Monday, September 18, 2023

On The Move

Lots to do!
The end of August brought about a whirlwind of sorting, packing, repacking, and storing all the equipment I had picked up from the seller's home.  It was a lot.  I rented a storage unit for a month so I could organize everything and pack them in storage totes that I could bring home and store in the attic of my shop until needed.  Along with that, I secured transportation to get the boat hauled from Great Bay Marine in Newington NH, to my neighbor's dairy farm about a half mile from my house in Canterbury. 

The farm is the perfect spot for the boat with a nice flat area with no trees around it, complete with power and farm equipment that could eventually be used to help get the engine back in the boat.  The owner actually seemed excited when I asked him if I could store the boat there.  His grandfather was a cruise ship captain and he always loved the sea.  Once the boat arrived, he told his kids that he was selling the farm and was going to go sailing off into the sunset (they quickly found out that it was a joke).

The weekend before the move, I went out to Great Bay Marine with my wife and son to start getting the boat ready for transport.  This was a big task because the boat had been covered for several years with 25'x40' tarps and a steel tubing frame.  The big job was to get the boat uncovered and mark and dismantle the steel frame so I could reassemble it once the boat was moved. In addition to that, there was a bunch of equipment up on the deck under the cover that needed to be stored down below.  

We started by partially re-assembling the interior so we could move around a bit better when disassembling the frame.  This included reinstalling the galley peninsula and all the floorboards and cushions.  Once back together it was nice to see how the boat could look inside and I was really impressed with the quality and condition of the cushions and floorboards.

Looking like a yacht again
Once everything was cleared off the decks (including taking down the dodger), we started dismantling the cover and frame. All told there were 4 - 25'x40' heavy duty tarps covering the boat and they were in excellent (but unwieldy) condition. We folded and numbered each one as they came off the boat.  I had originally thought that once the boat was back home I would shrink wrap it, but considering how dry the boat was (zero water leaks) and the quality of the steel frame, I decided that it would be best to save some dollars and reassemble exactly what had been working for so long.
A quick note on the previous owner who had passed away. He was an incredible engineer who's acheivements among other things included desiging and building a vacuum pump on the Mars Curiosity Rover. It was apparent that he thought through every aspect of the rebuild and it was up to me to decipher his plan (in the many 3 ring binders of data he collected).  I have yet to find anything that he did that was half-assed and some of the solutions to problems he encountered (the steel frame for example) were actually brilliant.  With that said, we labeled every piece of the steel frame and then started dismantling and orgainzing it for reassembly.  Once it was all taken down, it was a pleasure to see how great the boat looked.  The Niagara 35s have that classic 'salty' look that I have always loved and is one of those boats that looks great from all angles.

The frame
After that we spent about 2 hours securing everything for the move and temporarily plumbing the deck and scupper drains in case it rained prior to me covering it again. It would be a crime to do all that work only to have a rainstorm (the norm in New England this summer) ruin the interior because the deck and scupper drains had no hoses and would just fill the cabin up with water.

It was a full days work, but I knew how much more was to come before I even began on the actual refit.  2 days later I showed up at Great Bay Marine again at 7:30AM to wait for Miles Marine to transport the boat to it's new home.  They arrived right on time and they got right to work and by 9:30 the boat was loaded and heading back to Canterbury.  I drove ahead and waited at the turnoff to Velorum's new home.  They made the move look easy and set the boat down right where I had planned and got it setup without a hitch.  

A new home (for a while).

Over the next few days I reassembled the frame and got the boat recovered and ready for the refit.  Normally, Northern New England has a few late summer days that are warm(ish), but each day I headed over at lunchtime it was 90+ degrees and the work was brutal.  The steel tubing was so hot I could barely hold it as I bolted it in place, but I got it done and before the rains hit so everything stayed dry.  After that I needed a few days to rest, knowing that the real work was just beginning.

It's a wrap!

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