It’s a hard, hard life on the hard.
The last place you want to live on a sailboat is on the hard. Sailboats are meant to be water logged, ideally on anchor. They are not meant to be grounded.
Sailboats are deep hulled with long keels; on the hard they sit way up on stilts several feet above the ground. Cruiser sailboats are dependent on the sea they’re meant to be in; out of the water they are largely dysfunctional. The water maker has no saltwater from the ocean to desalinate. The engine has no saltwater from the ocean to cool itself as it charges the batteries. The wind generator has no sea breeze to spin it as it charges the batteries. The sink water runs out the thru-hulls and down the hull to a puddle in the yard below. Like a fish out of water, a sailboat and its crew cannot survive out of the water for long.
Looking out the port lights at the other stationary masts in the yard is surreal. The first day we hauled we both swore we felt Blue Moon rock at least once. A girl could get landsick like this!
We hauled in mid September at Manzanillo Marina Club in Cartagena, Colombia, and will likely be here until mid November. Living on Blue Moon up on the hard here has meant no onboard bathroom, limited onboard water, limited onboard power, and (as a result) no onboard refrigeration. It has meant incessant flies during the day, a torrent of mosquitos in the evening, and big blackbirds that come dance on our decks at 6:30am every morning. It means dust and dirt and fumes from work on the boats stacked around us, and a healthy dose of our own dust, dirt and fumes. August – October are the hottest, rainiest, least windy months in Cartagena (good planning on our part), so our solar panels and wind generator have been completely inadequate to keep the batteries charged and (as a result) the refrigerator cold, and the poorly wired outlets at the marina have precluded us from plugging in. Every trip to the bathroom requires a climb up and down a twelve-foot ladder and a walk across the yard. Every cold drink requires a ladder climb, plus a walk over to the bodega on the corner. Luckily, the bodega has “the coldest beers in Colombia” according to Jason, and at COP$2000/US$0.68 a bottle and 100F+ heat you really can’t beat it.
We’ve put ourselves and our boat on the hard to do preventative maintenance and necessary repairs. After two years cruising, it’s time to repaint the bottom with antifouling paint. After several months of an oil leak, it’s time to change the seals in the transmission. And as long as we’re here, let’s polish the prop, replace the cutless bearing, rebuild the winches, regalvanize the anchor chain, change the oil filter, adjust the engine valves, wax the fiberglass, polish the stainless, strip the varnish, oil the teak, fix the wind generator’s clunking, fix the dinghy’s failing pontoon end cap, etc etc etc.
We wait for weeks for a quote from the yard on how much requested work will cost, then wait weeks for parts and tools to arrive, then wait more weeks for availability to schedule the work. It’s slow and frustrating. (Have another of “the coldest beers in Colombia” the island girl reminds me.) No work on a sailboat is ever easy; no work in Colombia is ever easy; and (as a result) work on a sailboat in Colombia is anything but easy. There’s no convenient, well-stocked chandlery or hardware store. There’s no Amazon Prime. Anything not available locally has to be imported at great cost and delay or has to be improvised on the spot from whatever parts and tools you can round up. The yard employees have been the saving grace, doing the more labor-intensive work incredibly thoroughly and diligently, despite the oppressive heat and humidity. Thank goodness labor is relatively inexpensive in Colombia.
Hauling is at least a biannual event, and no haul is ever as short as planned. Getting the boat out of the water exposes all kinds of problems below the waterline, and you can’t splash again until those problems are solved. We’ll need to schedule it into our cruising schedule moving forward, but may consider staying on land while Blue Moon is on the hard next time. Maybe with air conditioning and cable television.