Splash Day

Today is Wednesday May 13th and it’s splash day! The first day Painkiller will see the waters of Lake Michigan for the 2020 season. Moving a 30,000 pound boat is always an anxiety producing event, however we have trust in the marina staff to do a good job. We are excited to move from project mode to sailing mode. From dusty, dirty building to clean, cold water.

We are waaaaayyyy back in the back of the building with boats surrounding us and it’s splash day and we need to get out. First they move the boat in front of us out of the way. Our boat sits on a cradle that is a steel structure that is shaped like a rectangle that has 4 sets of poles on each side of the boat with pads on the end that go against the hull and support the hull and the boat from tipping over. Most of the weight of our boat sits right on it’s keel on the cradle with the padded poles on the sides to provide stability from the sides. Ordinarily a boat would be lifted by a travel lift with slings that go under the boat and lift it in the air. However, the travel lift cannot fit into the building and so they take boats out of the building with a huge trailer. The next video clip is the trailer coming in under the boat.

It took them quite a bit of time to get the trailer positioned under the boat and all adjusted to support the boat before they could start moving. Once everything was set, Painkiller starts her journey out of the winter building!! Watch out for the pole to the left! Whew, these guys know what they are doing.

Here’s another clip of moving on out with another pole to dodge on the way out. Now we are getting somewhere. I see the light of the door to the exit! It took 2 hours to get the boat out in the sunshine.

Once we are outside the building, they attached the trailer to a larger truck. The location of the storage building is about 2 miles up the Manitowoc river from the marina. And the storage building itself is several blocks from the Manitowoc river. So, we got towed through the streets of Manitowoc through a very industrial area to the Manitowoc river where we will be placed into the water. You can see in the video that we are following the boat in our car.

Next they positioned the boat near the travel lift, that’s that big blue thing that will lift our boat off the trailer and into the water.

And then just like that Painkiller is in the water!!

Now once we got the boat in the water, we had a few things to do, like check for leaks. Thankfully, all the water was on the outside where it belongs. The marina staff came and checked over the engine since we had them do a bunch of work over the winter and now was the time to test that everything is in working order. Once we were assured that everything was as it should be, Mark and I were ready to set out down the Manitowoc river to the marina which is a couple of miles away. Lots of new firsts for us. New waters, do we know where we are going? How do we get out of here? We have to pass under 2 bridges on the way to the marina. We have never done bridges before on our boat. Do we have our handheld VHF to call the bridge? We are unfamiliar with the entrance to the marina. Where are we going?

PK: “8th street bridge, 8th street bridge, 8th street bridge, this is painkiller requesting opening, approaching from up river, over”

Bridge: “Good morning Painkiller, we see you, we will open on approach”

We continued to motor toward the bridge and watching, wondering if they would open by the time we got to the bridge. There was that moment of hesitation, should we slow down? He hasn’t stopped traffic yet. How long does it take for the bridge to open? Then we realize that the bridge tender has likely done this before (hahaha) even through we haven’t. He opened both bridges right as we got there. All was good.

PK: “Thank you 8th street bridge, this is Painkiller, over and out”

After all that bridge stress, we passed by the Manitowoc Maritime Museum. Sitting right out from is a WWII submarine, the USS Cobia. Currently the museum is closed due to COVID, however we hope it will be open at some point for us to visit.

Now many of you might think that is enough for one day, however you might have noticed from the pictures and videos that our sailboat is missing something. That’s right, our mast is not yet on the boat. When we got into the marina we pulled the boat over to their mast raising area so we could do just that. Over the winter, we had the marina install on new standing rigging. That’s those wires that hold the mast up. Now for most of you that might seems as exciting as getting a new hot water heater in your house, but for us this is like Painkiller get all new shiny jewelry. Not to mention the huge safety issue of keeping the mast up. Have I ever told you there are only 3 rules to sailing? No? Well…rule #1 keep the water on the outside (we checked that out when the boat was put in the water); rule #2 keep the people on the inside (so far so good) and rule #3 keep that big stick thing up in the air (that’s what that new rigging is for). See how shiny?

Then in goes the mast…

This was an all day affair and we were exhausted by the time we got the boat to the slip and could relax a bit. See ya next time!

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