I met Charlie at the boatyard at 8:00 AM and we got right to work on removing the rudder. Neither of us was entirely certain how it was held on but it appeared that a stainless steel cap screwed onto the top of the rudder shaft. Initially when we tried to unscrew it we couldn’t. I posted a question to the always informative C&C list and got a couple of replies that confirmed that it should unscrew and the rudder should drop down.
Charlied fabricated a three inch fiberglass “socket” which fit over the cap and used one of the two set bolts to secure it. With that the cap unscrewed easily.
Unfortunately, the rudder didn’t drop. At all. Hmmmm.
We applied the tap it down method. No luck there either. Shook, turned and bumped it. Again no good. We started to think that the flat plate that secures the upper part of the shaft in line with the tube needed to be unscrewed also. That was physically impossible.
We scratched our heads a bit and kept on jiggling it. Ultimately it broke free and slid down.
With all my other boats I have had to dig a hole in the yard to get the shaft clear of the hull but this time there was room to spare. One of the benefits of 6’8” draft I suppose.
Rudder out of the way:
With that job done it was time to bring in the travel lift. Charlie wheeled that into place, led the straps and got ready to hoist. The owner of the yard came over to inspect my handiwork on the keel cradle and gave us his blessing to start the lift. The boat came up. And so did the keel. Stuck pretty firmly to the keel stub.
The yard owner, a man of much experience in running a yard and designing and building large powerboats walked over and started kicking and shoving the keel. As he was doing this we could see the hull/keel intersection start to open up. Shortly thereafter, with a significant crack, the keel feel away, Fortunately only about 4 inches. It settled right into place in the cradle and with that we just kept on hoisting the hull.
Okay, so the bilge wasn’t completely dry...
What I had begun to suspect when I was grinding the hull/keel joint the day before turned out to be the case: when a previous owner had the bottom milled off for blisters and redone with epoxy, they must have dropped the keel too. And when they reattached it, instead of any sealant, they filled it with epoxy. The real world consequence of that was that there was no need to use a Sawzall to clear away the joint.
The final lift:
No sealant for me, just epoxy if you please...
One thing that the owner that had the bottom job done was that he either replaced or did not remove the butyl tape sealant around the keel bolts. There was absolutely no wasting of the keel bolts which was a tremendous relief to me. They appeared as clean and secure as the day they left the mold at Mars Keels. I will be using butyl when I re-attach the keel for certain.
Just need a bit of cleaning:
So, finally, the hull, all 8,000 lb. of it, drove off to the shed. Good to see it moving.
Backing down to the shed:
The yard used to have two very large marine railways, none of which are in use any more. But one railway was left in place leading down into the first of two in line sheds. They built a railway carriage to hold boats and move them into and out of the shed with a small tractor. Pretty clever. This shed is insulated and heated so that operations can continue throughout the year.
Blocking the hull for work in the shed:
So, from here on I will be constrained on how much that I can do on the decks. Best estimate is that she will emerge with a fresh new coat of AwlCraft in around three months. Given temperatures and my schedules that is fine by me.
Inside the shed:
It was long day for me, fraught with unknowns but ultimately it proved to be a pretty simple and easy procedure. May the rest of the project be the same...