Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282 
l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Uncovering Chip Ahoy for the 2013 Season!
Saturday, April 27, 2013

Click thumbnails for a larger picture

Last year after this ritual on March 18 I wrote:  "After a record-breaking, extraordinarily mild winter with very little snow, the big day to uncover Chip Ahoy arrived, earlier than usual a month earlier than last year. Today was sunny, the temperature climbing into the low-70s, and more of the same is forecast for the week ahead."

What a difference a year makes! Though I've seen worse winters. this one was no joy, with a couple of good snowstorms and very cold throughout; I burned through three cords of firewood, and spring has finally arrived very belatedly, especially by comparison to last year's. But finally it was here enough to uncover Chip Ahoy  though still only in the low-60s!

With comparatively nice weather forecast for the coming week it was time, at frigging last.

As I prepared to trailer the boat out from alongside the house, the first thing I noted was that both of the trailer's safety cables had corroded completely through, would need to be replaced before moving the boat any further than to out front; adding to my 2013 To-Do List already.

Before I moved the boat first I needed to grade the lot out front. When I had the new steps put in last fall the contractor filled in with a truckload of pea stones, then the snowplows rearranged them. I needed to re-rearrange a big pile of the crushed stones to level where the boat would be parked. I should have done this earlier so the situation would be ready when it was time to uncover, oh well.

Again with the able assistance of Gilly the Cat and Barbara as traditional official photographer I got started with the actual uncovering ceremony at about noon. This annual ceremony is become such a ritual that it's just a lot of the same moves all over again for a decade now. It went smoothly and quickly, and I'm getting smarter . . .

This year I remembered to mark the tarps, so I'd know the order and position when I need to cover the boat again come next autumn's ritual covering exercise. Funny I found that I'd done likewise in the past, but didn't find my Sharpie-inscribed notes on the tarps last fall. I marked both sides of each tarp this time, while Gilly the Cat inspected the undersides and occasionally helped pull the tie-down ropes taut while I stretched and folded them, when he was so inspired.

With one of the two tarps off, folded, and stowed in the shed, I went back for the forward tarp. I found a couple of the skeleton frame PVC fittings had separated, will need to be re-glued before before next fall. The breeze had begun to pick up, so Gilly the Cat and I had more fun pulling off the second tarp and folding it.

It didn't take long to complete the uncovering; soon Chip  Ahoy was ready to board. The spring pre-launch commissioning for Sailing Season 2013 is ready to begin.  (Apr. 27, 2013)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The morning after, I took a walk-around checking on obvious conditions that will need attention. A heavy growth of barnacles needs to be chiseled and scraped off for sure near the stern-heavy waterline. On the port side there's a dark scrape that'll need special compounding and polishing attention. The bottom definitely needs a good sanding and a new coat of bottom paint but that has been the plan, along with inspection of the keel.

The interior is in the best shape I've seen it after a winter under the tarps; it needs less scrubbing than I've ever seen, just a relatively quick cleaning once I reseal the forward hatch. Those Bounce drier sheets and charcoal briquettes really keep the cabin smelling fresh over winter!

The trailer safety cables definitely will be replaced quickly one side broke off in my hand when I tried stretching it for a measurement.  (Apr. 28, 2013)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Today I finally got the mast off the boat, when the landscaping guys showed up to cut "the grass," whatever. All I needed, was waiting for was another set of able shoulders. Gilly the Cat supervised, then the wild turkeys showed up to patrol, to herd the wild mallard ducks across the lot.

After everything settled, whew, Chip Ahoy's uncovering/exposure is now completed. I'm ready to move on with this year's projects.  (Apr. 30, 2013)

Sailing Season 2013 has officially begun!