Cruising  ~ The Cat’s Meow Style ~  January - June 2011

More good times, pt. 2




Most of the year 2011 was spent with The Cat’s Meow “on the hard”, which for any non-boaters reading this means that our boat, our home, was taken out of the water and put in a boat yard. TCM is an old (launched in 1968) wood boat. The main and usual reason boats are hauled out – usually every two to three years – is to perform regular maintenance, which almost always includes cleaning and re-painting the bottom of the boat. Of course, during a haul-out, owners often find other problems to deal with, and/or plan to do other work while in the boat yard. Wood boats do not like to be out of the water for a long time. The wood of the hull will dry out, crack, and cause all sorts of problems. It is great to have a boat hauled, do the bottom work and other projects, and be splashed again within three or four days. We don’t believe that will ever happen with The Cat’s Meow! We always have projects we want to accomplish, and they always take time.


TCM was hauled out of the water early in February. Her bottom did not look bad, just the normal growth and crap that grows on a boat bottom in sea water.  Our boat was the heaviest lifted at this boat yard so far - - she weighed in at 41 ton, and that was with almost no water or fuel onboard! The tires on the lift, which are HUGE, squished down a lot while carrying TCM to her resting place in the yard!! Lots of folks came to the yard just to watch……taking a wood hulled boat out of the water in a lift is always an exciting time…….  



                                                                                It is a big and exciting job to haul The Cat’s Meow on a 50 ton lift!


Then the work began. Lots of work. The rail on the bow looked like hell, so Robin attacked it with a grinder, sander, and lots of filler. Martin worked on patching any bad spots on the bottom, and prepping it for new bottom paint. Then…….well, as was said earlier, while in the boat yard some owners decide to do a few more projects. We did. Robin made the mistake of saying something along the lines of “we should paint the hull as long as we are here…”. Hmmmm……  THAT turned out to be a monsterous job. Not because painting the hull of a 52’ wood hulled boat is particularly difficult – it ain’t easy, but Robin has done it before, a few times – but because this time she decided it would be nice to paint the hull in a very meticulous manner. Heh. When the hull was first made, planks of mahogany 2 ½ inches wide were layed and joined. That means that every 2 ½ inches there is a line, a depression, between the boards. Robin attempted to fill each of those depressions, to cover the line between the boards, on this 52’ trawler. HAA!! Right. Just try it sometime.


                TCM had a very dirty bottom                           




                                                Robin attached the cap rail and bow area                                                                                          as well as the wood hull


Another project for the boat yard was to FINALLY work on the transom (the back wall of the boat, at the aft deck). About seven years ago when The Cat’s Meow was on a large rock, and while the Mexican Navy was trying to pull our boat off that rock, the transom was badly damaged. For these past years, dirt and water seeped into all of the cracks now in the transom wall and rail. Not good. But, because this was mostly cosmetic damage for so long, fixing the transom had been at the bottom of our project lists…..until now. Now it became apparent that the rot caused by so many years of dirt and water getting into the wood had started to move into the hull of the boat. NOT good. OK. So….we thought about it and we thought about it and……well, Martin cut some holes in the double-planked wall of the transom.



He kept cutting holes. Bigger holes.





Finally……..he just cut the whole damned thing off!!!





Yes, it did make a loud noise when those parts of the transom were shoved off the boat! Each piece probably weighed 400 pounds. TCM was feeling much lighter, thank you. At this point, there were people who came by to see the progress and who gasped at the sight! And said “why in the world would anyone want to continue working on that mess??!!” Well, call us stupid. The Cat’s Meow is a tuff old girl. She can take it. But…can we??? At some points along the way, that was debatable. Our muscles hurt. Our bones hurt. We were exhausted, but we had to keep on keepin’ on, because now we had to fix what we had torn apart! Also, our living quarters were not quite as picturesque as when out on the water…..and it was getting hotter and hotter.


Life in the boat yard



A local man worked with us (mostly with Robin) to sand the hull and to prep the bottom for paint. Martin continued to work on the boat; however, he was also spending a lot of his time and energy getting the necessary paperwork – and there is a lot of paperwork in Mexico!! – to receive the legal documents and clearances to operate a small chandlery at the Puerto Escondido marina area. Great idea!! Badly needed!! But…..the timing was a little difficult, since TCM was sitting in the yard, drying out. As the days became warmer, then hotter, we had to work even harder to keep up with the damage the weather and time were causing.



Finally, we started to get ahead. Paint went on the hull, and more paint went on the bottom. We just persevered, and at long last, mid-July, we had TCM ready to splash back into the harbor!!! YAAAAY!!!!! 




                                                                  Primer coats go on…                                                                                               …and we get ‘er painted together!



                                                                                                                          She has a new transom, and she looks, better….no??


At long last, our home was ready to return to the water, and then back to our mooring in Cocktail Cove. We were ready!! Once again, the 50 ton lift was positioned, TCM was loaded into the slings, and she was carried to the water.



              Martin does some last-minute touch-ups                                                                         The Cat’s Meow is ready to be floating again!


Yes, we had to wait for some of the planks in the hull to swell and stop water from seeping into the bilge, but this only took a short time, and we were good to go!!


              Can you see the smile on her face?



Except….. we had no engine. We had a broken fuel line, and could not use the engine, so three good buddies, John, Ed, and  pushed our big boat with their dinghies to our mooring in Cocktail Cove!! Finally, we were home.   



                         Ed & dinghy pushing TCM                                                                                        John getting our mooring line in cocktail cove


During the time we were living in the boat yard and taking care of TCM, we were able to do a few other things.

We celebrated Valentines day and St. Patrick’s day, along with Easter. 



      Valentine’s Day dinner at Pedro’s restaurant                                We had our own leprechaun ~ Kenny…                                   




                                                and our own bunny, Ray                                                                           The Easter Hats came out, too



Robin attended a high school reunion in San Jose, CA, which was supposed to be a fun day at a park, with all sorts of goofy activities and BBQ’d foods…..but alas, during a very atypical early June in California, the weather was AWFUL. It rained, and it was cool. Thank the gods, the reunion committee had plan B: we squeezed into a sports bar in Los Gatos when the owners were kind enough to give the whole place over for us to use for our reunion. We also drifted a short distance away to the indoor bocci ball court for the group photo, and many of us stayed there, enjoying some drink, food, and catching up. The crowd was much smaller than we would expect if the weather had been cooperating, but it was still fun to see so many people who Robin went to high school with, all those years ago…..



                 BJ (“my Beej”) and Mark with Robin                                                               Da’ girls ~ Judy, Robin, Andrea and Barbara get together again


That’s what life was like from January through June of 2011. Mostly work, but some fun thrown in…..

See what happened next  ~ here is a hint: it involves lions and elephants……  

Come right back to see what else is happening, Cruising ~ The Cat’s Meow Style…….