Saturday, May 2, 2009

Careening an Ingrid

This month's Latitude 38 is running a letter from Barry Spanier on careening his Ingrid in New Zealand. Seminole was one of a group of four Ingrids built on the San Francisco waterfront in the early 70's. Maitreya was the fourth.


You asked for responses from people with experience careening
their boats. We were sailing Seminole from Tauranga
to Auckland 29 years ago when we were quickly overtaken
by a nasty squall. We were running off quite broad when it
slammed us but I managed to get the sails down. When I
looked aft, though, I was stunned to see my boomkin wiggling
up and down. When I checked over the side, the boomkin attachment
point at the waterline was hanging by only one of
the four bolts. We quickly rigged the genoa halyard aft to a
solid point, and cranked it up tight. With the rig temporarily
safe, we turned on the engine

I went below into the stern and could see there was no
water coming in where the bolts were, so we were safe there,
too. Nonetheless, we decided to head into a deep bay that
was a few miles farther north so we could find good holding
ground to anchor and sort out the problem. With big tides,
we were sure we could just slip in carefully, rest Seminole on
her bottom, and let the tide go out. It was almost high water,
so it seemed reasonable to do.

Since we'd never attempted to careen a boat before, it was
a complete adventure. As the tide went out, we sat in the
cockpit and waited. Within a few hours we were leaning to
starboard more and more. The bay was dead flat calm, and
as time went on Seminole gently laid on her side in the sandy
mud. Before long, we were over the side and wading around
in the mud inspecting the damage. The heads of three of the
four silicon bronze bolts were ripped right off. Since I had
built the boat, there were lots of spare bits and pieces in her
lockers, and as soon as the pad broke the surface, we began
the fix. After punching out the old bolts, we replaced them
with some stainless ones with hex heads and washers, which
didn't look as nice, but were much stronger than the carriage
heads that had failed. A little 5200 made them watertight. By
then we were fully lying on the bottom, with about two feet of
water still around the boat. We shut all the hatches, ports,
and vents and waded to the shore

We took a walk along the bay shore and found a nice little
home with two wonderful people living there. When they found
out we'd careened our boat in their bay, they invited us in. We
were served tea and scones with fresh blackberries. After a
nice conversation we headed back to the beach near the boat.
With very little effort we dug up fifty or sixty pipis, the fine
little cherrystone clams they have in New Zealand. A trip to
the nearby rocks also provided a number of fat mussels and
oysters. A few bits of driftwood made a small fire, and when
there were coals, we just threw in the mollusks and waited
until they opened. We grabbed the steaming shells with two
little sticks and ate the meat inside

By early evening we could see the tide coming up. We
waded back out to the boat, climbed aboard, and waited for
the bay to rise to the occasion. Almost without a sound, we
were slowly returned to upright, then floating. We hauled in
the anchor and powered out of the bay to continue our trip
north. No disaster. In fact, nothin' but fun.

Those were the days. Leaving New Zealand later in the year,
we were wrecked on a tiny island. Seminole is now a fine home
for fish some 70 feet down. But that's another much longer
and more interesting story.

Barry Spanier
ex-Seminole, 38-ft double-ender

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