Monster in the Drydock

If we truly want to cast off the docklines and sail away for waters unknown, a haul out is priority. It happened on a blustery Wednesday afternoon of mid October that we loaded all our shore based gear, bikes and such, on board Monster and cast off. The winds were blowing out of the East, and the whitecaps broke over Monster’s bow as we motored across the Harbour. Despite the chill of the weather we were rather excited. Keeper, our dog, lay under the cockpit table, feeling a bit apprehensive. 

We motored up the shipping channel awaiting the lift bridge to raise for us, her bells and alarms tolling. Before long we were all secure along the wall by the Toronto Drydock. And wouldn’t you know that just before the scheduled day to lay Monster into the Drydock, Gordon was called off onto a Tug Boat job, taking him out into the middle of the lake as the weather permitted, for several days at a time.

Fortunately, in the days prior we set all the large blocks on which Monster was to sit. We measured and figured how to best lay her into the dock. Monday morning, our haul out day, quickly came. I kept the Boy home from school to partake in the event, not to mention I was in need of Crew. The Boy and I singled up all of our dock lines and waited for the word, and our old friend M was also aboard to help as needed. Our trusty engine idled, warming for the maneuver. Considering I drive a passenger boat for a living, I was nervous. Something about docking our boat, our home, in the Drydock incited a bit of fear and trepidation. When the moment came we cast off, I shifted the throttle into forward, and away we went. I drove her like I stole her, but not really that fast. Hours later as the Drydock slowly deballasted we could see that Monster was perfectly aligned on her blocks. She was sitting pretty. I happily relayed the news and pictures to Gordon over the phone. I was rather pleased with myself!

And then the work began. In order to remove the old paint and antifouling on Monster, we hydro-blasted. 30,000 psi of water pressure blew off the previous coatings, leaving the surface as you see in the picture above. We also hydro-blasted the decks and hull. While highly effective, our boat was soon inundated with bits and flecks of paint. They penetrated the interior wherever they could, and I once discovered our duvet, upon the bed, damp and flecked with paint chips. It was well worth the inconvenience.

The first several days on the hard had been fruitful, having accomplished all the hydroblasting. Gordon was home intermittently, and we fell into a new routine. A routine that would ultimately last 10 weeks, or 73 days. I’m not going to go into details, but sometimes things just don’t go as you imagine them to. There were hiccups and hold ups, and well, life happens.

As the days went by we grew accustomed to living on a slope. Unfortunately, Monster sat on her blocks on a downward angle to the bow. It was an uphill walk to our aft cabin. The mattress would slide off our bunk, and every morning I pushed it back. We had to use the fiddles on the stove to stop the pots from sliding off. The sink didn’t drain properly, and objects would slide across the galley counter. Luckily the Boy rolled into his cabin and not out of it. We also became master stair climbers. And on the really windy, stormy nights we felt our dear Monster shake with the vibration.

We were able to use our water system with no issues, though filling our water tank was rather arduous. When needed, we borrowed a friend’s truck, and at our Marina we would fill ten 5 gallon bottles which we would then hoist into the Drydock with a crane, and laboriously pour each bottle into our tank. It was a really lousy task on those super cold days when the surface water would freeze up as quickly as we poured the water. As far as the head was concerned, we saved our tank for those middle of the night emergencies. Otherwise we made the trek up upppppp the stairs to use the head in the Drydock. We were always careful not to consume to many beers!

At the end of the day we made the most of our situation. We celebrated Halloween, Gordon’s Birthday, and Christmas in the Drydock. There was snow and ice, beautiful sunrises and sunsets. We had good days and bad days. However, when we moved aboard as full time live aboards we committed ourselves to our vessel, to Monster, and wherever she would take us.

Our momentum and spirits uplifted when we finally began to apply paint to Monster. It had long been awaited! Especially as it took us over three days to tape and mask all the details of Monster for painting. First there were coats of epoxy paint that covered her from head to tail, totally encapsulating the boat. It was the 1st of December when Gordon laid that first coat, and were we ever thankful to the weather gods for the fine window to paint. Next, the decks were flooded with a luscious coat of white paint. Her decks were now truly as white as snow. We plan to apply yet another coat of paint, with anti skid, to the decks come Spring.

Our hull was painted a slightly different shade of green this time round. We have resigned ourselves, as steel boat owners, that we will forever be painting and have decided not to become attached to any particular color. Though, we rolled and tipped two fine coats of green before it cured in order to apply the tape to mark the waterline.

And then there was bottom paint, the antifouling. We went with black this time, and it gives Monster the illusion that she’s bigger than she really is. It was December 9th when Gordon applied the last coating. We felt a huge sigh of relief. The painting was done! During the painting process we also replaced some steel on the keel. We are rather fortunate that Monster is such a finely built vessel, there were no surprises when we initially hauled out.

We want to extend our sincerest gratitude to all that supported us through our Drydock days. Thank you to the Toronto Drydock, to the Drydock Crew, to our Friends and Families.

Stand by for the next post… Launch Day!

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One comment

  1. […] and for the backstory leading up to this point you’ll have to read the previous blog post Monster in the Drydock. The ‘day’ finally came… After 73 days on the hard in the Drydock we […]


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