Project Update

Like most trawlers Tivoli has a davit mounted on the boat deck that is used to launch and retrieve the tender. In our case the tender, a 12 foot Rigid Boat with a 40 HP Tohatsu outboard, weighs over 700 pounds. We were told by the previous owner that launching the tender is the most dangerous activity on the boat. We quickly learned why this is the case. The davit installed on Tivoli is a 12 Volt electro-hydraulic unit that can raise and lower the boom and winch in/out the lifting cable; moving the boom left and right, however, is manual. That is, one has to manually push that 700 lb. tender over the side of the boat. Launching is generally easy as the weight of the tender causes a slight list to starboard facilitating the launch. Retrieval, on the other hand, can be difficult as you are now pulling the weight “uphill”. In a calm sea either maneuver can be a challenge; it would be downright dangerous with any kind of wave or wind action. Losing control of the tender and having it smash against the side of the boat would not be a pretty picture. So, after long consideration, we decided to invest in a new davit that has hydraulic control of the “X-axis”; a Steelhead ES1000. These are beautifully crafted davits with full hydraulic control of boom raise and lower, boom extension, cable in and out, and boom rotation. The control unit is even wireless allowing one to control the system from anywhere on the boat. Our friends Ron and Nancy Goldberg chose this model and have been very happy with it.

So, we ordered the davit from Bullhead Marine, an East coast representative, and arranged for the installation to begin December 8th in Stuart, FL. That was our motivation to get to Stuart when we did. However, as in all things boating, schedules have to be flexible. In spite of several months notice, Bullhead could not begin the job until the 15th, a week later than we had planned.

First day (Monday, Dec. 15th) went reasonably well, old davit was unbolted, the base it was mounted to was removed, and the old holes glassed in. Although we did discover the dealer ordered the 24VDC unit and not the 12VDC unit I specified – what next? I would have preferred the 24VDC unit but have no reasonable way to get 24VDC power to it. So, a replacement hydraulic power unit had to be ordered. A crane has been hired to lift the old davit off the boat deck and the new one onto the boat deck. We originally thought the travel lift at River Forest would be used for this task but it turns out the cost to hire a crane on a truck is the same and it will be easier to access the boat deck right alongside Tivoli. Lots of pounding, drilling, noises and activities one really doesn’t want to hear or see, but necessary.

Second day (Tuesday, Dec. 16th) is crane day; Dick’s Crane Service arrives 2 hours late (it is a boating job after all) and the swap of old for new begins. I’m impressed with the crane, much larger and more sophisticated than I anticipated. It drives up beside Tivoli, extends it’s stabilizers, raises the boom and picks up the old davit off Tivoli, then places the new davit on Tivoli. Job is done in 15 minutes, no muss no fuss. This is followed by drilling new holes fin the deck for the Steelhead davit; the deck overhang on the starboard side looks like Swiss cheese. Most of these holes will be covered by a nice access plate but 3 will have to be glassed in and Bullhead can’t recommend anyone to do the job; yet another task on the “to do” list. More delays, replacement pump didn’t arrive when we were told.

I’m stewing about this job at every turn; losing sleep over it in fact. A 4-day job has stretched into two weeks. While this boat yard is immaculate and the weather has been perfect we are anxious to move on and get to other tasks we will need to finish before heading to the islands. Marinas are quickly filling up as the boating industry in Florida seems to be reviving from the economic downturn. We were fortunate to secure a slip at Loggerhead marina in Palm Beach Gardens. Deanna and I discuss our impatience and realize we have not yet adapted to retirement nor have we adapted to “island time”. We still expect jobs to start on time and be completed on time. Totally unrealistic in our new life; and it will only get “worse” in the Bahamas. We need to learn to stress less, kick back, enjoy life, tomorrow’s a new day!

Third day (Friday, Dec. 19th) offers two possibilities. Either the new davit can be bolted to the deck and we are done or, we will need to fabricate a base plate to compensate for the camber on the boat deck. We heft the davit into place and measure the gap at the outboard end of the base; approximately 1/2 inch. Rats, a base plate will have to be crafted that allows for the slope in the deck yet provides a perfectly flat surface for the davit base. Yet another detail that should have been anticipated by the dealer/installer; there are many but I won’t elaborate. Unfortunately, the company that will manufacture the base plate from Starboard is closed for a week starting Monday. Another delay, and a full week at that, but it is a “must do”. The crew did replace the HPU with the replacement 12VDC unit; some progress! We will still be at River Forest through the holidays; nothing gets done between now and January. Once the base plate has been crafted installation should take no more than a day. We are hoping to move on the first week in January; fingers crossed. Our 4-day job will now require a full month. For now, we will just have to chill and enjoy – maybe break out some rum!!

Fortunately, though we are out in the suburbs without much around us, we do have a rental car and it’s a short drive into Stuart, down to Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Juno Beach etc. We enjoy visiting Old Port Cove Marina in West Palm Beach where, nearly 4 years ago, we ended an offshore 48 hour run from Beaufort SC bringing Tivoli back to Pickwick from Norfolk, VA. My brother Jim was aboard and we really enjoyed this leg of the trip. It was our first two-day offshore experience aboard Tivoli and will be etched in our memory forever. Old Port Cove is the home base for Yacht Tech Inc., a company that provides a wide range of services to Nordhavns on the East coast. We walked down the dock to the slip we occupied and marveled at the fact that at least a dozen Nordhavns are now calling OPC home. Three 68s, a couple 62s, a 57, three 50s like ours, several 47s, a couple 43s….amazing. There were only 3 or 4 Nordhavns there in 2011. We will take advantage of Yacht Tech’s expertise on a couple of Tivoli projects but scheduling may be an issue as they are clearly busy. We also explore The Bluffs where our friends Bob and Melanie Taylor keep their 57, Istaboa; very nice. We stop at Loggerhead a couple times to discuss our slip rental which has been delayed now several times; no problem. We enjoy lunch at various restaurants and estimate the time it would take to walk or bike there from the nearest marina. We don’t expect to keep a rental car every day and fully anticipate needing to walk or ride. The Bluffs seems to win the prize in this regard; everything one would need within waling distance; groceries, mail box, restaurants, etc.

We enjoyed a particularly memorable evening with friends Gerald and Cheri Wallace (Takes Two) at the U-tiki Beach restaurant at Jupiter inlet. Wonderful location overlooking the inlet and Jupiter lighthouse, palm trees, sandy beach, drinks and engaging conversation with fellow boaters… is good.


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