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Old 08-23-2016, 09:00 AM   #1
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To Launch or Not to Launch--What Would You Do?

Stella has been on the hard since last May and was only in the water briefly after a hard winter up here. I have been working through a long list of upgrades--"gold-plating" her, my wife might say--including rudder bearings and packing, shaft alignment, engine mounts, tons of new wiring and electrical gear to move her toward ABYC standards, inverter, ISOBoost transformer and below the waterline through hulls and seacocks. She is close to being able to launch and now the question is when. I've been doing this on weekends with 4 hours of driving each day and, of course, the usual rules of "more time and money" than envisioned apply.

Stella is on the upper Chesapeake. I'm getting ready to retire from my job near Philadelphia and return to our permanent home in Tennessee. There will be a lot of demands on my time over the next few months associated with this.

So, I have a choice: 1) launch her later this month, put her under a shed for the winter (with bubbler) and hope she's OK while I live 760 miles away. Or 2) leave her on the hard for the winter and start fresh in the Spring when I have more free time to spend on her. If I do option 2, how much am I risking with the engines etc, by allowing them to stay unused for the better part of a year?

Sorry for the length of this, but it's helpful to see it in print.
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Old 08-23-2016, 09:37 AM   #2
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Those of us who boat in New England do this all of the time. Put your boat on the hard, winterize your engine, generator, A/C system and fresh water system and rest easy knowing it will be safe.


Bubblers fail, power systems go out and storms can strain dock lines. I would prefer the security of being on the hard.


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Old 08-23-2016, 10:13 AM   #3
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Several sheds on the northern Bay have collapsed from heavy snows in the last decade. Never pretty.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:19 AM   #4
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What are your plans for the spring? Where will you keep the boat after your move to TN?

I hate seeing boats stuck on land, but I'd probably resist the temptation to launch this year. Having it in the water is no great benefit if you're not going to be able to use it.

When will your retirement happen and then the move to TN?
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:35 AM   #5
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Is heading south after launching a possibility? She sounds ready.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:46 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Those of us who boat in New England do this all of the time. Put your boat on the hard, winterize your engine, generator, A/C system and fresh water system and rest easy knowing it will be safe.


Bubblers fail, power systems go out and storms can strain dock lines. I would prefer the security of being on the hard.


David
Makes a lot of sense, Dave. This is what I'm leaning toward. Just wondering if I can get a second year out of the shrink wrap. Thanks.

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Several sheds on the northern Bay have collapsed from heavy snows in the last decade. Never pretty.
Must be awful. We were at Bohemia Bay last year and heard about E dock's (IIRC) roof collapsing. The new roof looks like you could run trains across it.

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What are your plans for the spring? Where will you keep the boat after your move to TN?

I hate seeing boats stuck on land, but I'd probably resist the temptation to launch this year. Having it in the water is no great benefit if you're not going to be able to use it.

When will your retirement happen and then the move to TN?
We'll probably keep her on the Bay next year and actually go boating instead of just working on her. The loop is also in our plans--if not next summer, then the one after--and it makes more sense to start from the Chesapeake than TN.

Retirement from full time starts in Oct (Halle-frickin'-lujah!!!) Back in TN by November. Consulting--with considerably less demands on my time--commences in January, if not before.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:51 AM   #7
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Is heading south after launching a possibility? She sounds ready.
Good thought, Craig. She could probably be ready, if I had more time between now and when I'd need to leave. But pushing to get her ready for a big trip isn't appealing as I wind down up here. Thanks.
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Old 08-23-2016, 10:54 AM   #8
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Correction!

Well, I just noticed a rather substantive error it my original post, which I was trying to write while running to a meeting.

Stella has been on the hard since May, 2015.

Hence my worries about her sitting up too long.

Sorry for the confusion.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:13 AM   #9
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But pushing to get her ready for a big trip isn't appealing as I wind down up here.

Was less thinking about it as a "big trip" and more of a "delivery run" to be honest. There's worse things in the world than wintering the boat in Ft Pierce. Sounds like you'll be boating ready by January/February but your boat will still be on the hard awaiting spring up north.

Staying where your at would be cheapest option for sure.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:21 AM   #10
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We'll probably keep her on the Bay next year and actually go boating instead of just working on her. The loop is also in our plans--if not next summer, then the one after--and it makes more sense to start from the Chesapeake than TN.

Retirement from full time starts in Oct (Halle-frickin'-lujah!!!) Back in TN by November. Consulting--with considerably less demands on my time--commences in January, if not before.
Depending on what is possible with your other demands, I would then do one of the following:

A-Leave her until very early spring but as early in March as possible, launch and shake her down thoroughly with a target of being in NYC to start the loop on May 1.

B-Leave her until spring and then use a lot next summer on the Chesapeake and in surrounding areas. Then winterize and bet in NYC to start the loop on May 1, 2018.

For the loop, if my plans were to keep the boat in TN, then I'd just do the NY to TN run and then use it extensively on the rivers. At some later date I'd go on down and explore then the gulf coast and the east coast up to the Chesapeake, but keep it south in the winter for year round use.
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:14 PM   #11
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Thanks for the good ideas, everyone. I'm going to chew on this awhile.
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Old 08-23-2016, 01:32 PM   #12
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I would wait to have a fully seaworthy boat before winter storing in the water in CB. If all that remained was cosmetic work above the waterline then ok
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Old 08-23-2016, 02:07 PM   #13
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I don't want to ever be on the hard in the winter again. But we live in western Washington. If fresh water wasn't near as in a river I'd want to be in the water in SE Alaska too. Only once was Willy frozen solid in Thorne Bay and that was because of the river.

West coast is altogether different in this respect.
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:46 PM   #14
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Since you're leaving the area, why not splash her and move her down to Norfolk. I'm thinking a covered slip at Atlantic Yacht Basin would be good. That would also give you the ability to go play with her during the winter except late January through the middle of March.

I may not be the best person to take advise from. Splashed my boat just before Christmas and left late January for Florida, while the ice was forming around my boat, after a two year refit project.

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Old 08-23-2016, 05:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Just wondering if I can get a second year out of the shrink wrap. Thanks.
.
I'm with Dave... Those of us in the NE leave boats on the hard every year - it helps if the yard is active and someone checking periodically to let you know if there are any issues
And I've done a second year on shrink wrap several times.
Several of us used to wrap our own boats and reused the wrap for 2 yrs w/o issues.

If generally in good shape buy a roll of shrink wrap tape and patch any minor holes / tears that might enlarge w/ wind / weather.
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Old 08-24-2016, 05:56 AM   #16
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," how much am I risking with the engines etc, by allowing them to stay unused for the better part of a year?"

No risk at all IF the boat was put to bed using the engine mfg advice for long bterm out of service.

The shaft will need to be aligned AFTER you launch , even GRP boats change shape on the hard .

Be sure the boat has a garbord plug that is pulled , a leaky deck can fill the bilge.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:50 AM   #17
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My Decision!

I'm going to leave her on the hard for the winter. No sense in splashing her just in time for winter, when all I'll be doing is more work on her (including replacing the heads with Marine Elegances and installing a Purasan; installing a new MFD, AIS and radar; rewiring the DC safety ground system and recaulking/rebedding every seam and fitting on the boat).

Bryan Smith reassured me that the Lehmans will be fine for another winter just as they are (winterized properly last year) and that was my biggest worry.

Some time in the next couple of weeks, the new wiring and electrical gear will be powered up with my electrician standing by. Really looking forward to that and I'll post how it goes.

Next Spring, we'll launch a significantly refit boat and spend a lot of time exploring the Chesapeake.

Thanks for all the good advice.
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