Sunday, December 2, 2012

Having a plan

Airplane drivers like to have a plan.  We like to have another plan for when the first plan goes bad. Then we want a third plan for when the second plan doesn't fix the problem that popped up when the first plan when off the rails. Truth is, if you have ever sat in the back of an airplane wondering what the two up front were doing while boring easy holes through the sky on a crystal clear day, auto pilot engaged and cup of coffee in hand, they were probably making small talk with a small part of their brains. But a big chunk of their brains were constantly churning through plans based on, "what if...?" It is how young airplane drivers stay alive long enough to become old airplane drivers, and it gets to be a habit.

This weekend was a short stay on Kintala. Sunday saw Daughter Youngest moving ... again. Parents everywhere know what that means. Still, I had a plan to get a couple of easy jobs done. Putting the winter floor back down in the cabin was easier than easy, and done in just a few minutes. We also replaced the chain gypsy on the windlass, which required that Deb climb into the locker to reach the back side of the mount nuts so I could raise the windless high enough to get the gypsy off past the chain backlash guard. (I volunteered to climb into the locker for the dirty, cramped, smelly end of the job. Really. I did.) The plan is that the new gypsy will keep the chain from jumping free about every third link when dragging the anchor up from the bottom. We will see, but it is a good looking piece of shiny new bronze ... I'll give it that much.

Then we heard a nasty rumor that has the potential for throwing a giant wrench into the big plan. It seems the Mississippi river is running out of water. (Actually, I spend a lot of time flying up and down the Mississippi river and have seen with my own eyes that it is, in fact, running out of water.) Barge owners are demanding that the Army Corps of Engineers use what ever resources are available to keep the river traffic moving. So are farmers who grow the stuff that fills the barges, marketers who sell that stuff, and people who eat that stuff. Power plant operators who need coal to burn want the barges running as well, as do other people who like to turn the lights on in their homes and keep the heaters running through the winter. One has to admit they all have a point.

Lake Carlyle is one of those resources and as of midnight last the lake level was at 447.63 feet above sea level.

445.00 is normal pool.

Kintala sits on the bottom at her pier at 443.

The rumor is the Corps may drop the lake to 440, which means Kintala would be "floating" in water about as deep as a baby pool. Clearly that plan will not work.

The obvious plan #2 would be to put the boat up on the hard with all the other boats.  The problem is there is no good way for us to get Kintala out of the water. The plan was that she comes out only once, (at about $1000 a lift) goes on a truck and ends up near big salt water. We have no stands to put her on here in Carlyle, our marina can't even lift her (we go across the lake for that) and at 443 their lift pool is too shallow for Kintala to get in anyway.

Plan 3 would be to anchor her out in a deep part of the lake and hope that:
1) She doesn't get iced in,
2) No bad guys see her sitting out there and decided she is easy pickings,
3) She doesn't spring a leak, have the bilge pumps run the batteries dry and end up on the bottom, (shallow or not) and,
4) Doesn't drag in a big winter blow and end up against the shore.

Plan number 3 doesn't seem like a very good plan.

Plan number 4 (suggested by the peanut gallery) was to dig a hole under her where she sits at the dock, floating in her own little pond until it rains again. That plan did not include any suggestion of how such a hole might be dug, how much it would cost, or who could do the work.

Plan number 4 was dismissed without much ado.

Plan number 5 is to move the boat to a pier that supposedly has a couple of feet more water next to it. Kintala shouldn't hit bottom until 441, maybe even 440. Then her scheel keel will squish into the mud bottom a foot or more, leaving her stuck but floating at 440, maybe even down to 339 or 8. (Giving us a little leeway on the rumored Corps plan.)

Right now it looks like plan #5 will have to do.

Keeping one's boat off the bottom is a constant concern with sailors, but that usually means not letting the boat sink to the bottom or not running the boat off the edge of the water into the land.  Making a plan for when the water drains away from under the boat?

Man I wish we were in big blue water now.


Allan S said...

That is a piece of crap news about the water levels my friend. We have noticed the dropped water levels here on Lake Ontario as well. Markedly dropped, normally it is 17 feet under our keel now reads just a little more than 15 feet. There was alway a lowering of levels come winter, maybe a foot or so, but this drop made walking on our slip hazardous what with its anle of decent.

Allan S said...

BTW, those security captchas are almost impossible to read. They are extremely blurry and mashed together. I honestly had to guess at one of the letters and one of the numbers, I had a 1 in 10 chance on the number and I won:)

Latitude 43 said...

Plan 6. Haul the boat, and truck it to Florida :)

Our friends in Sodus Bay NY were plowing mud getting out of their slip this year. Very unusual. All the creeks we used to kayak in the fall were too low to navigate this year too.
Recently read a news piece on the western aquifer running dry. Scary stuff going on, but it's not making headlines. Hope all works out for you guys this winter. I'll do a rain dance for you.

Robert Salnick said...

We once kept our boat (O'Day 25 at the time) at Kettle Falls on the Columbia River - also managed by the Corps. That was an unmitigated disaster. We'd leave on Sunday evening, assured by the marina that the Corps was going to leave the lake level alone, only to get a call on Monday that the level was dropping fast. One time we got the boat out and onto a trailer by literally dragging it thru the furrow plowed by the guy before us.

I vowed never again. We moved the boat to Coeur d' Alene and never looked back.

And now that we're on salt water, I can say that at least the tides are predictable.

Could this be a sign to you that now is the time? Pay that $1000 and put the boat where she needs to be. Is it too soon? Are you sure?

s/v Eolian

TJ said...

A bit too soon to pull the boat and ship it to big water. The house hasn't sold, and ... well ... the house hasn't sold. Oh yeah, I need a few more bucks in the bank to fix what needs fixed.