SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
September 03, 2015
Like a Fish Out of Water
Today we dry-docked the SSV Corwith Cramer for maintenance to her underwater paint system. Dry-docking a ship is always a fun experience for the crew…it is rare to see one's floating home stuck like a fish out of water “on the hard.” There are a few ways to dry dock a ship: cradles and cranes, graving docks, lifting docks, etc. Here in Palma de Mallorca, the yard uses a marine railway, which is one of the coolest ways to bring a boat ashore.
The first step was to get the ship underway from the dock. Interestingly, this happened without the ship’s bowsprit, which is away in the shop for repair. So our crew was the first to ever get underway on the 90-foot version of Corwith Cramer! We do consider ourselves pioneers.
Once underway, we very carefully maneuvered amongst the mega-yachts and drove the ship into a set of guide posts for safekeeping while two scuba divers and the docking team aligned the keel (bottom) of the ship with a specially constructed set of wood keel blocks. It is very important to get the alignment and docks just right, lest we cause damage to our ship.
At this point, the crew shut down all the ship’s systems and then simply waited for the yard personnel to pull the Corwith Cramer towards land. Eventually, the ship’s keel made contact with the keel blocks, the scuba divers verified everything was well, and then a powerful winch hauled the ship, resting on her blocks, ashore on a set of railroad tracks. Neat and tidy!
Now we begin the next phase of our maintenance period: the shipyard personnel will get the bottom of the ship re-coated with anti-fouling paint for the next two years. At the same time, our crew will perform annual maintenance on many of the ship’s systems. If all goes well, we’ll be back in the water in a couple weeks. For now, the crew has moved ashore and we are able to enjoy the delights of Palma each evening after work…not a bad gig at all.
Watch a time-lapse video of the haul-out process: