I had booked my haul out for April at WMYC months earlier. Being next door to the marina I live in meant I would have some support from my marina family – an invaluable resource for a haul out newbie!
The Monday before my haul out rolled around very quickly.
“Just checking if you need anything else from me for Friday’s haulout?”, I emailed the marina to double check.
“Sorry Kahlee, we actually tried to call you a couple of weeks ago to let you know that we can’t haul you out anymore” was essentially their reply…
What?! Lucky I checked… Unbelievable, I thought.
I had spent weeks organising contractors, engineers, mechanics for various works and checks that Kuna needed. Now, with 4 days to go in the busiest part of the season right before Easter long weekend I was back to the drawing board with everything. I’d have to find a new marina, that was affordable, hopefully close, and hopefully have all of the various contractors available that I would now need to re-book…
And they would all need to have everything done in the 3 days before Easter long weekend.
It seemed like an impossible task, and to top it off I was now debating whether to tackle the dreaded antifoul job by myself, rather than trying to find a professional who could do it at such short notice. Doing it myself sounded like hard, time-consuming, dirty and unenjoyable work. Paying someone $1,700 to do it sounded financially painful.
Like anything with boating I was getting mixed reports on the difficulty and time it would take to complete an antifoul. Given that I would only be hauled out for 6 days some friends said there was no way I’d be able to get it all done, while some told me it was a 2-day job max.
I did what I do in most situations like this and broke down the pros and cons of both options.
Pros of doing the antifoul myself:
- I would know my boat better, and learn something new
- It would be cheaper, as I wouldn’t be paying for labour
- I wouldn’t need to find an antifouler at the same time as trying to find a marina
- I would “feel” like more of a sailor, like I was working hard towards my dream and putting in the work required – because if it’s not hard work, I feel guilty and undeserving!
Cons of doing the antifoul myself:
- It would be stressful to fit that plus the other mile-long to-do lists (yes, lists, there’s multiple!) into 6 days
- I hadn’t organised anyone to help me with it
- I would have to organise and buy all of the materials, and I didn’t really even know what I needed – brushes, suits, masks, rollers, trays, primers, antifoul, sanders/sandpaper, masking tape
- I wouldn’t be able to do any client work – and if I was doing client work (which I love doing!) instead of antifouling, then maybe I could afford to pay an antifouler
- I’m not a professional. I could do it wrong. There could be surprises that I don’t know how to deal with
At the end of the day, after a lot of back and forth both internally and over discussions with other sailors, I found a middle ground and made the decision to pay an experienced marina friend to do the work for me. The cons list won this time!
I was already feeling stressed (which is not normal for me!) about my to-do lists, deadlines, the upcoming first big trip, mounting client work and Kuna’s bills – so at the end of the day I had to do what felt right for me and remove as much “fear of the unknown” from the equation as possible.
The Wednesday afternoon before Friday’s haulout I finally found a boat yard who could fit me in. After what felt like one hundred phone calls to marinas, contractors, antifoulers, comparing quotes, organising logistics of moving my yacht to a far away boatyard and so on, I settled on a boatyard tucked away up a creek in Redland Bay.
But being up a creek meant we would need to carefully time the high tide to make it in, or risk running aground.
So I rallied the troops – some of my precious marina family crew consisting of Jon, Brett, and Jenna – and at 3.30am we made our way in the dark 3 hours south and up a narrow creek. We touched bottom once in the creek, but otherwise made it in without issue.
I handed my lines to the shipyard manager and watched in awe like a worried mother as they hauled Kuna from the water. I fell in love with her all over again at that point – maybe it’s just me, but there’s just something about seeing your yacht out of the water that fills you with pride!
So there we were, high and dry after a week of running around, re-organising, and a level of stress that I’m not used to.
My first haulout week (or two) had officially begun.