So. By now I'm sure you must all be saying to yourselves, "Well 'Dawg! It's about goddamned time!"
That's easy for you to say. You haven't been mired in legal troubles brought on by a brother who decided to become a horticulturalist, unemployed, or, involved in a major real estate sale. Thankfully all those diversions are now in the past and also thankfully, pleasantly resolved, which leads to the point of this page.
After weeks of being almost ready for the rollover, weeks of imagining every disaster possible, weeks of nightmares of the boat falling off the "hook", I'd done everything possible to get ready except order the crane. At work I asked a Sprinklerfitter if he could spare a couple lengths of 2" pipe. "Seven would be nice." Seven I got. Thanks Kevin!
Three weeks ago, in another fit of "Is everything OK?", I decided to compare the bolt spacings between the ballast keel and the keelson. Good thing I did because I discovered a serious problem. Sometime between measuring the two I confused 1'-6" with 16" and misplaced one of the bolt holes or bolts. Brian and I cut plywood and installed the remedy, two weekends ago I drilled the new hole.
Brian, Mongo and I cleaned the shop floor last weekend, chipped goobers of epoxy off the floor so the rollers would roll, sanded high spots, then vacuumed several times. I added a 2x6 stiffener gunnel-to-gunnel to the #2 frame, the rear "pick points". We moved the garage door motor up so the door could open all the way up.
With everything was about as ready as I could hope for, the only impediments were the Usual Suspects' schedules. Mongo had to be in Boston, Brian had finals, Alicia was off on a religious experience "for school", Mike Wagner, the Operating Engineer I was hoping to use with the crane had his kids for the weekend. So, in order to get all the right stuff in the right place at the right time I put off the rollover until last weekend.
Had I insisted on an 8:00AM start, as was my original intention, I'd have been out some serious bucks for a Saturday rental. Earlier in the week while speaking to Bobby Thackray, That's THACKRAY CRANES 1-800-34-CRANE, I told him the whole story of building the boat. He asked if I really had to have an 8 o'clock start. Being a flexible kind of guy, I asked what he had in mind. That particular crane, he said, had an early job to do on Saturday but if I could start later, I could "just take care of the Operator" when he got there. Thank You Bobby!
The crane got to the Graving Dock at 1:20. I sent it home at 4:20. When we were all done I took care of the Operator handsomely. Rolly Laczkowski was a true artist at the controls. More than that really. Never have I seen an Operator get as involved with the pick as Rolly did. He hopped down to check this, check that, get a better look at the rigging, help us pull the boat out, and later push her back in the garage when it was time.
Making the pick involved some rather unconventional rigging. A small crane like the 25T boom truck we had only has one reel/cable/hook. In order to make the four-part pick I had in mind, we'd have to hang two of the spreaders from the boom and two from the hook. The two spreaders on the hook were simple to control, but the ones hanging from the boom would require booming up or down or scoping in or out to adjust the load. Rolly made it all look effortless. Again, Thanks Rolly.
(The above ramble was a subtle delaying tactic to give the pics time to load for thems of youse what got a dail-up connection like what I got. Hope it worked.)
Below is a photo record of the afternoon. It has a different filename sequence because they are Brain's pics. Somehow while helping at both ends of the boat and hopping around all over the place he managed to take the best and most poignant pics all day. You all may want to file them in a seperate folder. Mine's called 2003May03. Mongo brought a digital movie camera and thanks to the four succesive cinematographers there's a 70 minute video. Thanks Mongo!
This is a sign for the Operator to find the place. Doesn't look as though I have much of a career path as a grafitti artist, does it? As it turned it out the dispatcher called me on my cell and told me the crane was in the neighborhood and lost. So we all stood out in the street and "talked him in".
I'd gotten to the yard at about 7:30 and dragged the cradle parts into the yard for assembly. Some time around 10:00 or 10:30 after the gang had assembled, drank coffee and shot the breeze, we bolted-up and gunned-up the cradle.
While dithering around waiting for the rig we threaded this bridle through the hull and secured it to the forward partners.
Dennis, Lisa and Mongo discussing cameras. Rolly and I discussing the job. Rolly, seeing that this wasn't another run-of-the-mill air-conditioner-on-the-roof job got quite interested in ALBATROSS. (I explained the whole concept in detail.)
My plan was to hook on to the ballast keel and set it on the cradle. Roll the boat out and hook on to it. Lift the boat, turn it and land it on the keelbolts. It got slightly more complicated than that, but not much.
Hooking on to the keel
Keel landed. Stainless steel angles (future gudgeon parts) C-clamped to the sides in case there should be an "Oops!" later on.
This is just moments before the rig took a strain on the bridle. Albatross couldn't wait to get out of that garage. She came shooting out like a runaway freight train. Scared the shit out of all of us.
Half out, half in. Time to pick her up.
Turns out she was sitting on the strongback and fastened with only four screws. Screws out. BOOM! Strongback lands with a thud.
Up, up and away!
Spinning end-for-end. Prior to this move we shifted the cradle around so the boat would clear some phone lines that run across the yard.
My svelt little baby sitting on four milk crates
Seven pics that speak for themselves
Finally! There's a "Port" and a "Starboard"
"Tower, this is the dirigible 'ALBATROSS' on final approach. Request clearance for landing."
You're quite right in remarking that she's not hanging plumb. This was the trickiest part of the whole operation. Plumbness and lining up with the holes required scoping out, lowering the boom and coming up on the load - all at the same time. At this point Rolly jumped down off the rig half a dozen times to get an up close and personal look at the line-up, the keel being obscured by the back end of the truck bed.
Ready for insertion
All bolts entered. Line-up perfect
She came down a bit bow heavy. This was actually a good thing as it allowed us to enter the bolts seperately. Trying to enter seven bolts would have been a real torment had she come down dead level.
Completely landed. No room for a playing card. Pads run up.
What a beautiful boat! Ya done good Tom!
No, this is not a sarcastic comment.
I'm installing the plate washers and gunning-up the bolts.
Putting Baby to bed
"My! What a big shop you have, Wolfie!"
"All the better to finish a boat, Red."
As an iconoclast of the first order,
"I christen thee 'ALBATROSS!'"
with a spray of rum and a big kiss.
Sealed with a kiss
The real estate deal I alluded to earlier was the sale of my firehouse which allowed us to retire the mortgage here at home. Lisa organized a "Burn The Mortgage" party running concurrently with the Rollover. Typically, we could only find the coupon book.
Burn, Baby, Burn!
That's about it, Kids. Before any more real boatbuilding can proceed I need to reorganize the shop and build access to the interior - that now stands some ten feet off the ground. I may actually build a loft along the starbord side to have easy access to the most used tools and materials.
2003, October, 2nd. The next page, for lack of any more creative inspirations, called, Summer 2003.
This way Home.
Curiosity killed the cat.
Got any questions or comments? Click on Cool Dawg's nose to Email me.
Written 2003/May/10 Most recent revision 2003/Oct/02