For months, we have been weighing the options for getting our boat out on the hard for some routine maintenance. We knew we had to - one of the sail drives had become completely denuded of paint and electrolysis would soon be destroying the metal. For those new to boating, electrolysis is the bane of any salt water boat owner. The salt water carries a small electrical current which attacks exposed metal and will eventually eat through it. To counteract this, you keep a good coat of paint on any metal parts in the water, and put on some zincs to conduct the energy away from your boat's metal. So we had to pull our boat out, and the sooner the better.
Those of you paying attention will already know that it is completely bogus that the paint came off that sail drive. It was brand new, installed one year ago in California, then taken apart and redone in Mazatlan in March 2009. Add to which, the bottom of the boat was painted in California and it should have lasted two years. I can't answer why we have had to pull our boat out four times in one year for all the same problem parts, but I do know that we have become pretty expert at weighing the benefits of different yards and finding ones big enough to haul us.
Because that is the "Problem with Catamarans". There is really only one, but it is a pretty big one. Our boat is 22 feet wide. The majority of boatyards in Mexico are not equipped to haul out a boat that wide. Which means that you have few options for help when you need to get your boat on land for repairs. Your options are Careening, using a Boat Lift, or using a Rail System.
Careening is when you intentionally put your boat on the beach on a fairly high tide, wait for the water to go out, do your work and then wait for the higher water to come back and float you off. Definitely an option we were interested in at Bahia de los Angeles but unfortunately, you could not buy the paint we needed way up there. So that was off the list. Next option was using a boat lift, like Malvina's in Mazatlan. But we have been there and done that last year and it wasn't that fun. Malvina's was the boat lift used by the commercial fishermen of Mazatlan to pull out their huge fishing trawlers, but it was the only lift wide enough to accommodate us. Since it is in the commercial yard, it is way off the beaten tourist path, miles from anywhere in a very dirty, industrial part of town. Not very pleasant. Our third option was to use a boat rail system, which intrigued us. Basically it is a huge railroad cart, on railroad tracks, with a pulley system to pull the cart out of the water. The width of the cart could easily accommodate Just a Minute and even larger catamarans. The problem with the rail system is that you have to stay on the cart while the work is done, which means it should be fairly quick work, since the boatyard cannot haul out anyone else while you are on their cart.
Which all added up to our decision to use Abaroa's Boatyard in La Paz with its rail cart system. Patrick checked them out, spoke with the owner and was assured that they had lots of experience with catamarans since they service the Moorings catamaran charter fleet. Great! And they were reasonably priced. Yeah! All systems set to go, and we decided we had found out solution.
Stay tuned for the actual haul out story, coming soon to a computer near you.
5 days ago