home. Atop that shed is an apartment where he resides with his wife, Nancy. He explained that the hull and superstructure were built during the 9 months where temperatures in New England permit construction in an unheated shed. During the dead of winter he worked indoors building the interior. At present the interior is finished. Unfortunately, Chris had sealed the interior two weeks. I would have love to have seen it.

The boat is currently 90% complete. Finishing the project includes installing a 10,000 pound lead keel (fabricated in Rhode Island), which is waiting for the boat in North Carolina, and then fiber glassing the hull and topsides. That will be followed by installing the mast, boom, shrouds and stays, railing and running gear (shaft and propeller). Finally, the fiber-glassed hull and topsides will be painted.

Chris was forced to move the unfinished boat due the sale of his mother's home. The yet unnamed boat is headed for North Carolina where Chris will have a 12 month building season.

I asked Chris what was involved in building the hull and how did he bend the 1" mahogany planking to create a smooth hull. He explain that very little bending was needed due to the spacing of the bulkheads. Essentially, he laid the keel and then installed the vertical bulkheads. The planks were then installed one at a time. The hull has a very smooth finish as you can see in the photos.

View of planks attached to stringers
Now to the process of removing the boat from the shed. Certified Marine Transport was selected for the job. Bryan and his three man crew were not on site when I arrived but their transport trailer was.

Certified Marine Transport trailer parked in front of the Ready residence
Turns out that the transport trailer in the photo above was too big either to get under the boat or once under and loaded, the boat would be unable to clear the top of the shed. So, Bryan and crew had left to secure a smaller (lower) trailer.

transport trailer in position to begin loading
The transport is backed as far as she can go without jacking the stern

Chris removing the forward keel support
Removing the port aft hull support.
Notice the blue jack stand supporting the boat's weight
Now you see the starboard support beam

Now you don't
Jack stand supporting the stern. The wooden supports are about to be removed
Bryan using hydraulic levers to lower the transport for movement further aft
Chris watching as Bryan slides the transport further back
My contribution to the project
"Hey Chris. You may want to put level the steps to the driveway
The transport will have to go over the stairs so the hull doesn't contact the shed's sides
Hence the boards over the lower stair
Almost ready

Chris and Bryan confer minutes before the move
The photos will tell the rest of the story.

The bow emerges

We pause to assess the next move
Notice the proximity of the truck to the house
Bryan makes some final adjustments

The "baby" is born

Empty shed after 17 years
She's out! Now will she clear the house?

It's close!

All clear. Now what about that uneven area? Will she tip?

Will she make it?


She's safely on the street. Awaiting transfer to the larger trailer.
Putting the jack stands back in position
Bryan's team starting the process of removing the temporary transport trailer
Chris, relatives, friends and transport crew pose for a victory photo
Thanks to Bobby Swartz for sharing this with me,

Written by Les

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hingham Bound: The Crew Visits Boston

One of the challenges for crew members is making reservations for the return flight to their home. Wylie was headed for Chicago while Tom was headed for Michigan. Both made reservations for Wednesday, May 11. Wylie made his well before our voyage started. When I pointed out he was, perhaps, a bit optimistic (i.e., we might have to lay up a day or two for bad weather), he informed me that it was changeable with a $42 fee. Problem solved. Tom made his reservation enroute once we had a reasonable expectation of reaching Hingham as predicted (on May 9).

So, on Tuesday morning we awoke to a spectacular sunny day with a predicted 68 degree high temperature. Diana proposed a trip to Boston. I proposed we wash the boat. Diana's proposal carried the day.

The crew was amazed at the 12 foot tides as shown by the two photos below.

At 8:23 AM we were at dead low tide

Photo of the pilings at low tide
We have an 8 foot margin for a tidal surge
At 10:00 AM we walked to the east side of the marina and caught the ferry to Boston, arriving there just before 11:00 AM after a stop at Logan Airport. Note: Hingham to Boston non-stop is 35 minutes.

Low tide revealing the WWII ways where warships were built 

South Boston viewed from the ferry
Fort Independence at the tip of Castle Island

Boston container port

View of The world trade Center, Fan Pier and Rowes Wharf (Note the arch)

South Boston waterfront looking toward Prudential Center

Logan International Airport

Rowes Wharf complex with its defining arch.
We then took a 6 mile walk through Boston where we visited a number of famous landmarks. Join us on our walk through the city with Tom's photos.

Leaving the ferry dock you walk by a lovely park

Lester, Diana and the Furry Kid (Kodi) in her Southeastern Guide Dog Ambassador Cape at historic Faneuil Hall

Old South Meeting House

Grave of Benjamin Franklin, signer of the Declaration of Independence at Granary Burying Ground

Tour guide in costume telling the story of Mother Goose

Historic Granary Burying Ground

Wylie, Diana and Kodi

Paul revere's grave

John Hancock's grave

Massachusetts State House with gold dome

Entering the Boston Common

Boston Common with the posh Beacon Hill neighborhood to the right

Beacon Hill

Boston Common

Beacon Hill residences

We walk into the Boston Public Garden just across the street from the Boston Common

Kodi, Les, Wylie and Diana strolling through the Boston Common

Monument to Robert McCloskey's famous children's book, Make Way for Ducklings
I read it to Lesley as a child. Now, she and I read it to Amelia (3/1/2)
Shortly Amelia will read it to us.

View of the one of the Garden's famous swan boats

A swan boat loaded with passengers on a beautiful day
The views are spectacular

Spring is busting out all over


Old State House

Art in the Union Oyster House depicting historical sites on the Freedom Trail

We stop for lunch at the Union Oyster House, billed as America's oldest restaurant

A street in the North End

Hanover Street in the North End
Lot's of great Italian restaurants

Statute of Paul Revere with the Old North Church in the background

Wylie, Tom, Les, Diana and the Kodi Dog
Arriving back in Hingham at 4:00 PM the crew helped me wash the boat. A six hour job, when I do it alone, took a little over two hours. We did a spectacular job.

Thank you Tom and Wylie for helping me bring Guided Discovery north for the summer. Your efforts, your congeniality and your friendship are greatly appreciated.

That's it folks. The Hingham Bound series is complete. I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed telling it.

Written by Les.